Tag Archive: 5-8% ABV


Other Half: Showers DDH Mosaic (USA: IPA: 7.4% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy apricot juice colour. Massive loose white bubbled head. No evident carbonation.

Nose: Gritty bitter hops. Marmalade and orange shreds. Fresh dough. Light greenery and herbal notes. Slight sulphur. Cake sponge. Flour. Apricot.

Body: Egg yolk texture. Tangerine and blood orange. Milky. Eggplants. Nettles like bitterness. Apricot skins. Peach. Hop oils.

Finish: Bitter hop oils. Bitter Seville orange. Marmalade. Melon. Gritty, prickly hops. Slight charring. Egg plants. Nettles. Gunpowder tea.

Conclusion: This is the tie breaker! So far I have had one Other Half IPA that was kind of meh (Which is the one I did notes on) and one I really enjoyed (The Nelson Suavin hopped Triple IPA – Which, of course, ended up being the one I did not do notes on), So with the score at one all, I decided to grab one more Other Half IPA to see which way it fell on the quality scale. Just the one more though, these things are darn expensive in the UK, so one more is all I can justify splashing out on.

This started out well. Hmm, ok correction, after not getting much from the aroma initially – maybe due to the fecking massive frothy head getting in the way – After that, THEN it started well.

The texture is that odd, thick character that seems to be Other Half’s trademark. A thick, egg yolk feeling thing which seems to come across as either positive or negative depending on the quality of the beer strapped on top of it.

So, what does this do with that texture? Well generally orange to marmalade notes, delivered in varied ways from sweeter marmalade to more bitter orange notes. Not unexpected, that is pretty much what I expect from mosaic hops, though here it does have some edge peach and apricot like notes which were nice.

Early on it has some bitterness and hop character that didn’t mesh too well. As time goes on that element fades, which is a mixed blessing. It reduces the rough edges, but also it removes the hop character which is what I come to IPAs for. Ah well, I guess not all IPAs are aimed at my preferences and that is fine.

FINE!

There is still a nice hop oil character under there, as well as some matching bitterness, but the bitterness is not clearly defined – a kind of general, muggy bitterness for lack of a better term.

As a tie breaker beer this is not meh, but not great. It really rocks the marmalade orange and apricot notes a clear and sometimes bitter way. Very good hop use in that side of things. The eggy, thick texture is ok, so works, but the more general hop prickle and bitter hop character is ill defined and occasionally harsh here.

So if fails to break the tie as it is half way between the other two. Ok, but not great or bad. Fuck. So, not bad but not worth the high UK cost. Lovely expression of the mosaic flavours but the backing beer doesn’t quite pull it off.

Background: Other Half really have to work on making their beer naming clearer. I thought this was just called Showers but nope, there are many beers called Showers, this is Showers Mosaic Double Dry Hopped. That last bit isn’t just a description it is a name indicating this is a different beer to other Showers. Making a name clear and easy to work out was obviously not on the table here. Anyway as indicated in the main notes I have had mixed encounters with Other Half, some matching their apparently huge rep, others less so. So I grabbed this one, going for the mosaic hop as it is one I have grown a huge fondness for. I mentioned when I first grabbed an Other Half beer that it was fairly darn fresh, even now this is canned on 13/05/2021 so at time of drinking was only three months old – pretty good for getting over from the USA. As before this was grabbed from Independent Spirit. I went with Caracas: Surgical Steel as backing music, been on a general metal music kick recently which is the whole of the reason.

Urban South Htx: Triple Spilled: Strawberry, Banana, Vanilla, Cheesecake (USA: Fruit Sour: 6% ABV)

Visual: Pink, cloudy strawberry milkshake look and colour. Utterly opaque. Even the head looks like loose, large bubbled milkshake head that leaves pink sediment clinging to the side of the glass.

Nose: Strawberry milkshake. Tart grapes. Vanilla toffee. Cheesecake. Banana milkshake. Creamy.

Body: Thick and creamy. Tart white grapes. Banana milkshake. Slight acidity at back of the throat. New York style cheesecake. Tart kiwi. Syrupy feel under the milkshake mouthfeel.

Finish: Strawberry milkshake. Green grapes. Banana milkshake. Cheesecake. Kiwi. Apples. Vanilla and vanilla toffee. Toffee cheesecake. Sour apple sweets. Sour cherry sweets.

