Tag Archive: IPA


To Øl : CPH – The Boss (Denmark: IPA: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon juice. Good inch of yellow white loose head.

Nose: Crisp bitter hop character. Bitty pineapple chunks. Grapefruit. Slightly bready hops.

Body: Tart grapefruit. Light flour. Low level bitterness. Vanilla. Mandarin orange develops over time.

Finish: Grapefruit. Pineapple. Low level hop character. Custard cream biscuits. Slight flour. Mandarin orange.

Conclusion: Ok, a short while back I bemoaned the lack of IPAs these days that truly commit to the tart grapefruit heavy IPAs that you got back when Nelson Sauvin hops were first all the rage. Well, sometimes you ask for something and end up getting it is spades!

This is grapefruit dominated all the way baby! Some pineapple backing as well, but mainly grapefruit. However it feels different to the big grapefruit IPAs of old. They were clean and tart, either dry and with the malt out of the way or sweet and tart. This uses the texture of the beer to call to ragged grapefruit and pineapple chunks that are nearly falling apart, leaving bits everywhere on the tongue. It is a style that allows the beer to call back to those previous classic while still innovating nicely.

Very nice, very tart, if kind of one note at the start. It takes a while for the vanilla character from the malt to come out, instead you mainly get a very New England style thicker texture, slightly wheaty or oat thickened mouthfeel to the body. Hops are present in a low level but pricking bitterness way. Enough to definitely be an IPA, but far from heavy.

Finally, late on, tart mandarin orange comes out, a much needed extra note to bring back a bit of interest and zest at the end. It is still a tad too one note to be a classic, but mixes a solid bitterness, a new take on grapefruit tartness, a nice use of New England style mouthfeel without otherwise bowing to the NE style, and puts it together to make a pretty damn nice IPA.

Background:Also listed as being brewed by Brus, this is brewed at To Øl’s brewpub (the aforementioned Brus). Normally To Øl do contract brewing if I remember rightly, so a chance to grab some of their brewpub’s stuff in can was very special. Grabbed from Independent Spirit this is a double dry hopped IPA made with Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe (no Nelson Sauvin, much to my surprise as you may notice from the notes). I put on Rise Against – “The Suffering and The Witness” while drinking, a pretty good one, even if it can’t quite live up to Endgame for all time great album status.

Advertisements

Tiny Rebel: DEYA: NEIPA (Wales: IPA: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Clear apricot. Large white head. Becomes hazy on second pour.

Nose: Apple. Crisp hops. Soft apricot. Slight eggplants.

Body: Eggplant. Slightly oily and resinous hops. Prickly bitterness. Quite savoury. Apricot skin. Grapefruit.

Finish: Resinous. Smoke. Slight oak. Light grapefruit. Earthy bitterness. Apricot skin. Dried mango.

Conclusion: Call me a mad, style enforcing, dictatorial fool, but aren’t New England IPAs supposed to be cloudy? I thought that was there whole thing? Am I in bizzaroverse today?

Those were my first thoughts on pouring this – as you can see from the photo, this is crystal clear. Or more correctly was crystal clear. There was still some beer left in the can due to the large head, so I gave it a quick swirl and pour and – there we go, it is now just slightly hazy. Guess the sediment had all gone to the bottom, I was worried for a minute.

Now I am in a kind of bind on this one – It really doesn’t match most NEIPAs in style points. It it clear on first pour, has oily bitterness, has low amounts of fruit character, etc. However, as most people are aware, I am not a huge fan of the standard NEIPA style, so should I be praising it or damning it for lack of style fidelity? Meh, let’s just look at it as the beer in itself it is and see how it goes.

It is quite .. savoury. That is not what I expected. Kind of eggplant to general vegetable heaviness. This does make me wonder if I got a bum can, especially with the clean first pour. The flavours are very dull and just subside into a lacklustre bitterness haze. It feels like it aims for …sigh.. dank, but ends up staid instead. The fruitiness notes you get are a dried apricot skin kind of note, but with none of the juiciness you should get below the skin.

