Sunday, 13 August 2017

New England IPA V2

It was a while ago now, but we had a lovely friend come to stay and visit. You may remember her as the Belgian with whom I drank some beer back in 2014 (find that by clicking the word clicking). However, all of this is mere prelude as I wanted to share something a bit special and had picked this up from my local bottle shop with the exhortation to 'savour it'. I'd picked it up on a whim as I'd missed that they had any in, but seeing a collaboration between the giants of the craft scene, BrewDog  and Cloudwater meant that I really had to part with a sizeable fee to see what happened.

Before getting down to this I have seen many opinions expressed on this ale and I should point out that I did not have those in mind when having this. I had intended to follow it up with other ales but, for reasons that will become obvious, I did not. Would you like to know more?

With the bottle being 660ml and me being a lightweight I was very pleased that I had someone with whom to share! A word on that bottle too, I really like the design and it was a very tactile label, which was nice. Opening produced a hint of plenty of activity in the small flurry of carbonation and white cloud that escaped the neck. It poured with remarkably little follow up to that initial burst and though there was a pretty big head this did not go crazy. To borrow a term from more qualified beer bloggers than I, this is something of a murk-bomb, as you can plainly see. It was, as my companion put it, a very Belgian style ale. Lovely orange colour in the dying light of the evening and with an aroma that had mango and pineapple hanging around somewhere behind it a little like the ratty one in a company of bullies.

Once onto the tongue this came alive with the pineapple taking the opening role, as if from the yeast rather than from the hops, and then with a wave of orange. No, it was the orange that was the yeast, tart and citrus with the overhang of the pineapple-like hops. Then it was cresting as it spilled across the tongue like a bombing raid seen from the air, explosions of tropical fruit powered by the raw power of 8.5% ABV, a cascade of lethal tropical murk-bombs paving a way through the trees and rendering all hiding places useless. Laser-guided bubbles smack the roof of the mouth with orange spread to deforest your tastebuds and machine guns spray the surrounding innards of the cheeks with bullets of pineapple and a hard malt backbone. This fits in with the trend at the moment to go fruity and I can see how it was similar to the Verdant Some Fifty Summers (here) in that regard, if it had chosen different fruits. I can also see why some people have had a go at BrewDog for being a bit same-y. However, I must confess that, like my compadre, I rather like what has resulted. This is finely honed and carefully targeted fruity murkbomb and was strong enough to force a sipping style of approach.

You could take this on full-frontal if you wanted to but if you want to try that then be ready to be surely pummeled with the artillery of the mango on the run up then peppered by relativistic speed projectiles hurled at ridiculous fire rates from the trenches of orange soaked bubbles and speared through with pineapple hops. The bottle claims support from peach and melon and I could see how that might be supported by the experience but I get a much stronger mango and pineapple vibe. The sheer strength of the alcoholic content meant that this ended up being a much slower brew than I had anticipated and prevented any kind of follow-up like I had planned. However, this was no bad thing and, as a special brew, I think this served the purpose for which I had selected it. It was Belgian style in the sense that it had the yeast all in and was full of pretty large flecks of sediment.

Now, on that sediment, I am not usually a fan of anything floating in my drink. I can deal with murk but visible flecks tend to turn me off a little. For this brew, following up after the sour of the Breakfast of Champignons (here), I was in the mood for experimentation and experiment I did. I liked what I found. This was a really good brew and one that easily carried the night and the conversation. Willow expressed that it was nice and fruity, my Belgian friend seemed very enthusiastic (and I'm not at all certain that my offer of ale was thought of as being a good one in the first place) and, on that basis, I am prepared to judge the whole thing something of a success. This battle, then, ends in victory for the collaboration, I am aware it will not do this every time.

I know that I am publishing this review rather late for anyone to pick up a one-off brew any time soon, but if you do see it about it's worth what you'll see it on for. I can imagine that this is a review that will rapidly become out of date but, as a random find that I wasn't desperate to find, I enjoyed it and look forward to any future collaborations between these two!

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