Sunday, 7 June 2015

Home Brew Review: Bubba's IPA

I was lucky enough to enjoy some good weather with this one. An oasis of further calm amidst quite a calm, if busy, week. My good friend from Leeds had gifted me some of his home brew that was brewed a while ago and this one had been held back some time, so I was looking forward to this - nicely aged, very ready and bottle conditioned. I don't know that any more exists but some people who know my good friend and occasional host in Leeds may wish to get in touch and see what they can coax out!

I refer, in this case, to the Bubba's IPA that acts as a companion to Bubba's APA (here) and a development from that too.

Would you like to know more?

This poured with a syrup like consistency that I've not seen since Molotov Cocktail (here) and this boded well as far as I was concerned. In the warm sunshine the bronze colour caught the light and shone, as you can see in the picture above, and the bottle-conditioned nature of the brew meant that I was just shy of filling my pint glass, no bad thing. The scent of fruit was strong with this one, a sort of mix between soft mango and the faint citrus edge of orange, and was not troubled by undue carbonation, though there was enough to leave a decent head as you can see. It fitted the garden smells nicely, complimenting the waft of garlic from beside the table and the hint of pepper from the flowers behind me. Flies flew, bees buzzed and birds sang, it was a proper bucolic experience.

The taste was thus firmly in place with the look and smell. Started with a hit of yeast that was not unpleasant, carrying a payload of fruity hops that crested the initial wave with a sort of orange zestiness, full and smooth mouthfeel, that cascaded down the sides of the mouth to a lemon and lime zing taking a smooth but humble malt down the middle. A definite hop-head ale that rewards the patience and the palate of those that enjoy a smoother ride. This was not an assault of bittering hops like storming the beaches in 1944, this was more a subtle fairground ride of flavour that provided thrills and spills without making you feel queasy. I can see why my brewing friend has enjoyed this and am much obliged to him for keeping me back a bottle - it is well worth it! Throughout the entire taste there was that hint of orange and the feel of mango, which is to say there was a small hint of it on the tongue, and the aftertaste was good and powerful, as it should be.

Given the summery weather and the fact that I came out for a bit of a relax, this ale fitted the situation nicely and well. Very much part of the garden experience and I enjoyed it as it progressed too. The initial subtleties are not lost as the ale moves through the pint despite the rather powerful 7.2% ABV that I have assigned to it, it's definitely north of 7%, but it never actually feels as though the alcohol takes over or forces the brew to be something it's not. Satisfying too, that aftertaste builds and becomes more sophisticated as it is joined by the hops from each sip of the ale and the warmth of the day allowed me to bask a little in the colour and the reflections produced by this piece of burnished bronze.

Enjoy this best on its own in the garden of a pub or your own house surrounded by the sights, smells and sounds of nature. Hear the breeze tickling the leaves of the trees, smell the pollen from the newly mown grass nearby and close your eyes a little after each taste. If this were a mainstream ale I would be exhorting people to buy it. Ranks up there with Banter (which apparently I haven't reviewed yet) and is easily better than the Gold Hobgoblin (here). Many thanks to the brewer for keeping me some back and apologies that it took so long to get the review up!

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