Giving the beer a good swirl does help a bit, bringing out some grapefruit notes, but still the bitterness of the beer feels weird. It is something I have seen in some other cryo hopped beers, a kind of bittiness that seems linked with the vegetable character in a way that doesn’t work for me.

So, Yeah, this is not the NEIPA for me.

Background: It is well established I am not a huge New England IPA fan. However enough people have done a twist on the base style that I have found examples I enjoy, so was not too worried when I went into this DEYA, Tiny Rebel collaboration – the fifth of the seven collaboration beers they did for their seventh birthday. Said most that I have to say on the box set of collaboration beers in my last few posts on those beers, so all I will add is I put on The Eels, Useless Trinkets album which collects their b-sides and odd releases, to listen to while drinking. Not The Eels best work but it is quite soothing to listen to.

Tiny Rebel: Neon Raptor: Tropical Sorbet IPA (Wales: IPA: 4.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale and just slightly hazy lemon juice colour. Very small bubbled carbonation and a huge white to yellow loose bubbled head.

Nose: Tart grapes. Lemon juice to lemon sorbet. White chunks from tinned tropical fruit. Mild hop character. Crushed palma violets. Grapefruit.

Body: Tangerine. Tart lemon juice. Pink grapefruit. Slight flour like hop character.

Finish: Tangerine. Pink grapefruit. Tart grapes. Crushed palma violets. Pineapple. Standard grapefruit. Mild hop prickle.

Conclusion: Ok, since I have a few spare moments, I would probably argue against this being classified as an IPA, but mainly as an intellectual exercise rather than any genuine gripe. Kind of just trying to work out exactly where the line lies between IPA and not. It is far from the worst offender for not matching style guidelines but it is an interesting one. What do I mean? Well what seems unusual is is the sub 5% abv which, ok has been taken by session IPA but this is definitely not a session IPA. It has low bitterness, which yes is used by NEIPAs, but seriously, screw NEIPAs. It has a mild hop character, and unlike the lower bitterness IPAs I have encountered before the malt character is nearly completely out of the way. The main thing is that it obviously has had a lot of hops used late on to make it very tart and fruit, but nothing is used for bitterness, hop character or similar. Feels more like a very tart hopped APA to me, but anyway.

For the closest IPA comparison it reminds me of those IPAs in style about five years back, utterly smashed with Nelson Sauvin and similar New Zealand hops creating a very tart experience, but with much more out of the way malt styling. On a side note I very much miss those IPAs, I loved the tart, hoppy bombs. Everyone seems to use Nelson Sauvin much lighter these days. Anyway, yeah this beer is like that but with less malt and far more variety in the tart fruit notes.

So, this is very fresh and enjoyable- pushing grapes, lemon, grapefruit and tangerine notes for a great tart medley of an experience. It just lays those tart notes on moment after moment while the actual hop character, when it shows itself, comes across as a subtle flour texture kind of thing – there is no bitterness of hop prickle here. Hence my long ramble on the IPA style above. However, if you ignore the style expectations this is a mouth puckering refresher of a beer and very good at it too.

A tart as heck, kind of IPA if you squint, beer. Please, other people, do this level of tart hops more please. Also, Tiny Rebel please do a variant of this beer, but with more hop character please – that would rock my world.

Background: The …. fourth I think beer from Tiny Rebel’s seventh anniversary box. This one with Neon Raptor, who I love the visual aesthetic of, but their beers have never quite jumped out at me yet. Not much to add really, seems a tad low abv for an IPA, can looks very bright and cheerful. So of course I put on the completely not cheery and angry early era Gallows albums to listen to while drinking. The past few weeks politics bullshit may have left me with a lot of angst and anger to blow off musically.

Northern Monk: Nomad Clan: Patrons Project: 2.07 Bare Bones (England: IPA: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon juice – nigh opaque. Large loose white bubbled head.

Nose: Apricot chunks. Lightly resinous and oily. Good hope prickle. Grapefruit.

Body: Oily. Gherkin tartness and savoury mix. Soft malt choc toffee and malt choc orange. High hop prickle. Pineapple and grapefruit. Dried banana.

Finish: Oily. Dry hop character. Slight gunpowder tea. Pineapple and grapefruit. Oily apricot. Dried banana.

