From the Blackwolf Brewery in Scotland comes ROK IPA at 4.0%. Golden amber on the pour, with no aroma other than a hint of malt. Excellent head generation and retention, leaving a thick creamy top. Impressive! i think this goes hand in hand with the slightly excessive carbonation. The taste is mostly lager-ish with a nip of citrus and a decent heft of bittering hops which adds a nice and pleasant aftertaste. Nothing particularly shines, the yeast is clean (or washed out completely) but I can’t stay too negative about this ale. The body on the beer is fine together with the mouthfeel, but 4.0% for an IPA just seems a little under strength to me. Its O.K.
From the inspired Magic Rock Brewing in Huddersfield, Yorkshire comes Human Cannonball double IPA at 9.2%. Returning with rose tinted glasses to that IPA beer style that initially changed my perspective on what ale was, and could potentially be, was a completely welcome, albeit prolonged journey. This beer saw me waiting and anticipating three long years for just a taste, and as renowned as it was, it was equally as elusive. This beer is infamous for selling out within an hour or two of being released and is synonymous with the term ‘Rocking Horse S**t’. Magic Rock Brewing also brews Cannonball IPA, which is hands down my all time favourite all round special IPA, binding resinous amounts of citrus, mango and lemon with a mouth puckering bitterness and a fresh juicy hop finish that simply exudes decadence and complete indulgence at every level.
Human Cannonball is my ultimate trophy beer conquest, apologies, my ultimate conquest and now I have two cans. This was no easy feat. At 09:00 on Monday 11th April 2016, after two minutes of being released online, the Magic Rock company website crashed and became inoperable for a great length of time, suffice to say, when it came back online, the beloved stock was gone. All of it. Fortunately at 09:00:13, I submitted my order (together with 10 cans of Cannonball IPA) and waited eagerly for that confirmation e-mail. The rest is great beery history.
Opening the can gives an is creamy, heady aroma of resinous grapefruit citrus and hops, literally Cannonball on crack. Aroma you can literally chew. The aroma is synonymous with the fantastic hop combination that only Magic Rock can conceive, drawing back memories of walking into their tap room.
Carbonation is moderate and precise to the beer style. The colour is a milky amber orange and golden appearance with hints of green in the light, this beer also has an interesting snow globe particle effect, I’m guessing from the high ABV and hop presence. The taste is grapefruit, bitter pith, orange, pine and mango with a heady malt and an alcohol presence that simply wins hide and seek every time. A slight warm aftertaste ensues and a moderate lingering bitterness emerges that slowly dulls the senses in a pleasant yet smothering way.
Mouthfeel is resinous, creamy and exaggerated. Head retention is minor and a complete afterthought as the resinous hops simply do not allow for anything else to talk about in this beer. This beer is so flavoursome and overwhelming I cannot compare it to anything tasted previously. (E.G: Burping gives an aroma of a magnificent west coast style ipa aroma) like your stomach has just been dry hopped for 7 days. This gives you a hint or idea of the stupendous amount of hops used in this beast of an beer. Nothing comes close to this beer in aroma, texture or taste. Pure Hop crack & my best beer ever. (so far)
From Cairngorm comes Black Gold a Scottish Stout at 4.5%. A burnt aromatic appears on de-capping. A malty stout with a great deal of carbonation from the bottle generating a load of head development. A very smooth and thick feeling on the tongue with albeit slightly soapy mouthfeel. The bitterness is low to moderate with hints of sweetness creeping through, very more-ish and easy to drink. A slightly perfumed aroma complements a well accomplished stout. Winner of a past SIBA Gold award.
From Drygate Brewery in Scotland comes Gladeye IPA at 5.5%. A dry and malty beer with great head retention and really quite bitter to the taste. The hops are not too aromatic but slightly citrusy. Overall, fairly fruity and flavoursome. A pretty decent IPA with a good branding appearance.
From Brewdog comes Monk Hammer Belgian IPA at 7.2%. An odd combination of subdued citrus aroma with an odd biscuity damp dank smell of hoppiness. Really quite interesting! The bitterness is a real hop bomb, it builds and builds, suggesting a weird belgian beer bitter that draws from yeastiness rather than hop bittering. The bitterness suddenly cleans itself away after a few seconds of aftertaste, this leads onto a spiced aftertaste with bitter grapefruit pith and lemon drops.
Great carbonation for the style and a clear beer with virtually no malty influence, seemingly drawing all flavour from the hops and yeast. The beer base is slightly acidic, completely off the wall and indulgent. ABV is a complete hidden mystery whilst drinking this marvelous beer. One of the most complex beers i’ve had the pleasure of drinking. A taste journey sensation. Definitely not a session beer, the intensity of the beer wipes out your palate completely for the night. There’s so much flavour variances going on here, its very difficult to explain. I’m guessing a bit of a marmite beer experience for most people. Experimental.