Wild Beer Co: Cloudy Crowd (England: IPA: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Banana coloured cloudy body with lemon juice edges and apricot coloured core. Inch of moderate white head.

Nose: Banana soft sweets. Apricot skins. Milky. Moderate hop character and slight pineapple.

Body: Bitty hoppiness. Dried apricot. Guava. Good bitterness. Milky back. Thick fruit juice feel. Vanilla. Prickly hop character later on. Slight chalk. Kiwi.

Finish: Mango. Slight cardboard. Solid bitterness. Slight rock notes. Guava. Exotic fruit juice. Greenery. Kiwi.

Conclusion: There seems to be a run on the cloudier, slightly gritty bitterness, big fruitiness IPAs these days. Considering how many get called “New England” style, possibly that is the defining character of those beers. A quick google seems to indicate yes for the cloudiness, but none mention that slightly gritty bitter mouthfeel. Will have to continue investigating and compare with similar ones that come out.

So, how does this one compare to the others of the type I have encountered. Middling. For one, despite the can advertising it as a low bitterness IPA, it has a remarkably big bitter kick in the finish. Now, this is not a flaw by me, but considering how it pitches itself, it may be something you want to be aware of, depending on your preferred level of alpha acid. Anyway, while the high bitterness in the finish ain’t a bad thing by me, what I think is a strike against it is that the bitterness is quite gritty and rough – which is something that needs a bigger beer than this to pull off well.

The body is moderately fruity and juicy – not as big as a lot of this type, but reasonable – pretty satisfying with a solid bitter backing. The aroma and body don’t quite let the juiciness roam though – it feels slightly restrained; Solid but not showy. It gets its best show just between the swallow and the bitterness of the finish – in the air of that moment a nice fruitiness does rise to fill the gap. The restrain then doesn’t seem to come from the hops, which seem to do the job, but possibly from the body being a tad drier than normal – slightly more towards APA that a good IPA.

So – despite my criticisms it is decently done and decently fruity with solid bitterness. Not one of the best beers, but sits just above average but let down by the rough finish that rides roughshod over what the beer should do best. Even that flaw gets less over time as more fruitiness does come to the finish.

A nice little promotion piece but not a must have beer.

Background: I’ve been a fan of Wild Beer Co pretty much since they opened a few years ago. Not every beer has been a hit, but they have never been dull and have done lots of cool experimental beers. So I was interested to see that they have jumped on crowdfunding to build a new brewery. Hope it goes well for them. Their beers deserve wider exposure. Anyway, this little beer, part of a two pack of cans promoting the whole “Invest” thing was grabbed at independent spirit. At a slight criticism, while they were in their cardboard box it was very easy to see info on investing – but pretty hard to see details on what the heck the two beers actually where. Anyway … this was drunk while listening to some of the spektrmodule music podcast for a varied set of tunes.

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