Conclusion: Yes! Someone has decided to put some hop bitterness into the NEIPA style again. Cool! Let’s take a good look then.

Ok, I started off by saying that it has the hop bitterness, but to be more honest it is more about the hop oils and resinous notes that they use here. It’s not that they are an overwhelming part of the beer, nor are they …*sigh* dank, but they make up the solid core of the hop experience here.

Beyond that it has an odd flavour mix – it opens with the more standard tart pineapple and grapefruit but against that is a kind of sour and savoury note that I always end up describing as gherkin like. I’m sure I have put people off by using that description for a note, but it is actually a quite decent note, its just I have yet to come up with a better description for that odd sour twist.

The malt usage in this is enjoyable, but again it feels odd. It feels like the malt should be mainly out of the way, but every now and then an east coast style malt toffee, or odder still, malt choc orange note pokes through. Odder still it works. Mostly.

Anyway, as you may have guessed by this point it is an odd mix of an IPA. It’s a NE West-East coast IPA. Or something. You know what though – I’m enjoying it. It is rough edged, prickly, even with gunpowder tea harsh edges, but those tart notes over oily character and New England thick texture makes for a weighty IPA bit of fun.

So it is odd, mixed up, rough edged, but I’ll take that over dull any day – especially when it is done this well.

An odd mix worth trying.

Background: The can says that this is the “Gold Edition”. I have no idea why, I did a quick Google and still have no clue. If you know please let me know. Anyway, another of Northern Monk’s Patron Projects – this time with Nomad Clan – a street artist group who were responsible for the very pretty and eye catching can. This is a double dry hopped New England style IPA made with oats to back the London Fog yeast. I’m not a huge fan of the New England take on the IPA, but trust Northern Monks enough to give it a go. Prodigy was still in my mind after Keith Flint’s death, so put on The Day Is My Enemy to listen to – probably my favourite of the more recent Prodigy albums. This was another one grabbed from Independent Spirit.

O/O: 50/50 Enigma- Nelson Sauvin (Sweden: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Dark apricot. Large mounded yellowed head that leaves suds.

Nose: Wheat. Apricot. Lightly tart. Grapefruit. Melon. Light hop bitterness. Flour.

Body: Lightly creamy meets oily feel. Hop oils. Bitterness. Soft peach. Light custard. Moderate thickness to the mouthfeel. Grapefruit. Light tart grapes. Flour.

Finish: Oily bitterness. Good hop oils. Light resin. Grapefruit. Palma violets. Soft peach. Gherkin. Malt toffee.

Conclusion: This is a much more balanced beer than I expected. With it being 50% Nelson Sauvin hopped I was expecting a level of tart grapefruit hop punch that would rock the house down.

Maybe I was underestimating the Enigma hop.

Anyway, instead, as much as this does use, and indeed rock, those grapefruit Nelson Sauvin notes, this is a much more complex and with it rewarding IPA than if it just threw the tart fruit notes at you alone. It has a cloudy look and a slightly creamy thick feel that calls to New England IPAs, but much to my delight flavour-wise it leans heavily into the hop character giving thick, hop oil led, slightly resinous, and solidly if net excessively used bitterness. My kind of IPA. The base shouts out the IPA character in just a mildly … *sigh * I’ll say it.. dank style.

There is solid sweet fruitiness as well, expressed as peach and apricot, which, when paired with hints of the malt influence showing custard sweetness, manages to balance the flavour out nicely. So, they have managed to balance the hops pretty much 50/50 as they promised, and make them the lead for the beer. The malt flavours are gentle backing vanilla toffee and such, but its main effect is to give enough mouthfeel – and in that it more than does its job.

A beer that gives a very solid showing to both hops, uses malt well, and generally manages to use hop character, resin and hop oils well without them being overwhelming, which makes it all a very solid IPA indeed.

Background: O/O … I have no idea about that name. A quick google shows nothing. So, erm, anyway, grabbed this from Independent Spirit. Looked nice – simple but striking colour scheme, I love Nelson Sauvin as a hop and Enigma is pretty solid, Sweden has a darn good craft beer scene, so,yeah, seemed a solid choice to pick. Not much else to add, put on varied Gogol Bordello tracks while drinking for some high energy tracks to add to the mood.

