Madness IPA

Wild Beer Co: Madness IPA (England: IPA: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale hazy gold. Large white to yellow mounded bubbles.

Nose: Pineapple. Hops. Apricot syrup. Custard cream biscuits.

Body: Bitter. Huge hops. Pineapple. Gooseberry. Digestives. Grapefruit. Prickly. Apricot. Dense feel.

Finish: Shortbread. Huge hops. Bitterness. Granite. Pineapple. Passion fruit.

Conclusion: I tried this back when it was first released, back in late 2012, back then it had a very dense, slightly soured taste that reminded me of the very traditional take on English IPAs. By traditional I mean the real old school beasts not the low abv low hop fests that got called traditional for a while. Anyway, over the past 18 months I’ve revisited it a few times on bottle and keg and each time has been better than the last, developing into a very NZ tart citrus hop bomb while still keeping that thick dense mouthfeel that made it stand out.

A very fresh beer now, it absolutely belts the bitterness out of the park and the flavours glitter along the roof of your mouth. The dense feel is yeasty and everything blooms up and then sharpens into focus as you drink it.

If it has a flaw it is that it isn’t a beer that changes much as you drink it. That fresh hop burst you get in the first mouthful is exactly the same hop burst that you get in the last gulp. Then again that is a tasty burst so it is both its strength and its flaw.

While it is the same in style for each gulp, it does change in style between each times I have bought it, I presume as they tinker with the recipe, and I keep coming back to it to see how it is going. A great wake up call of an IPA, a great burst of bitterness, just not one you need to think about much after the first few sips.

Background: This is possibly the easiest to find Wild Beer Co drink, having turned up in Bath, Bristol, York, Bournemouth and London. Yet I have never reviewed it. UNTIL TODAY! I would happily list Wild Beer Co as the best new British brewery of the past few years, and this was one of their beers from day one, so I finally picked up a bottle from Independent Spirit for review. This was meant to be day 1 of IPA WEEK. However a bunged up nose half way through the week means that this may be more the first review of seven that take a bit longer than a week. I’ll see what I can do.