Wednesday, March 09, 2011

BrewDog IPA Is Dead


I missed the launch of these little gems a few weeks back, but luckily the lads at BeerRitz swung to the rescue and ensured I had a tasty fourpack hidden away - like they always do, to be honest. So, Saturday's decorating was offset by the fact that I knew I had the beers slightly chillingin the fridge, and let me tell you that it's a comforting thought. So - onwards and upwards. The proof is in the tasting, however, so a pizza was duly ordered, glasses shined and the beers cracked.
First up - Citra. Well, the name says it all really. Citra's making appearances a lot recently, and with Kernel's Citra IPA still remaining the high water mark for me, BrewDog's effort gave a little more Tangerine/Orange edge on the usual Lemon/Lime profile. Simple, yet effective, Citra seems made for IPA's, and I'm sure we haven't seen the last of it.
Nelson Sauvin is probably one of my favourite hops - it's the goodness behind many, many great beers - so again, I sort of knew what to expect. There's the familiar Grapefruit and slight hint of cattiness, rounded off with more Lime pith. You can't go far wrong with it in pale beers, and this one disappeared way quicker than is healthy.

The ace in the pack is Sorachi Ace (pun entirely intended). I'd actually tried this on keg at Foley's during the week, and was left scratching my head. People offered their opinions on what it tasted and smelt of; anywhere between Thai Green Curry to Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum to Green Tea seemed to be the consensus. Having it in front of me at home gave me more time to deal with this arcane hop. I will tie my colours to the mast with this: sticky pine Resin and Mint. Together. With a bit of Strawberry sweetness on top. There's an amazing herbal note that makes the hop massively clean and fresh, but not in a bad way. It's an odd hop, without doubt,and I'd probably need a few more of these before entirely making up my mind about it. I'd say if you pick up one beer from this range, make it this one, just for shits and giggles.


Finally, onto my favourite - Bramling X (or Cross, whatever you like). Some may think it's an odd choice for an IPA but I loved this; a deep, woody Blackberry aroma and full-bodied taste that made it as individual as the Sorachi Ace IPA but in an entirely different way. I could drink this all day, and it's the one I've craved the most since finishing it off. All the beers were obviously sweet enough to balance the hops, but I was quite surprised at how different the Hops made the base beer. The Citra and Nelson Sauvin seemed much drier than the BX or Sorachi - when in reality they probably weren't.

Judging from comments on my previous post, IPAID seemed to have divided people ; or at least generate discussion. One of the biggest themes was lack of originality - Single Hopped beers are actually 'Old Hat' and nothing special. Well, yes, I agree. We know BD are great at marketing, but I don't think wool has been pulled over anyone's eyes at all. These are simply four very good, interesting IPA's with great balance that drink nowhere near their 7.5% abv. That's it. That really is it.

In fact - the main thing I enjoyed about these was the point I alluded at the start of the post - the four pack is a tasting platter in your own home - even if you miss the beers on cask. The cheeky foursome, hanging around menacingly in the fridge like day-glo clad Chavs on a street corner - beg to be shared and compared. I hope they stick around.
For a different slant on tasting this range, check out Ghostie's truly blind tasting. Cracking stuff.

9 comments:

Richard said...

Sorachi Ace can only come from Japan - it's one crazy hop, isn't it? We tasted them for a podcast and the others all drank to their par, but the Sorachi tasted to me like lemon cheesecake mixed with plastic. We also had butter popcorn and lion pee mentioned (that from someone who used to work in a zoo)...

Ghost Drinker said...

Cheers Leigh. I did tell myself as well, whilst drinking the citra and bramling cross; "I really could drink these all day!" Did you have them all in one sitting? It's a bit of a feat to be honest!

Leigh said...

Ghostie; nah! 2 on sat evening/night and two on Sunday. Planned to have one per day but couldn't help myself! Richard; lion piss?!?! Now ive heard it all!!!

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Our regular IPA, Union Dew (on cask), is mostly Sorachi Ace with a little Glacier and E.K. Goldings. I've always had a hard time describing it to customers until someone mentioned dill a couple of months ago. Now that's a large part of what I taste (as I draw myself out a pint).

John Clarke said...

I have tried two of these so far (on tap at Manchester's Port Street Beer House). The Sorachi Ace I found oddly appealing (I think that it is a hop that usually needs another for company) but the Citra was far too over the top (still can't believe I'm typing those words). It was just an unsubtle old bruiser (perhaps that was the point). To my mind others have made a far better job with this hop - still Brew Dog do have a habit of brewing to make a point rather than brewing to make a beer you can actually enjoy.

Neil, Eating Isnt Cheating said...

great write up mate!

I loved the Citra, nelson and bramling x in that order. But didnt really like the Socahi ace on the night i tried em at North Bar. Checout my write up if you get a minute. Wish i'd got some bottles so i could compare.

I had the sorachi on a seperate occasion in mr foleys and didnt mind it. Reminds me a lot of a whiskey marmalade my uncle makes, once my brain made that connection i seemed to like it!

Leigh said...

Brewers Union - Dill? I can actually see where your'e coming from with that one. Neil - Whiskey Marmalade sounds very interesting indeed! John - always good to hear from you - PErsonally I preferred the Kernel Citra IPA but I do agree - although not a complicated hop in terms of taste it is one easily overdone. Some people equate 'more is more' when it comes to Hops perhaps....?

John Clarke said...

Hi Leigh - indeed. I think it was Good Bere Guide Belgium author Tim Webb who drew the distinction between a well hopped beer and an over hopped beer. At the time it was a point that immediately struck home with me but it is one that is I think sometimes lost on some brewers and beer fans (although in making this point I do of course realise that I run the risk of being labelled "old CAMRA" attempting to rein brewers in...)

Leigh said...

Ooh, you're riding that line, John, riding that line!! ;). Balance *always* needs to be present in truly great beers. I'm all for extremes, but for me, those beers come and go.