Conclusion: Ok, this legitimately should not fucking work. For one thing it looks exactly like a milkshake.

I poured it, it came out looking like a milkshake, pour and all, even down to the large bubbled head that leaves sediment on the glasses’ edge. Everything looked like a milkshake.

This is a milkshake.

Or is it?

Well, let’s look at the flavours. Flavour-wise you can tell pretty much what you are going to get just by looking at the words on the can – banana (in a milkshake style), strawberry (also in a milkshake style), tons of vanilla (Oddly, not in a milkshake style, a much more pure vanilla to vanilla toffee style). There are very clear cheesecake notes (in a cheesecake style, New York cheesecake style). They aren’t lying to you at any point here, and it is stupidly creamy and edges close to painfully sweet.

Now, this is when things get weird. In the aroma there are notes of tart grapes. Not unexpected, this is a fruited sour, for all the extra ingredients and grapes aren’t unheard of in milkshakes. So unusual but not shocking. However then you start sipping things start going off the rails. Up front it is all creamy milkshake, then, nestled at the core is a syrupy feeling, slightly sour, acidic hit at the back of the throat, green fruit filled sour beer. Which sticks around long enough to confuse the hell out of you then sink back into the creaminess.

The sour side is much thicker than your usual, drier sour beer style, packed with a very syrupy feel, but still, yep there is an actual sour beer nestled away, like a bear hidden in a cave. HOW?

I mean I presume bears hide in caves. I may not have researched that one. If they don’t, then substitute a cave hiding animal.

Also, how do you have a sour milkshake and it doesn’t just like curdled milk that has gone off? HOW?

So, is it any good? Fuck knows what good even means here. I’m having a laugh, I can say that, but this possibly the least beery beer I have had for a long time. Half milkshake, half sour beer to sour liqueur, thing.

There is no way I would drink this regularly. It is too sweet for anything short of a dessert drink, too alcoholic for a milkshake replacement, not refreshing in the slightest.

And yet…

Feck it, this is such a laugh. Somehow leans heavily towards the fruit and dessert milkshake style while still having successful sour edges. Admittedly a lot of those sour edges are like sour chewy sweets, but still.

If the intrinsic idea of it doesn’t put you off, I would say sure, give it a go, have a laugh. Have an oddity of a sugar shock sweet yet sour milkshake beer. You are probably only going to ever want to try it as a one off, a bit of fun. Just don’t expect subtlety or traditional beer character and you will probably get along with it just fine.

Background: Ok, the can lists this as Strawberry, Banana, Vanilla, Cheesecake – but I have seen a few places online refers to it as Strawberry, Banana, Vanilla Cheesecake which kind of makes sense as well. I don’t know how cheesecake even comes into this. From their website Triple Spilled refers to three times as much fruit as normal, and I’m fairly sure cheesecake isn’t a fruit. At a guess they use banana, strawberry and vanilla pods to make this, to give a cheesecake like taste, but for all I know they blended up cheesecake and dumped it in. The craft beer scene does shit like that. Also unsure of the abv as I cannot see it on the can. Beer Bruvs, where I bought it, list it as 6%, the Urban South web site lists the Triple Spilled beers as between 6 and 6.5% abv, so sure something like that. Couldn’t see a canned date for this one, so cannot say how it fits in the freshness scale – but everything else in their recent batch has been fairly darn fresh. Though it did result in this can, like all the cans of this buying batch, being very excitable when opened, but not so much that I lost any before pouring. I just needed to be quick on my feet. Went with Noctule: Wretched Abyss as backing music, just because. Hey this beer makes no sense, why should my music choice?

Neptune: Lost and Grounded: Lost at Sea (England: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Darkened, slightly cloudy caramel brown. Massive loose bubbled caramel touched head.

Nose: Malt toffee and chocolate. Chocolate lime sweets. Lightly bready. Cake sponge.

Body: Good bitterness. Tart grapefruit touch. Dry pineapple. Charred bitter notes. Greenery. Ovaltine. Dry chocolate orange. Sulphurous and sour dough.

Finish: Grapefruit. Charred bitterness. Pine needles. Vanilla. Malt chocolate to ovaltine. Gunpowder tea. Orange juice hints. Chocolate orange. High hop bitterness.