Firestone Walker: Luponic Distortion: Vol 11 (USA: IPA: 5.9% ABV)

Visual: Light pale yellow. Medium white head. Some small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Guava. Crisp hops. Light hop oils. Light bitterness. Soft banana chewy sweets. Soft lemon sherbet. Light grapes.

Body: Bready hop character and gritty bitterness. Lemon hard sweet mixed with lemon sherbet. Light cardboard. Dry. Grapefruit.

Finish: Gritty bitterness. Fluffy hop feel. Grapefruit. Dry pineapple. Lemon sherbet. Dried and salted lemon.

Conclusion: This is a pretty dry IPA – well attenuated with a growling, bitter hop character over that. There is a slightly rough feel at times from the combination – slightly gritty – but generally it just provides a drinkable dry feel that works well as a base.

The aroma promises sweet fruit to go along with that – guava and banana sweet notes that, if present, would offset the dry style. Thus it was a bit of a shock when the main body actually gives tart lemon and grapefruit notes, giving a mildly puckering note to go with the dry body. Initially quite sherbety it soon becomes like dry, salted lemon. Again it complements the dry style, but does nothing to offset the rougher notes that came with that.

It feels like it could do with another flavour string added to the bow. The tart lemon and dry body is a nice base for a beer – good hop character, good tartness, but doesn’t go anywhere from there and keeps running into those rough spots.

Good, but not one I would recommend as there are so many other better IPAs out there. A good base that they should return to and experiment with, but not stand out for us drinkers. Yet.

Background: I’m a big fan of Firestone Walker – they’ve been bought up by Duvel Moortgat but the quality doesn’t seem to have changed. So, good for them. What first attracted me to them was their awesome IPAs, so when I saw this experimental series IPA at Independent Spirit I grabbed it to give it a go. From a quick google it uses Australian, German and USA hops, but I couldn’t find which. Ah well.

Buxton: Dugges: Ramberget (England: IPA: 7.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon juice. Large, mounded white head. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Lemon. Oats. Wheaty hop character. Clean. Light milk. Light hop bitterness.

Body: Thick. Lemon curd. Passion-fruit. Grapes. Also slightly musky grapes. Fresh lemon juice. Muesli. Vanilla custard. Cream. Dried apricot.

Finish: Palma violets. Greenery. Lemon curd. Hop oils. Some bitterness. Musky grapes. Soft orange.

Conclusion: This is an unusual entry in the IPA category, for all that it may seem a standard entry from the can’s description of it. And by unusual I mean delicious by the way. Also, I still mean unusual. Words can mean multiple things when written down. Like wind for example. Anyway, I digress.

It is thick, kind of creamy but also lemon juice style citrus filled. It is far thicker than your average IPA and that makes every flavour grip so much more and makes it so much more expressive. Lemon notes become thick lemon curd. Milk becomes a chewy oatmeal to muesli milky cereal style.

I will admit it does not have the largest range of flavours – mainly working the citrus fruits – but the thickness gives a depth to each element that makes it extra rewarding in and of itself. It only has a small amount of bitterness, which normally would annoy me in an IPA, but is probably a good call here – the thick texture could have made high bitterness clingy and outstaying of its welcome.

It will never be your go-to, anytime IPA. It doesn’t have that easy drinking, crisp, bitter kick, or a whole other number of other elements you would expect from a standard IPA. However, its thick, slow drinking style is delicious and while an atypical IPA it is still recognisably an IPA. A slower, heavier, bigger IPA for taking your time with.

Buxton bring the IPA goods once again.

Background: I tried this a while back, loved it, so I decided to return one day to do notes. This is that day. So, yeah, I wasn’t unbiased going in – I was very much ready to enjoy this one again. Basically a big IPA made with oats as part of a collaboration between Dugges and Buxton. Simple and to the point. Despite my happy mood going in I put on the melancholy tracks of The Eels – End Times while drinking. Maybe I was afraid of getting too happy. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. yes I have got lax at tried other places. I will keep my eye out more when travelling.

