Unfined, unfiltered and unpasteurised. Can conditioned with live yeast. Hoppiness IPA is a New World IPA, a cracker from the Moor Beer Company in Bristol. De-canning gives a citrus almost earthy spiced aroma of beer goodness. The pour is well carbonated with a deep golden appearance. Head generation is moderate. The flavour is dank, earthy and spicy with presence of Citrus pine and sweet maltiness coming through in a perfect blend. Some presence of tropical fruits like mango and orange also make an appearance. It has some characteristics that I would associate with a Barley Wine, without the dominating malty, vineous factors. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth. A long bitter aftertaste finishes the beer off perfectly, as you would expect from a decent British IPA. One of my favourite British hybrid IPA styles from a brewery that is stunning, yet sometimes overlooked.
From the New Lion Brewery in Totnes comes their Tea 09 – Pale Ale with Earl Grey at 4.2%. A example from their experimental ‘white label’ series. Decapping gives a mildly floral aroma with the slightest hint of parma violet. The pour is clear and golden, generating a massive carbonation, similar to that of a saison. A thin big white head was also generated. The body of the beer is thick with a good mouthfeel for the ABV, giving a nice sweetness and good underlying bitterness. The earl grey flavour is still there, with hints of bergamot citrus and parma violet flavours poking through. A rather delicate beer, not massive on taste, but clearly very well made. Noble hops also feature in the aroma. A high carbonation really accentuates the Bergamot orange presence, suggesting this would work very well as a saison. Enjoyable.
From To Øl comes Sur Cedar IPA at 6.0%. A sour mashed India Pale Ale with Citra hops. Matured with cedar chips. An excellent citra citrus aroma on de-canning. The pour is well carbonated, leaving a golden cloudy ale with a thick, foamy white cream head. I knew what to expect when I bought this ale, however, in reality the drinking experience is slightly strange and unexpected! The aroma sets you up for a big C-hop hit, expectations of the sweet malt appearing through to finish it off, however after a great mouthfeel, the sourness punches through your senses and assaults your tongue, followed by a sharp bitter aftertaste that slowly pulses on each side of your tongue. A hint of saltiness also plays through. A second whiff of the beer gives a wine like acidic aroma hint of ‘sour beer’ with the big C-hop aroma almost completely masqued. The following sips allow an element of malt sweetness to peer through, kept in check by an equal sour bitterness that balances the beer throughout. A thorough taste experience, pretty much unlike anything i’ve tasted before, however the cedar wood chip influence is completely lost on me. Very enjoyable and very well done To Øl!
From The Glorious Sheffield based Abbeydale Brewery in collaboration with SMO-FO comes a beer which has really surprised me. Never before have I decapped a beer and it smelled as like it is described on the can. Smokey bacon crisps anyone? A smoked stout aroma dominates with a distinct hint of bacon! The pour is big and dark, an appearance of deep black, leaving half a finger of off white head. The taste is slightly sweet, rich, burnt and bitter, combining a lingering bitterness that works perfectly with the smokey bacon aroma. Mouth feel is thick and full bodied, slight saltiness coming through on the aftertaste. I really like this beer. I mean, I really like this beer! it almost feels like a meal in the aftertaste. An inspired beer by an inspired Sheffield Brewery. Well done!
From The Cinema Brewers (Brouwerij De Molen) comes ‘King Kong Coconut Tripel’ at 8.0%. Decapping gives a mixed aroma of mild generic maltiness and mild coconut presence, albeit with a very creamy aromatic feel. The pour is golden and clear with absolutely no head generation. The beer appeared to be uncarbonated until the pour, which is quite strangely lively. The taste is slightly sweet, but not overwhelmingly inherent of coconut. The body of the beer is thick, oily and with a slightly cloying mouthfeel, bitterness is slight to moderate. Overall an interesting take on a Tripel style beer, which wasn’t a complete beer disaster. I would have loved to seen Sorachi Hops in this brew, as well as a distinct presence of banana (which is an ingredient on the label). It appears the coconut oil is a complete beer head destroyer, which is slightly disappointing and the banana flavor has completely fizzled out.
From the spectacular De Molen Brewery in the Netherlands comes Amarillo Imp IPA-Ish at 9.3%. Decapping gives a big dirty resinous aroma of fruity dank hopness. Bittering hops are described as Sladek/Saaz with a massive dry hop of Amarillo. The pour is mightily impressive. Massive head retention, with a lingering 1/4″ thick white head. The beer has a deep golden appearance with a moderate sweetness and high particle presence, giving a nice cloudy appearance. Carbonation is moderate supporting a body that is thick and full, with a deep resinous hop aftertaste not too dissimilar to Sixpoint Resin. A moderate to high bitterness lingers throughout to give a wonderful hop kick bitterness /aroma combo. This takes some beating. Excellent IPA!