Conclusion: Ok, this is, at the very least, slightly atypical for a a West Coast style IPA, but in a way I appreciate. Most west style IPAs I encounter are light and bright on the eye, with the malt out of the way, concentrating on a dry body and bitter hop character.

Now this is fairly dry and bitter hop forwards (Which makes me very happy) , but the malt, while not sweet or fully east coat, does show darker ovaltine to malt chocolate and toffee notes. Still dry, but more present that expected. What makes this work is that it seems to give a lot more grip for the tarter hop flavours to work from. On the lighter end you get clean grapefruit and orange, at the low end it mixed with the malt to give slightly sweeter but still dry choc orange and choc lime notes.

It is kind of a drier take on an East Coast malt in feel, if that makes sense, but apart from that has a distinct West Coast attitude, and has a lot of room for hop expression in bitterness, feel and flavours. You may notice I kind of skipped over the aroma here, it isn’t bad, just not showing that much compared to the rest of the beer. A hint of what may be in there, but definitely doesn’t properly represent the weight of flavour you get in the rest of the beer.

I have the feeling I won’t always be up for this particular take on the style, sometimes I will just want a clean West Coast IPA, but it is still a delicious take and I approve – and right now it works fine for me.

Not traditional, not one to always go to, but definitely a great beer that is at least ¾ of its claimed West Coast influence in its final style.

Very nice.

Background: Neptune is a new brewery on me, but Lost and Grounded is a familiar friend over at Bristol. This was one of many West Coast IPAs that came in to Independent Spirit recently. As a west coast fan I was overjoyed. So overjoyed I tried most without remembering to do notes on them. I remembered to do notes on this one. Yay! This lists Citra, Simcoe, Bravo and Columbus as the hops used. I don’t know much about Bravo but the rest are very good go tos for a nicely bitter IPA so I was hopeful. Went back to Garbage: Not Your Kind Of People for backing music, I only picked it up recently but it is already firmly a big hit with me.

Boon: Oude Geuze (Belgium: Geuze Lambic: 7% ABV)

Visual: Pale, clear, just slightly darkened yellow. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Large white bubbled head.

Nose: Muesli. Dry. Dry white wine. Fresh cut apples. Slight oats and horse blankets. Slightly nutty. Dried and salted lemons.

Body: Apples. Dried lemon. Tart grapes. Gunpowder tea. Peppery. Oak. Tart orange. Pink grapefruit.

Finish: White wine and gunpowder tea. Oak. White pepper. Pink grapefruit.

Conclusion: Every time I think I have a handle on lambics, especially geuzes, I find out that there is more to them than I ever expected.

It opens as expected – white wine notes, muesli, horse blankets in the aroma. If you have had a geuze lambic before there is a good chance you know the general idea. So, on the aroma, this is pretty much that.

The body also has those elements but also extends a way beyond that and what I expected. The kind of charred character you see in a lot of lambics comes across here as more intense gunpowder tea like notes. It feels slightly acrid, but not unpleasant (Yes I know acrid is unpleasant by definition, it is a kind of taste I would normally call acrid, but somehow works here. Let me have this one please). Similarly the tartness have grapes, lemon and apple, none of which are unexpected, but also develops into a very pink grapefruit style, the delicious tartness of which I think is what makes the harsher notes not unpleasant. If I had to sum it up I would say the whole thing feels more “robust” than you average lambic.

While not my favourite lambic – those gunpowder tea to white pepper bits are a tad harsh for me – it is still a heck of an experience. Still a dry, wine like beer, but weigher than the dry white wine notes would otherwise suggest. The tartness and acidity hits the back of the throat with some impact.

So, the weightier lambic, and I think it is not too much of a guess to say that a lot of this can be attributed to the 7% abv which gives it a different character from the more common 5% and below lambics you tend to see. I mean, there are probably many other influences, but that is one that is immediately obvious up front.

Not a favourite, but I do respect it, and I am interested to see what ageing does to this. So, a complicated one, but hopefully I’ve given you enough information for you to know if this is the lambic for you.

