Category Archives: IPA’s

Sunday Road ‘Skinny Dip’ West Coast IPA

Rating:

“Skinny dipping = freedom. We’ve taken inspiration from this most basic of pleasures and jumped right into a different technique to fill you up with hoppy goodness. We’ve used a new technique in this West Coast IPA called DIP-hopping that adds an additional stage between the whirlpool and the conventional dry-hop addition. We’ve done this to keep myrcene levels low and let the best parts of hops shine through.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber with full transparency. It forms a finger of off white head which retains well. Brilliant cascading lace is left in its wake.

Aroma: Quite a hefty malt backbone to it…not surprised considering the depth of colour. Mostly sweet and a little toasty with dominant caramel, dark honey, buttery biscuits and toast. The hops cut through the malts beautifully too – sharp pine needle, mildly dank resins, tree sap, old herbs/vines, ruby grapefruit, orange peel and mixed tropical fruits. Getting a subtle candied accent to it as well. Keep it coming!

Flavour: It transitions well and the balance is spot on too. From the start to the finish there’s a constant tussle between the sweet and toasty malts (burnt caramel, toffee, honey on toast, biscuits) and the Pacific Northwest hops (pine, shallot, ruby grapefruit, citrus rind, slightly dank herbals and resins). Nice aggressive bitterness, some warmth and citric acidity to finish.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and smooth then dry and a little soapy in the swallow. Assertive bitterness, medium body, mild-moderate Co2. 7.2% ABV is bang on where it should be.

Overall: Sunday Road are fast becoming one of our go-to breweries for West Coast IPA’s. Blackwoods APA, 6 Foot & Offshore and now this. All of them are perfectly balanced and big on aroma and flavour. Really digging these guys at the moment.

Resin Brewing ‘Mavericks’ West Coast IPA

Rating:

“Our Mavericks West Coast IPA was named after California’s big bad break itself. This one is for the pros, and if you can’t surf it, at least you’ll be able to drink it. It’s an old-school dry West Coast IPA with a malty backbone and firm bitterness. Featuring Chinook, Columbus & Centennial hops to give notes of resin, pine and lemon rind.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Bright golden pour with almost 100% clarity. It forms a sturdy two finger head which persists. Healthy lace clinging to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: We were expecting a big smack in the face from the hops but we’re getting a lovely caramel malt sweetness instead. It’s proper old school in its hop profile which we love…lots of pine resin, candied lemon, orange peel, tangerine, subtle ruby grapefruit, light florals and herbals. The caramel sweetness not only balances out the hops but it plays a rather big role in the make up of the aroma.

Flavour: It’s been flipped nicely. That caramel malt sweetness takes a step back and let’s the hops take charge. It’s interesting though as the flavour profile of the hops is different to the aroma – we’re getting a lot more herbals and pithy rind alongside hints of boiled candy and pine resin. It really dries up late in the piece and finishes with an extremely bitter and acidic citrus which hangs on.

Mouthfeel: A little prickly, bitter and dry. Mild-medium body and carbonation. 6.5% ABV provides a bit of warmth.

Overall: Come to think of it we may have confused the “malt sweetness” character with a touch of diacetyl. It’s quite subtle though and doesn’t detract from the rest of the beer. The flavour profile lacks a bit of polish as well but in the end it’s not a bad drop.

Mr Banks ‘Sweet Axe Skills’ DDH Double IPA

Rating:

“This is an ultimate juice bomb & we think one of the very best DIPA’s we have brewed to date. With some of the Finest Air freighted hops – Nelson Sauvin, Rakau & Motueka straight outta Freestyle Hop Farms in NZ, this has all the juicy tropical vibes & a mouthfeel you could replace your Memory foam pillow with..”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Turbid pastel orange with soft sandy highlights. A thumb of finely beaded white foam emerges and holds together nicely. Healthy lace clings to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: This trio of Kiwi hops (Nelson Sauvin, Rakau and Motueka) provides a really green and resinous backdrop with tonnes of mixed fresh herbs, juicy tropical fruits like guava, pineapple, lychee and mango, green fruits like honeydew and kiwifruit, peach skins, tomato vines, orange juice and nectar/passionfruit. Somewhat hard to detect the malt profile but it appears pretty dry, oaty and cereal-driven.

Flavour: Incredibly smooth and juicy. Still getting the super green, piney and resinous overtones but the sweet and sticky tropical fruits (pineapple, mango, orange and passionfruit) have been given a bit of a boost. Definitely tasting more of the creamy oats here. A hint of peppery spice and a cheeky little addition of dried apricot setting up for the sweet, tropical and herbaceous finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth AF! It almost has a nitro feel to it. Really coats the whole palate. Medium body. The 8.3% ABV… almost totally hidden.

Overall: Mr Banks, in our opinion, would most likely be the brewery to take on MC for the title. This is a very solid hazy, probably the best crack at the style they’ve ever released. Still a ways to go to take the number 1 spot though!

