Thursday, 15 December 2016

Easy IPA

Two cans already reviewed and both have been rather good. It meant that I couldn't resist a third sojourn in that direction, because I am nothing if not easily diverted onto a different path by happenstance and coincidence. So it is that I continue my trend of reviewing less than dark ales in the dark evenings after a day at work because that makes sense. Tonight's offering tells me that it is a session IPA - which is presumably somehow different from a standard IPA. I have no idea why or how, so don't ask. Nevertheless, this is by the rather well-regarded Flying Dog brewers about whom I have yet to hear anything negative other than people being unable to find it. It is a can of their Easy IPA featuring a small selection of the madness that I've seen on bottles that people post pictures of.

I can see the frost creeping in and around the windscreen of my car, and I have already been out to unplug it lest the weather does damage to the charging get up. I know, it is such a hard life charging a car at home for about the price I'd pay for a chocolate bar whilst fuelling with petrol or diesel (well, actually, my charging works out as cheaper than that, but hey). Would you like to know more?

Another IPA that pours very clear and quite thin with a big an adventurous head. This time that head sticks around at a higher volume for longer, it does die back from the kind of Mister Whippy moment that we start with but there's still an undeniable head there a while after the pour. Good bubbles there, quite small but with a steady stream of them upward in a tight whirlwind-like formation in the centre of the glass, probably down to that odd little set of bobbles one gets on some glasses to increase a head, so I should expect a long-lasting head I guess. Fresh and fruity aroma, nasal passages still not fully recovered from the cold at the beginning of the week, but there's something of the citra and chinook familes at play here, for certain, with a sweetness to it. It's a kind of mango paste with a hint of something jelly or jam like playing in the background.

Like a folk band playing in a different room with an appreciative crowd, I get impressions of the rhythm of the hops and the play of the malt but mostly in the after effects and acclamation rather than direct on the nose. Taste is a tight ball on the opening, hard to get anything out of, plays the cards close to its chest on entry and then hangs around in the cover of the head at the front of the mouth. Slowly exudes hop oils and then, bam, hops all over the place. Like you walk into the room with the live band and there's harmonies and someone is playing a shruti box because why not. And, much like that rather welcome surprise, we have the malt pushing that hop wave into the centre of the mouth. Slight bitter edges and a heat to rival the middle-class meal of risotto made with left-over vegetables roasted in the oven then roughly fried in stock with arborio and a dash of tobasco. This complements the pumpkin seeds mixed in (and the parsley and oregano chopped and added at the last minute) and does a job of calming the flavour madness left behind.

This works well with my kind of string flavours by being more of a Lord Alanbrooke with my meal's childish feet of clay Churchill than a meticulous and technically genius Sir John Dill. In much the same way, my meal responds better to this sort of strength of New World (I'm assuming) hops than it would a dark and complex malt in a stout, no matter how chocolatey and dense, so making it an almost ideal brew to have on this fine evening. The bubbles keep going, making their presence felt most down the centre of the taste and as you swallow down the surprisingly gentle and dry aftertaste that hangs around the inner front of the tongue and in moist patches down the side of the mouth, leaving the back end rather clear. At 4.7% ABV it's a bit on the strong side but that explains how it can push back rather than be forced into attacks of opportunity by a gigantic man-child told he can't play with his favourite toy. Mind you, you have to admire these people with their stiff-necks of ABV!

It's a not a bad brew and I'm glad I got it in. I suspect that it would be a great friend to Szechuan style dishes with plenty of sppice or else with a decent curry from Jalfrezi upwards in spice and heat, I doubt it would work well with a fish supper or a roast. May work with BBQ food but I can't really imagine that at the moment. It's a decent can, a decent brew and a clever use of the hops, even if they won't tell me what they are on the can (and I am much too lazy to go and look it up on the internet because I like making gradiose and unsupported guesses). I'd have it again but I'm not sure I'd pay the full price of £1.75 for it, seems a bit steep. Mind you, I am something of a tightwad.

Enjoy best out on the town with friends or colleagues. Let them get their wine and sit and sip the grape juice with their basic curry and korma. You kick back, order something mixed up after a bit of lime pickle, use a roti or other flatbread to eat the curry and rice mix, and get some of this in to have with it. A proper British Indian experience without the need to show off and a good excuse to get out of sharing the bill for the probably over-priced wine (unless it's a BYOB place, and then you can just look clever by carrying cans rather than bottles). This one will do exactly what it tells you on the tin and be an easy IPA.

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