First week back and I am so bushed. I can't complain, got a fair bit done and everything seems far rosier now than it did later. However, I was surprised, pleasantly, by a parcel yesterday that contained not one but two (no, count 'em, two!) beers from someone I know up in Cumbria. Cheers! It would be rude not to drink them quickly and so it is that tonight I fell upon Dead Men Brew No Ales from Renegade like a starving man in the desert falls upon the sand. No... wait, that didn't sound right.
Ah, nevertheless, this is a black IPA, which is always a plus point as far as I am concerned, and I'm looking forward to telling you what I think - which is what I assume you clicked the link to come here for. Would you like to know more?
First of all, I was pushing it. I put this in the fridge and it was a matter of hours after delivery that I was attempting to drink it, a gambit that has not paid off in the past. However, it worked well this time around and it poured well with a good head on it and a little bit like a stout. No, a lot like a stout. If this were a bog I would not have been surprised, but it wasn't. It was an IPA. I leant into the glass expecting something smooth and oatmeal like, thick and heady but, instead, got fresh mango and a big hit of tropical freshness. The can did tell me that they used New World hops and I could tell that much but I was not expecting the mango, I really wasn't, even though the can said I would smell it! It was joined by the faintest ghost of coffee, like someone who drank coffee had been stood in my kitchen as we cooked the Moroccan cous cous and then died with the aim to haunt the glass.
Initial hit on the tongue was confusing, being more like a standard IPA than it looked, Willow opining that it just didn't taste like what it looked like, which was reasonably accurate. It had a big fruity wave at the beginning and then rapidly developed into a big explosion of hops and malt all at once. Complex and the kind of welcome cacophony that doesn't ask to be understood so much as it asks to be left to make a joyful noise. Then, almost as quickly as the fruits began, there was a coffee running down the sides of the mouth, joined by burnt cacao and plenty of fruit-floral hops on the roof of the mouth. It continued to buzz around, defying my attempts to take another swig, and then faded to a burnt coffee and mango aftertaste that, as odd as it sounds, was actually rather welcome. No quaffer this one, it is one to take your time with and wonder. It went excpetionally well with the spicy sauce I'd added to the disgustingly healthy evening meal I'd been privileged to see being cooked.
The longer I had this and the more I ate, the more I decided that they're on to something down at Renegade. This is a combination and a complexity that really shouldn't work: cacao and mango? Coffee and IPA? I mean, okay, I know that there are coffee IPAs out there but this... it just shouldn't have worked. Looking like it was going deep cover in some action movie, ranting to the chief of the police district that it just needed to be left alone to bring down the bad-guy whilst quite clearly going off the rails, shown visually with out of control stubble and questionable moral choices, an IPA preparing to mix with the stouts and not be spotted. And, you know, it kinda works, this really wouldn't be out of place in the stout line up and that meant that I really didn't mind that it was being had on a wet and warm day. It does what I wanted it to do being a beer with a meal on a day that really had no right being as warm as it was. At 5.4% it was going to be a bit of a big hitter and it did not disappoint, going up against some strong spice flavours and still managing to come out on top.
Enjoy this best when you're down on your luck, got a partner who is so close to retirement that they are counting down the days and you're about to go on your toughest assignment yet. Cultivate some stubble that looks mean and dirty, especially those of you that identify as female, and then wear plenty of denim and black leather so everyone knows you're a bad guy with a heart of gold. If you really want to ham it up, adopt a haunted expression, drink this alone in a darkened room with no other evidence that you live there flanked by a fridge that just had some mustard and a wrapper from a pizza takeaway in it. Put on a standard lamp, send a few texts to a woman whose asked you not to contact them and then leave the TV running on a loop with something political on it. Blow yourself away with this, leave a note, and then make sure you have more on order!