Alvarado Street ‘Vengeful Barbarian’ Hazy IPA

Rating:

“A staple hazy IPA brewed with the “holy trinity” of hops – Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic. Double Dry Hopped for maximum juice, heaps of oats & wheat for a soft, pillowy texture on the palate. Fermented with an expressive yeast strain that pumps out stone fruit flavors which complement the tropical hop oil contribution.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Turbid pastel yellow with a fluffy white head which swells to about two fingers and maintains its shape. Thick, soapy lace clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Real fruit salad happening here. The citrus is popping and there’s also heady notes of soft fleshy stonefruit i.e paw paw, rockmelon and mango. Some piney and resinous notes poking through here and there, sweet and sugary pineapple and mixed tropical fruits are nicely integrated. Subtle notes of herbal spice, mixed berries, light florals and a dry, creamy oat profile.

Flavour: Follows the nose with a huge display of fruits ranging from slightly pithy grapefruit, lime and tangerine to ripe stonefruits, tropical fruit and mixed berries. Well defined notes of pine/resins and herbal spice also getting amongst it. Picking up the dry malt midway…mostly oats and wheat grains which make way for a sweet fruity finish with a lingering dry bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Quite a green and prickly bitterness but the oats certainly help taper it off. Dry chalky texture, finely carbed, medium body. The 7.2% ABV is reasonably well behaved.

Overall: From memory our last crack at ASB was the “Amigos” IPA which had a few blemishes and although this Hazy shows a touch of West Coast aggression it’s a very well structured IPA. Tonnes of hop character, nice dry oat-driven malts and most importantly it’s got pizzazz. Solid drop.

Resin Brewing ‘Space Cowboy’ Double Oat Cream DIPA

Rating:

“Double Oat Dream IPA 500ml.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Pretty turbid pastel orange with a finger of loosely packed foam atop. It slowly deconstructs and leaves a patchy lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Wow this smells the real deal. Kinda dank and displaying a tonne of fleshy stonefruit sweetness and peppery spice. It also has that dry chalky aroma which we love in NEIPA’s. Fairly tangy and super juicy citrus notes, a very subtle smokiness, toasted coconut and sappy pine resins also getting amongst it. Big creamy and chewy malt profile. Hot damn! This is really shaping up.

Flavour: Not as well polished as the aroma but it’s still very respectable. Slight bitterness upfront making way for the overripe stonefruits, dank herbals and peppery spice. Hints of frosty fruits and brekky juice through the mid with a soft boozy warmth kicking up. Pine resins and pithy citrus/rind developing late and setting up the dry, acidic and warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Kinda creamy, dry and chalky. Rather muscly for a NEIPA we must admit. Finely carbed. The 7% ABV could have been hidden a bit better but we ain’t complaining.

Overall: Very impressive stuff from our somewhat local mob here. Good enough to mix it with the likes of Deeds, Banks, Hop Nation etc but still light years away from the top dog…MC. Solid drop though they should be chuffed with this.

Revel X BiG Shed ‘Neo Mexicanus’ Black IPA

Rating:

“Teaming up with our friends from South Australia – Big Shed Brewing, we bring you this Neo-Mexicanus hopped Black IPA.  Neo-Mexicanus hops are described as wild and rebellious, and are native to the mountains of New Mexico. Providing unique flavours in the beer including tropical fruit, coconut, tobacco, and ‘purple’.  The triangle represents our synaesthesia of bringing the flavours of these three hops together, in perfect harmony, to create this unique and tasty beer!  Black IPA with rad hops – badass!”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Dark cola pour with a tan head which swells to about two fingers before slowly retracting. Nice wavy lace clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Packing a good punch and with a few subtle points of difference…surely due to the New Mexican (by the way we mean the US state New Mexico not the country) hop variety aptly named ‘Neo Mexicanus’. All the fan favorites are here in abundance; coffee, chocolate, burnt toffee, pine, oily citrus and resin but the Neo Mexicanus hops add a very delicate addition of tropical fruit and coconut flesh to the mix. Diggin it.

Flavour: Nods all round at the moment. Kicks off with a short and sharp cameo of piney hops, coffee and tobacco then it’s straight into the burnt and ashy roasted malts. It’s immediately countered by an acidic line of pithy bitterness before it finishes on a rather dry and bitter note but with vigorous coffee and roasted qualities going the distance on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Kind of soft and oily with an assertive bitterness developing in the swallow. Medium body, low-ish Co2. The 6.5% ABV is nicely poised.

Overall: Reviewing this one was a no-brainer really. On one hand we’ve got the masters from SA and on the other the up and comers from Qld. We’ve really been liking what Revel have been doing lately and this solid black IPA is another feather in the hat for them. Kudos.

Bridge Road ‘NEeD #4’ Tangerine West Coast IPA

Rating:

“The fourth beer in our new bi-monthly IPA series is a nod to the old school, with a Bridge Road (citrus) twist. A luminous copper colour in the glass, the aromas are big, zesty and resinous.  A bright, fresh, tangerine tang on the palate, makes way for a firm, lingering bitterness and a hint of malt sweetness on the finish. Vol.4 is a blissful reminder, that you need NEeD.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Pouring a deep bold amber with full transparency. It forms a sturdy two and a bit finger head which maintains nicely. Excellent lace work left on the glass.