Dogma: Hoptopod IPA (Serbia: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon colour. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Very large lace leaving loose bubbled white head.

Nose: Piney. Hoppy. Resinous. Slightly oily. Floral. Wheat fields. Pineapple. Jiff lemon. Slight lime. Tangerine.

Body: Bubblegum. Tart pineapple. Raspberry to raspberry yogurt. Dry lemon juice. Sour dough. Lemongrass. Orange juice. Slight oily hop character.

Finish: Bubblegum. Crisp hops. Vanilla yogurt. Slight bitterness. Dry lemon and lemongrass. Slow growing and growling hop bitterness.

Conclusion: Are they sure that Sorachi Ace was not used in making this? It isn’t listed in the hop choice but it sure tastes like there is at least a dash of it in there. So, a bit of an unusual IPA then.

The aroma promises something fairly normal – a piney, slightly resinous hop character. Slightly fresh, so a dry hop bomb with some tart fruit as a mild offset. Pretty standard west coast right?

Not exactly, but not exactly wrong either.

The base is fairly dry, with moderate hop character, but it is absolutely bursting with tart juiciness – almost bitty fruit juice style. Orange juice, pineapple, and … this is where it gets odd … bubblegum with light sweet raspberry yogurt notes. Those last two give a slightly artificial, yet still welcome set of chewy sweet or candy set of notes in the middle of the beer. It results it a more chewy character than the dry start would make you think, but not in an overly malt led way – more like a very bitty fruit shake.

It then leads out into a fruit tart finish that slowly subsides into a growling bitterness that finally pays off the hop promise of the aroma.

Overall, I dig it – heavily fruity but with a dry base that shows the IPA style and uses just enough hop character and bitterness that it is still solidly an IPA. Doesn’t ape other IPAs but still recognisable as one. Tart, unusual and drinkable. A solid hit I say.

Background: I was gifted a free month subscription to Beer 52 recently by a mate – Many thanks! – so here it is. They sent a Balkans themed case of beer, of which this was one. Only had a few beers from that area – mainly when I was visiting Belgrade, so was an interesting box to go with. Would I recommend them? Well beer selection seems nice, they include a guide to the beer with some cool articles, so not bad. Warning however – they are an utter fucking dick to cancel. Yes I cancelled after the free box. My cupboard is scary packed at the moment. First world problems. The issue with cancelling the subscription is you sign up online, pause subscription online, but if you try to cancel – after several attempts to make you stay – they inform you that you cannot cancel online via their site. You have to call them, and be put on hold for ages with a painfully scratchy line that genuinely hurt my ears. I was ready to tell them to fuck right off, but I noticed that in smaller text they mention you can cancel by e-mail. Which I did. The person handling that was great, so cool. Did a lot to restore them to my good graces, so may use them in the future for a short while if they have similar interesting region based boxes. Still a crappy set-up though – if you have to make unsubscribing a hassle, then your service isn’t good enough to stand on its own two legs. Rant over. Anyway – tried for vaguely appropriate music by putting on Goran Bregovic – Tales and Songs from Weddings and Funerals while drinking.


Collective Arts: Ransack The Universe (Canada: IPA: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Clear, light hazy yellow to apricot body. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Solid creamy white head that leaves suds.

Nose: Resin. Hop oils. Soft lime. Floral. Crisp bitterness. Pineapple.

Body: Oily bitterness. Mild gherkin. Pineapple. Prickly. Resin. Grapefruit. Slight vanilla. Dry body. Slight fudge. Mandarin orange. Tart grapes. Lychee. Peach syrup.

Finish: Oily bitterness. Oily charring. Dry charring. Bitter hop character. Gunpowder tea. Grapefruit. Tart orange. Palma violets.

Conclusion: Ok, this is a punchy wee one. It comes across a lot different from the fresh fruity IPA was was expecting from the hop choice in making it. It has a tart fruit character, but emphasises the dry attenuated base and a bitter, charred to gunpowder tea hop kick that is slightly smoothed by hop oiliness.

