Harbour IPA

Harbour: IPA (England: IPA: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Pale toffee brown. Large off white head. Slightly hazy body.

Nose: Pine cones. Resin and hops. Kumquat. Moderate bitterness. Lemon sherbet. Gherkin.

Body: Good bitterness. Nettles prickle. High hops. Mango. Lime cordial. Pineapple. Pickles. Apricot.

Finish: Nettles. Hops. Kumquat. Bitter and drying. Passion fruit and pineapple.

Conclusion: It seems that everyone is trying to emulate the American IPA right now, and with good reason, it is an excellent style (or probably several excellent styles when you get into the regional variants). However it always nice to get a beer that puts its own spin on things, rather than just being an inferior clone.

This, for example, uses the thicker texture to bring out tangy notes amongst the citrus hops. It is hard to pin down exactly when the flavour is. My mention of pickles, gherkins and the like in the notes are more pointers to the concepts than exact descriptions. Slightly savoury and sharp, it gives a cutting edge to the middle of the more expected fruit flavours.

Now a twist is one thing, making it work is another. This thing is a lot more savoury, and, well vegetable like than a lot of IPAs which grounds the citrus flavour without using the traditional British earthy hops. It’s unusual, but it keeps the beer very drinkable and slightly nullifies the high bitterness. So I would say it is a twist that works, it is a reasonable take on the style, and new and different enough that you take the time to get to know it.

So, thick textured, high bitterness with a tangy offset against the American style IPA and UK ale feel. Very drinkable and good hop character and reasonable, albeit unusual flavour. I will say on the whole it works. It lacks polish, possibly due to the twist, then again unusual is rarely polished. It also doesn’t quite push up the flavour high enough, it is more a mellow middle in how it delivers, however that said it still works well enough. A decent quality IPA.

Background: Ok, again rate beer has this listed as American Pale Ale. As usual I will go with what the brewers call it unless it is very obviously wrong, and it does seem pretty IPA styled to me. Another beer picked up from Sainsbury’s yearly influx of new beers, and one I try to encourage. I drank this after catching up on the new Agents of Shield show and felt like a pint to follow it.