Background: We have lambics in supermarkets now, this is not the world I expected when I was younger. I approve. Ok, it is Waitrose which is the posh as shit supermarket but still. Anyway, so as you may have guessed I grabbed this from Waitrose. One for drinking now and one for ageing. Boon have generally been a good one for me, balancing ease of drinking with complexity, without becoming too harsh or crowd pleasing simplistic. So happy that I can get their beers easier now. I’ve been picking up a lot of Bloodywood singles recently so lined them on repeat as background music. Hope they get an album out some time as I love their Indian street metal style and great emotional openness.

Other Half: Ain’t Nothing Nice – Double Dry Hopped (USA: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon juice body. Large, loose white bubbled head that mounds.

Nose: Lemon curd to lemon meringue. Cream. Clean. Apricot. Zero bitterness. Fried eggs. Thickens as it warms.

Body: Peach. Milky. Hop oils. Slightly resinous. Egg whites. Some bitterness. Slightly gritty. Strawberry hints. Thick. Orange juice.

Finish: Moderate bitterness and hop feel. Passion-fruit. Oily. Kumquat. Orange juice hints.

Conclusion: Ok, so I am surprised a bit by this. Since it is cloudy on the eye, I was initially guessing this as NEIPA with all that goes with that. Ah well, NEIPAs are far from my favourite IPA style but I can live with it.

The aroma confirmed what I was expecting, that being absolutely no bitterness, but quite fruity and creamy. Generally light and gentle. Well done for what it is, but still not my kind of IPA.

The body is thick and surprisingly it is also slightly oily and resinous which I would not have expected from the aroma. It is not hugely bitter, but still more than I expected up to this point. The finish then gives an actual decent amount of bitterness in yet anther twist.

Overall the feel is thick and slightly oily, which can become an egg yolk like thick and slimy character sometimes, if that makes sense? It also shows that slightly vegetable bitterness of simcoe very nicely -its always been odd that works, but it does and continues to do so here.

The other hops used here seem to show their influence more subtly, with orange hints and passion fruit touches. The general milkiness of the beer seems to make defining the actual flavours more difficult than they would normally be.

It is well brewed, just well brewed in an IPA style that I am not a huge fan of. The thicker feel seems odd to me here, but even with that I can’t deny an intrigued pleasure at the bitter, yet milky and eggy thick feel.

Very odd, too thick fried egg yolk feel for me to get on board with, but well made for what it is.

Background: Apparently Other Half are a super hype brewery. My finger must no longer be on the pulse of the craft beer community. I’ve run into them once as a collaborator on a Beavertown beer, and that is it. I am old. I have lost it. Anyway…

This turned up as part of a large batch of Other Half in Independent Spirit, so I grabbed it and a Nelson Sauvin hopped IIPA from them (Which was pretty darn nice). I’m not often one for listening canned dates, but since this is a USA IPA, and I recently did so with some from an online supplier, it seems only fair. This one I grabbed about two weeks back and was canned 29/04/2021 and the Nelson Sauvin one was fresher, so pretty nice – about as fast as you can expect to come across from USA without super special measures. Of course Independent Spirit have the advantage that I visit them regularly so can grab stuff as it comes in. Anyway, this is hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic and Simcoe, then dry hopped again with Galaxy pellets and Mosaic Lupin powder . Which is some serious hype hops for me, so is pretty much why I grabbed it. Went with Noctule – Wretched Abyss for music again for this. Nice big, Skyrim inspired black metal. As you do.

Gun Hill: Snickerdoodle Coconut – Void Of Light (USA: Foreign Stout: 7.9% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Very large mounded bubbled head of coffee froth brown colour.

Nose: Cinnamon. Coconut. Coconut Macaroons. Mocha. Dry roasted peanuts. Cake sponge.

Body: Savoury chocolate (is that a thing?). Bitter cocoa. Light greenery. Subtle cinnamon. Slight cream. Dry coconut. White chocolate. Slight soap.

Finish: Bitter cocoa. Ovaltine. Dry coconut. Milk chocolate. White chocolate. Light charring. Bitter. Peppery. Bitter coffee.

Conclusion: This is more restrained than I imagined from either the description or the aroma. You can read the description easy enough for yourself in the background, so I’m going to jump straight into the aroma.

The aroma is coconut macaroons drenched in cinnamon over mocha style sweet coffee. Impressive first impressions, but feels at risk of becoming sickly later on. Still I was interested, nay, enthralled.