It feels like a beer that want s to kick you hard, then gently hug you with flavour after. Initial impression are prickly hops, oily, resinous and quickly leads out into a charred bitter finish. The base is dry and out of the way – not getting in the path of the hop punch at all. Here the beer feels kind a fairly brutal IPA, weighty enough backing that the charring isn’t evil and harsh, but still kind of one note.

Time, heat and the slow build of repeated sipping all come together to give access to a second layer of flavour – tart pineapple into brighter tart orange notes with a sour, mild gherkin like twist to it. The hops rock up front, but now with subtle flavours backing it, giving something hiding behind the harshness. Heck, you even get a soft vanilla fudge note that hints at actual malt presence, but without harming the super dry IPA character.

So it is definitely leaning towards the dry, hop assault IPA side of things, which is super my jam. Thankfully. It doesn’t leverage the favour from the hops fully, and can be a tad harsh in the bitterness, but it is a very satisfying, brutal, hop bomb with a lot to back it up flavour-wise.

In a normal environment I’d call this a good beer – in this world where there are so many milkshake/NEIPA/etcs I’m just very happy that I got my hand on an IPA like this again.

A solid beer.

Background: Didn’t run into Collective Arts while I was over in Canada, so when I saw them turn up in the UK with their wonderfully evocative can illustrations I thought I might as well give them a go. I went through all of them looking for an IPA without a New England before it. Yes I’m still not 100% on board with the NEIPA style. Anyway, saw this, grabbed it, drank it. Simple enough story. Put on Throwing Muses’ self titled album while drinking – saw Kristin Hersh was touring again and it brought them back to mind. Nice gentle drinking tunes.

Wiper and True: IDLES: Joy As An Act Of Resistance IPA: Collaboration Series 14 (England: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Dark caramel brown, with visible sediment bits floating within. Thin off white head.

Nose: Palma violets. Fresh blackcurrant. Lime cordial. Black-cherry jam. Cake sponge. Light hop character. Strawberry.

Body: Palma violets. Cake sponge. Blueberry. Blackcurrant cordial.

Finish: Lime cordial. Blackcurrant cordial. Cake sponge. Palma violets. Light earthy bitterness. Slight rocky to charring notes. Pepper. Sage and generally herbal.

Conclusion: This doesn’t feel super IPA like, it owes more to the special ingredients and seems to just use the IPA character as a dry drinkable base to work from, albeit with a bit of cake sponge weight from the malt load.

The blackcurrant is tart and gives a lovely, natural tasting, fruitiness but that tartness the fruit brings make the body feel a tad lighter with it. You do get a lot for that trade off though – the flavours are fresh, backed by light herbal notes for some range.

While it is a good set of flavours it does feel like the base beer could pull its weight a bit more as the berry character is very dominant. What I do like in though is a subtle palma violet sweets style character, an element that adds a kind of noble hop like character throughout the whole beer. Now I know violets were used to make this, but I’m fairly sure violets don’t taste like the sweets palma violets. I think. Amy which way I love this slightly odd, sweet note and what it adds to the beer.

I have to admit I would like a slightly brewed up, slightly higher abv version of this. Something to give a bigger body to contend with the thinning the blackcurrant brings – but, I am still enjoying this as it is. Slightly light but still a drinkably dry body, nice fruit tartness and light herbal complexity really works for the beer overall.

So, it could be improved on, made to be a great beer , but as is it is solid, different and still worth drinking.

Also IDLES fucking rock.

Background: So, Wiper and True are rock solid with their beers – love them, The Kernal of the south west in my opinion. Loved them for ages. IDLES, the band, I only found out about within the past few months but now love also – their new album that this beer is named after is a work of anger and emotional vulnerability that spits in the eye of toxic masculinity with a mix of the Clash and post hardcore punk. So yes I was going to buy this when I saw it at Independent Spirit. Anyway this is an IPA made with hibiscus, blackcurrant and violet. Ok, not what I expected – as you can probably see from the bottle they list IBU, hop choice, malt choice, all the info you need to know about the beer, which I always appreciate. So I put some Spice Girls on while drinking this…juuuust kidding, Joy As An Act Of Resistance, natch.

%d bloggers like this: