Big Drop: Kodama IPL (England: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Darkened gold colour clear body. Very small bubbled carbonation. Medium sized crisp bubbled off white head.

Nose: Choc toffee. Choc lime. Lemongrass. Bubblegum. Lemon sherbet. Lightly prickly hops. Bourbon biscuits.

Body: Clean. Bourbon biscuits. Choc toffee. Lemongrass. Prickly hop character.

Finish: Lemongrass. Good hop character and bitterness. Choc toffee. Mild gherkin touch. Bubblegum. Bitterness grows over time. Fresh touch – slight grapefruit.

Conclusion: This is much more malt led than I expected from an IPL. There is lots of choc toffee notes that call to an East Cost IPA inspiration for this IPL. It isn’t thick in mouthfeel – actually quite clean textured and easy drinking in fact – until the hops come out to play at least.

The hops prickle – starting with low bitterness, but in the finish it keeps growing until it gives a decent punch whilst still allowing the main body to keep its easy drinking character.

The interesting this, for me at least as a fan of Sorachi Ace hops, is how those hops interplay with all this. (And there are also Nelson Sauvin hops, of which I am also a huge fan, but one thing at a time)

It gives those bubblegum and lemongrass filled notes that make this very different to to you usual low alcohol beer, lager or even IPL. I wonder if the more choc lime notes we get are the mix of the odd hop influence with the sweeter malt. Any which way it feels like an experiment in beer, rather than just an attempt to make a low alcohol version of an existing beer and that makes it very interesting indeed.

It’s prickly, kind of savoury with light freshness over that sweet base, and while you are trying to work out what each flavour actually is, that bitter finish comes it to make everything nice and simple in the end.

One of the better IPLs I’ve had, so as a low abv IPL it is great. The only flaw is an odd one for a low abv beer – the heavier malt flavour makes it less easy drinking over time, so it isn’t as sessionable as it could be.

Still, in general I love it.

Background: A summer release from the masters of the low abv beer – Big Drop! I’ve had a few of these already, but being low abv beers I tend to drink them so easily I never get around to do notes on them, so I made a distinct effort here to finally do some. This is an IPL made with Nelson Sauvin and Sorachi Ace hops – a combination of two of my favourite hops that need more show these days now they are no longer the new hotness. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Went with Heavens To Betsy: Calculated for background music. No real reason, was just in the mood.