The body is a lot more restrained after that. The coconut is very present but also drier. The cinnamon is there to a moderate degree, but also in a less sweet way, which can sometimes make it seem peppery, while also being cinnamon? Yes I know that makes little sense, but I used the worlds “savoury chocolate” in these notes, very little about this makes sense.

As a beer it doesn’t 100% work, along with the peppery character there is also a slight soap element to the beer, which makes me think of how coriander is meant to taste soapy to some people. Not a huge element, only comes out occasionally but is there. However, in general, the mix of sweeter notes to a savoury, peppery backing has managed to make a beer that is more drinkable over its lifetimes and also quite intriguing.

It feels like the anti dessert stout, which is odd considering that I’m fairly sure snickerdoodle refers to a dessert cookie. It has lots of bitter cocoa, drier and more savoury notes there while still letting the cinnamon and coconut shine through.

By which I means lots of coconut, I love coconut in beer as has been well established many times.

It isn’t 100% solid, but I’m impressed with what they have done, and would probably return to it again.

Background: Another one of the USA beers I picked up from Beer Bruvs, this is one of the older dated ones – 24/08/20 (as always switched to UK style dates), however with it being a stout I am less worried for this one, so just putting the info up for reference. Wasn’t sure how to list this as I have seen it labelled a few ways online, so I just put as much of the words on the can up as possible – it seemed only fair. This is a stout made with cinnamon and coconut. Which I presume relates to the snickerdoodle thing, they seem to be some kind of biscuit. They look tasty. Went with Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! Again for music, as I was still feeling the need for some more of that.

Cushnoc: All Souls IPA (USA: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold to yellow. Massive white mounded head that leaves lace. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Vanilla fudge. Pine needles. Light crushed custard cream biscuits. Lightly resinous. Soft kiwi. Light flour to floured baps. Apricot touch. Cake sponge.

Body: Prickly bitterness. Dank hop oils. Light charring. Kiwi and grapefruit. Popcorn hop feel. Floral. Vanilla. Dry fudge. Moderately dry overall. Lightly chalky. Slight sweet grapes.

Finish: Flour. Popcorn hop feel. Good bitterness. Light charring. Slight chilli seeds.

Conclusion: This has a nice range of notes from the hops, yet keeps the bitterness on point. While I knew this was made with a mix of West Coast and Australian hops it didn’t explicitly say it was West Coast style, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I kind of hoped for west coast influenced at least.

Anyway, it is very west coast like. Yayz! And it does it well as well.

So, let’s dig into things, how does it feel?

Base body is pretty dry, not bone dry – there is some vanilla and drier fudge notes in there, so the malt base isn’t completely out of the way. It is however dry enough to be exactly what I want for a hop delivery system.

Those delivered hops emphasise bitterness, mainly in the popcorn feeling hop kick and some charring notes. I will admit the charring isn’t my favourite thing, but in general I am down for what this beer is selling on the hop bitterness side.

Outside of that it is more subtle. There is some tart grapefruit and hints of apricot sweetness and soft kiwi. They are not pushing any element too heavy but they are there – little grace notes around the edges.

It is lovely being able to try more USA made West Coast style IPAs, even if again I think this comes from the east coast. I think. This is quality made – light charring aside- there is nothing unusual, but is another good example of exactly how to do a lovely bitter kick IPA with just enough release and interesting qualities that it isn’t one note.

I may just be recovering from the NEIPA trend and just jumping onto any proper clear and bitter IPA, but I am loving these in general and enjoying this in specific.

Background: Another IPA grabbed from Beer Bruvs, this one with canned on date of 22/12/20. So a bit older than perfect, but on the line where I would expect it to still hold a lot of the flavour, if not the full effect. I have had two other IPAs from them that were older, around the 9 month to year mark and they were definitely past their best by that point so I didn’t do full notes on them. The oldest one was on sale, but still felt it lost too much to be worth it even like that. At this point I would say most of their beers are from very fresh, to decent if not great freshness, but if you want fresh IPAs it is worth keeping to their more recent arrivals. Again, I have sympathy, as a new start up in these times, but I would not be doing my best for you all of I did not advise. Hopefully as they get more established their turnover will increase keeping things fresh. Anyway, this is made with a mix of Australian and West Coast hops, which is what caught my eye. Not much else to add, put on a mix of Television Villain tunes while drinking. I am biased as I know one member, but I think they are amazing.

