Thursday, 23 October 2014

Beer Review: Dr. Hardwicke's Double IPA

Only last week I was complaining about beer with long titles and, here, we have a beer with an incredibly long title. Still, I mustn't complain, for I have dined most exquisitely upon cous cous with roasted Mediterranean vegetables, bacon and balsamic vinegar and the remnants of our children's evening meal. All to the lovely soundtrack of Trains Formers 1-5 on youtube and the squeals of pure delight by both cherubic children upon their choice being pre-empted by an even better choice from the other. Invariably this is followed, as one would expect, by the laughter that accompanies being smacked hard by one's sibling and much merriment was had by all.

So, it is without too much ill-will toward the long name that I turn my attentions to the reviewing of Dr. Hardwicke's Double IPA from T. A. Sadler's (told you they'd be coming back), and attempt to ignore the sweet serenade of the Boy complaining that lying down makes him bored and sleepy and gives him bags under his eyes and how not tired he is. Of course.

Yes, that's some Flipside you can see there...
And Bateman's BPA too. They'll come soon enough.

Would you like to delve deeper into this beer-swilling swell's life of pure pleasure as we review together this rather fine US-style ale, all in its Statesian size pint of 330ml (give or take)?

The bottle informs me that citra, amarillo and Chinook hops are used in the production of this rather strong IPA and they're not kidding. On opening and pouring, quite a quick operation this evening given the situation described above, there is a definite aroma that pervades the area where the beer is being poured. Sure enough, there's that bouquet that I have come to expect of citra hops, what, with Citra (here), Infinity (link) and JHB (ha, got you, it's here) all being similar in their noses lately, but nowhere near as strong. There's a tropical sort of bent to the aroma, but lacking the passionfruit edge, I suspect that the mixing of the amarillo and the chinook do that, but the resultant mix is hard to place. Certainly a fuller and more relaxing sort of nose to it than the harsh citrus tones of other IPAs, like Proper Job (link) for example or, maybe, Dark IPA (here) and Jaipur (link), in that it is more like fruit (and, thankfully, not the awful artificially sugary mess of Wychwood's Forest Fruits - the review is here if you want to know more) and summer fruit at that.

On tasting, this fruitiness is again apparent. There's a fullness to the light malt that is used, suffused with a hefty whack from the hops. It arrives as a burst of fizz on the tongue, carrying with it a full complement of obvious citra, and then the malt sort of makes a play to occupy the land as far as it can, accompanied in this mission by amarillo and the taste of what I must assume is the chinook. Hops-based fruitiness abounds and only toward the end is there a note of citrus and bitterness before this fades along with the malt to the aftertaste. Overall, this is pleasant, with an edge of bitter to an overall taste not unlike the sort of thing one associates with Vimto or perhaps I may be so bold as to suggest the cheaper Bitter Lemons, whereby the souring start is often offset by a kick of sugar in the aftertaste for some reason that I have never been fully able to comprehend (the point of bitter lemon being to bitter the taste and add a zing rather than a sugary sweetness, but, then, I do not run a mighty drinks empire gaining me large amounts of money, so what do I know?)

Over the course of the drink it is clear that the fruity adventure wins out, and in many ways it ends up reminding me of Jaipur and Halcyon (link), though I have to say that, given the choice, I would likely plumb for Jaipur before this or Halcyon. That's not to denigrate the taste of this brew, there's clearly been a lot of care put into this and attention has been paid to make sure that the strength of the hops don't cancel each other out and remain complementary. I would be hard-pushed to separate out the different threads of hops flavour in this one and I would be even harder pushed, if it were blind tasting, to realise that this is really quite strong overall, like 8.5% ABV strong. In that sense, it is very like Jaipur, as that is likely to leave one flat out the following day without realising how much one has had the night before.

I would have liked to have had this one in my garden on a Sunday but the weather was not playing ball and nor were the children and so it has, instead, been unfairly relegated to my dining room of an evening whilst I tap away at the laptop and catch up on social media (because that's just how I roll). Enjoy this one sat outside, it matters not about the weather provided you are happy enough to endure it whilst outside, and with little expectation of anything work-related afterward. Pick a moment when relaxation can completely take you and enjoy it slowly, taking careful sips every now and again with a good book for company. Maybe have a partner for erudite conversation and be sure to have eaten well beforehand.

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