|This picture does not capture how red this is|
It is time for a review too, would you like to know more?
The aroma is very very striking. Straight away there's a full fruitiness that just fills the senses, no better way to describe that, spiced hops with a citrus burst over a bed of soft mango and, like the bottle claims, passionfruit. The colour of the ale, deep red with a creamy fizzy head, is also something just a little bit different. That sense of adventure reminds me a little of the much-named and referred-to Wild Raven (here) but this is a different animal altogether - fresher, fuller and fruitier. I am pleased to report that I placed and caught the Citra, but failed to place amarillo or cascade. This is a proper US-style IPA with a big 5.7% ABV hit and the sort of smell that makes you want to hold off on the tasting, or dive straight in. So I dove straight in.
Mouthfeel is velvet-soft and deep, running over the tongue carefully with barely a ripple caused by the carbonation, which is kept nicely in check. That fresh fruit taste fills the mouth as it fills the nose, exploding all over the place and turning over and over with tropical fruits and mango (which is a tropical fruit as well, but I can't think of another way to bring home what's happening). The Maris Otter malt remains soft and docile, the pack mule to the payload of hops, and plod along dependably and solidly through the taste. It raises a head to scratch its ears against the door post of the fruit seller's shop and then gets back on with hauling the caravan of exotic tastes and spices to the aftertaste. Rapid shifts then occur, like it was an action film and the mule just stumbled on a mine railway thing, and we're into the sort of dryness one associates with things like Cobra (here) or other pales. It's a dried fruit though, reminding me of the sort of pick and mix that I used to see in the covered market in Carlisle but less sweet and more apple-y.
Willow tasted this one and very nearly didn't give it back. Her face told me that this was a hit and she is not usually one to steal my ale! This is definitely worth picking up again. Also, that strength is noted, it doesn't hide, but it is confident enough to simply stand there and be noted without having to throw its weight around. No messy brawling or shouting from the rooftops but, equally, a stern look at you if you're thinking of sessioning and a reminder of what it can do right as the aftertaste begins to fade from view and thus from memory.
This is best enjoyed any time you're looking for something to make you pay attention, any time you have company would be good so that you can hand out a couple to friends and enjoy the appreciation such an ale would bring. It's good as a starter too, the intense fruity hops would mask that bitterness and the malt that many people I know claim to be the reason they avoid ales. It's a decent and solid brew and, above all, it's red: what more could you ask for?