Ingenious: Smarty Champagne Sherbet (USA: Berliner Weisse: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Strawberry juice red. No real head, just a handful of bubbles. Some small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Strawberry jelly babies. Crushed love hearts. Palma violets. Fudge. Seville orange.

Body: Light sherbety mouthfeel and sherbet lemon. Fudge to chocolate fudge. Grapes. Strawberry. Raspberry soft drinks. Crushed love hearts. Sweet white wine. Grape juice. Orange jelly sweets.

Finish: Chocolate fudge. Chocolate orange. Sweet raspberry. Lemon sorbet. Green grapes. Slight funky feel. Palma violets. Red grape juice.

Conclusion: This is nothing like what I expected. Which is partially my fault, with something called Champagne Sherbet I should not be surprised when it has lemon sherbet flavours.

My bad.

What is unexpected is how restrained the Berliner sharpness is. There is a soft, tart, fizzy character but nothing like the acidic pain from my first Berliner Weisse experience. It may help that I don’t have an unknown tooth cavity this time.

Again, my bad.

It is fruity, with the expected strawberry and raspberry notes coming through quasi naturally, but what really sticks out in this is that it feels like some one took a ton of crushed love hearts and dumped them into the beer.

But in a good way.

It results in an odd mix of natural fruit and super artificial sherbet fizz. Then you back it with soft white wine like notes and a bit of yeast funk at the end and you have something that should not at all mesh together, but somehow does.

It has a champagne feel only in the funk in the finish, and the fruit used comes across cleanest in the aroma; In-between the two there is a massive mix of everything that went into this. So, yeah somehow they manage to make drinking crushed sweets through fruit stewed in white wine work. Which is impressive.

It is fun, but unlike a lot of “fun” beers it feels well brewed and almost could even be called balanced. Almost. Lets face it, something that tastes like crushed sweets will never be 100% balanced.

Fun, funky. Fruity and sweet. I need a word that means sweet but begins with f to continue the alliterations. Fructose? Nah that is rubbish. Anyway, if this was a lower abv this would be a perfect drinking in the sun refresher. As is I enjoyed the hell out of it anyway.

Background: Ok this is a (Deep breath) Berliner brewed with champagne yeast and conditioned on raspberry, strawberry, orange, lime and vanilla. Which is a bit of a mouthful. At time of doing the notes initially I was only aware of the strawberry and raspberry, so I am happy I picked up on some of the others as well. This is listed everywhere as “Smarty Champagne Sherbet” but on the can I could initially only see “Champagne Sherbet” and that is from an additional label stuck on it. Anyway, yeah I see it NOW! Go figure. Additionally the label, and most of the internet calls this at 6.8% abv, but if you peel off the label the can calls it as 6.1% ABV. Again, go figure. No canned on date for this one, so not sure how long it has been since it was brewed. As you may have guessed from that, this is another one grabbed from The Beer Bruvs website. Went with Evan Greer’s Spotify Is Surveillance as backing music again. Easy to listen to but politically sharp. I like it.

Big Oyster: Hammerhead IPA (USA: IPA: 6.4% ABV)

Visual: Clear, darkened yellow body. Large white mound of a head that leaves suds. A small amount of small bubbles for carbonation.

Nose: Vanilla fudge. Pine cones and needles. Slightly oily, resinous character and bitterness. Lime cordial. Cake sponge. Apricot. Flour. Grapes.

Body: Good bitterness. Oily hops. Prickly. Kiwi. Light charring and gunpowder tea. Tart grapefruit. Tart white grapes.

Finish: Greenery. Hop oils. Oily charring and good bitterness. Good hop punch. Light grapes and grapefruit. Flour. Kiwi.

Conclusion: While I have been on a right West Coast IPA kick recently, this is the first USA made one I have had for a while – so as the originators of the style, are they still the masters of it?

Well, first impressions are what you would expect. Clear on the eye, simple but effective on the nose.

The aroma opens up with sweet vanilla, though that definitely diminishes over time; In return more oily, pine cone hop character comes out backed by a light freshness.

