Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Home Brew Review: Milestone IPA

I have been looking forward to trying this particular home brew properly since my trip to Leeds. It was very much over-shadowed by the power and quality of the first home-brew, Bubba's APA, being a dry-hopped and fruity little number. Therefore I was anxious to let this one have a bit of space and time to breathe and work though it in splendid isolation, as I feel it suffered a bit unfairly.

I refer, of course, to Milestone IPA, brewed by m'colleague.

Would you like to know more? I think you should, even if this is beyond your reach, it says something for brewing generally and is a chance for me to capture something that will not oft be repeated, the ultimate in exclusive ale!

Despite having a gammy hand, I was able to open this unaided. This is bigger than you might think. Anyway, there was a satisfying snick, that avoided being too crisp (oh, hark at me and my high-falutin' ways). Aroma was mainly grapefruit, if I had to narrow that down I'd say it was pink grapefruit on the strength of the fact that there wasn't a noticeable bitterness beyond that faint citrus tang one associates with breakfast grapefruit. It poured beautifully, lovely light copper tones, and then I spied more in the bottle - hence the cloudy aspect, I poured just a little too much and ruined the crystal clarity it possessed originally. As a consequence my picture above does not really do it justice.

A good, proper head, formed and then hung around as I drank it. Not too thick or sediment filled (indeed, no sediment in it at all) and avoided being creamy, which is a compliment in this case. First sip was very much in keeping with the aroma, definite citrus hit of the slightly grapefruit variety and fuller in the mouth than on the nose. Not too much fizz but also far from being flat either. It was, if anything, quite well balanced and gained much from having been out in the kitchen in this colder snap with the windows open - no, I still didn't chill it. In any event, I am glad this was at room temperature, I prefer my beer like that and this ale, I think, seems at home in that environment.

Hard to quantify the strength. Definitely in the 5% ABV zone and clearly happy with itself it does not whack you in the jaw with alcohol content but does not slink home with tail between legs asking you only to appreciate the hops. The malt is slight, almost willowy, like a runner in a sprint, anxious to get there and get the job done. It emerges swiftly from the opening hops and then rolls a little before rapidly diminishing in favour of the bittering hops at the end. A faint tang of grapefruit pervades the clear and sharp ending to this brew and is not unwelcome.

I am glad that I got a chance to have this and taste it alone, it deserves to be judged on its own merit. It stands its ground well with other IPAs, notably the Dark IPA (link) from Revisionist and, if I'd poured it properly, you would be hard pressed to tell it apart from something from a decent craft brewery. One may think that I gilding the lily somewhat with it being made by m'colleague but I was expecting to build up to the Bubba's, which is something I find very nice indeed. In other words, I'm not and this does hold its own very nicely.

Enjoy this best accompanying something a little less bland than I had this evening (chicken and croquet potatoes - get me and my posh-sounding cheap-meal self) and be prepared for it to be mixed with something afterward. I'm leaning toward a traditional bitter like Black Sheep (link) or Business As Usual (link) myself (though have neither in the house right now, so I shall be denied that joy). A good summer ale but equally at home as autumn creeps in through the window.

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