The body delivers on that promise of the aroma. It is mainly straightforward hop bitterness, light charring and a slightly dry kick, but with resinous edges. The bitterness goes hard, into occasionally harsh with gunpowder tea like notes, but with just enough grapefruit release for it to work

There are sweeter notes, with apricot and kiwi, but fruit wise the tarter grape and grapefruit notes are doing the heavy lifting. Even that is never the main course of the beer, but they are evident enough to freshen it up and keep it from being too harsh.

As time passes the bitterness, greenery and hops rise to dominate the beer, and it is the main thrust at the end. Which admittedly is exactly what I wanted from a west coast.

Not unusual, or fancy, but as I say, damn this does exactly what I want from a west coast. Bitter, resinous and just enough release from the harshness.

I have missed this.

Background: It is getting hard to get American craft beer over here in the UK, outside of a couple of regulars that have become commonplace, so when I saw that there was a website called “Beer Bruvs” that was importing and selling some lesser seen craft beer from over there I thought I would give them a go, see how they do. Even if Beer Bruvs as a name is like nails on a blackboard for me. I will not judge them on that. Mostly. While I am not cult like in my need for freshness, I will be posting canned dates where relevant, as a new importer am am interested in what sort of turn around they have on beers, especially the hoppy ones. Now, these are cans which will help, and frankly with COVID, Brexit and the like hitting the entire infrastructure right now I am more than happy giving them leeway, but is is still useful info for you all to know when I am doing notes. This one is dated as 16/03/21 (Yes I changed to UK style dates), so pretty good – probably the freshest of the IPAs they sent. A few different IPAs were back from Sept last year, which isn’t the worst, but may put off people who want them super fresh. Anyway, I don’t know much about the brewery, but was excited to try a proper old USA made West Coast IPA (Even if the brewery is, I think, based on the east coast) – been a while and I adore the style. I went with Mclusky: Mcluskyism as backing music for this for some random energy.

Elusive Brewing: Oregon Trail – West Coast IPA (England: IPA: 5.8% ABV)

Visual: Just slightly less than clear, yellowed body. Medium carbonation and a medium sized centimetre of a white foam head.

Nose: Vanilla yogurt. Flour. Popcorn feeling bitterness and hops. Slight lemon sherbet. Generally quite clean. Bready as it warms.

Body: Good bitterness. Bready, doughy character. Peppery. Brown bread. Subtle grapefruit. Lemon sherbet. Slight sulphur.

Finish: Dry. Peppery. Harsh bitterness. Resinous. Sour dough. Dry lemon cakes. Vanilla fudge.

Conclusion: So, since it seems that the classic West Coast IPA is getting a bit of a resurgence, it is only right and proper that, after I have been calling for more of them, I at least drink some of them as well. So I did, and this is one of them. Naturally.

Initially this is very bready, and surprisingly sturdy with that, along with a slightly sulphurous dough like character – however with that said, this still brings the bitterness well, along with a peppery character, giving a recognisable west coast style hop character.

As it warms it becomes slightly drier, which makes it much more evidently West Coast, but it still has more of a bready weight than I would otherwise expect. I am used to a more clean and dry west coast, but this still utterly rocks the bitterness and the resinous character, so gets a lot of the basics right.

The citrus hop character promised is less evident. There is a gentle background of grapefruit notes and a slight sherbet lemon. Nice, but very restrained. It feels like a bit bigger citrus pop over the generally good base would really make this shine. While a bit over weighty in general, this has the attenuated bitterness set, and if a more fresh punch was there as a contrast the two would really set each other off well.

So, a nice bitter kick, not fancy, but it is an IPA that remembers to be resinous, bitter and hop forwards and I will never not respect that!

Background: I have been on a heck of a West Coast IPA kick recently, it is just me being rubbish at actually doing notes recently that explains why this blog hasn’t been awash with them. Thankfully, after a bit of time away during the height of the NEIPA craze, the West Coasters have started showing up again, giving me a lot to pick from. West Coast IPAs tend to be be drier, and more concentrating on bitter hops that their sweeter and more full malt bodied East Coast cousins. Which is fine by me. Elusive are a brewery I have only hit a few times before, generally good if nothing standing out as a must have so far. This was grabbed from the ever reliable Independent Spirit. Shocking I know. Music wise I went with a mix of Prodigy tunes while drinking, mainly from Experience and Music For a Jilted Generation. Classic tunes.

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