Aroma: Wow the tangerine is really evident. To the point where it even starts give off heady Jaffa notes…and furthermore how do they get the chocolate aroma out of it? That’s remarkable. As we delve deeper we get more nuanced orange citrus and candied fruits, peppery spice, lemongrass, pine/spruce, green mango and fresh oregano. Quite a hefty sweet malt structure at the base. Solid!

Flavour: Packs a nice old West Coast punch to the palate. Again the tangerine features heavily upfront then blends nicely into the kinda pithy, herbaceous and piney middle. All the while the sweet Caramalts provide a subtle yet crucial counterbalance in the background. The strident hop bitterness grabs the back of the throat as it sets up for a rather dry, bitter and aggressive finish.

Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth yet grippy with more than enough to chew on. That IBU really kicking in late. Medium body and Co2. The 7% ABV arks up here and there.

Overall: Doesn’t come close to ‘NEED #2’ but we’d have to rate it higher than both hazy releases (#1 and #3). Pretty tight all round it just doesn’t have the polish on it to make it superb.

Bojak Brewing ‘All On Red’ Red IPA

Rating:

“This medium bodied Red IPA with a decent bitterness. Caramel, toffee & rich roasted flavours combined with aromas of pine & citrus from Chinook, Amarillo & Mosaic hops are a perfect combo.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Super deep amber with copper highlights. It forms two fingers of finely beaded foam which retains well. Excellent lace work left on the glass.

Aroma: Massive sweet malt presence – oodles of toffee and caramel, butterscotch and crystallised sugars but as any good Red IPA should, the hop profile immediately cuts through the sweetness with its sharp notes of ruby grapefruit, blood orange, pine, stewed fruits and weedy/sappy resins. Getting some spicy-ness from it too. Smelling the goods thus far!

Flavour: It’s been flipped really well. Upfront it kicks off with an assertive hop bitterness then shifts right into the pithy and citric grapefruit and rind, resinous pine and weedy herbals. The malts are never far behind though, swiftly counteracting with toffee, caramel and butterscotch. This tussle reaches well into the sweet yet rather aggressively bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Gelatinous, slightly chewy and well rounded with a sturdy bitterness post swallow. Medium body and Co2. The 6.4% ABV comes in and out.

Overall: This one came recommended and we must say we can see why. It’s our first crack at this Victorian brewery and they’ve kicked it off in style. Nicely balanced, full flavoured and with a bit of grunt which we like. Solid drop.

Garage Project ‘Talk To The Hand’ Cold IPA

“New Zealand Sign Language – now you’ve got a beer in your hand there’s no better time to learn. Start with the alphabet. Check out some of the online resources and apps that can help build your vocabulary. You could even see if there are any classes near you. Who knows where it might lead? It can all start with this can of beer. Let your hands do the talking. Talk to the Hand 2021, a new wave ‘Cold IPA”, brewed with pilsner malt and maize and fermented with lager yeast, creating the perfect clean, dry malt base to accentuate a fruit forward explosion of Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Strata hops.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Clear golden pour with a fluffy three finger head resting atop. It slowly recedes and leaves an absolute mess on the glass.

Aroma: This is such a fascinating new style. Although it’s nothing new, the humble old India Pale Lager has been rebranded and is enjoying its time in the limelight for once (under a different acronym, of course). Boasting huge fruit aromas – mostly citrus and unripened tropical fruits – but we’re also detecting hints of pine needle, fresh herbs, evergreen and nuanced resins over an uber clean and grainy Pilsner malt base. Tidy!

Flavour: Really crisp and clean fruit overtones upfront. Ripe yellow grapefruit and lemon/lime, unripened pineapple and green mango. We’re picking up what tastes like agave and it almost has a slight smokiness to it which is really unique. Pine, fresh herbs like coriander and parsley also getting amongst it. Grainy malt and pithy rind tailing in late and leading to a nice crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Crisp (feels like we’ve used that word 1000 times), snappy but enough body to hold it up. Perfectly carbed, mild-medium body. 7.2% ABV is incredibly well concealed.

Overall: Another impressive interpretation of this new emerging style. Crisp, refreshing and a little bit fuller and more complex than others we’ve tried to date. Should expect no less from GP!

Seven Mile Experimental Hazy IPA – Mosaic

Rating:

“A Hazy IPA made with our favourite hop Mosaic, plus a new kid on the block Hort 4337. This experimental hop has great tropical fruit notes which compliment the dank berry deliciousness of Mosaic.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Almost clear deep golden pour with a big three finger head which retains. It leaves a smattering of lace as we go. Once again we’re left lamenting the lack of haze in a so called hazy IPA!

Aroma: We sound like a broken record but Mosaic hops have to be one of the best hops ever cultivated. The amount of diversity and vigour from this one hop is amazing…it’s throwing out tonnes of tropical fruit like mango, pineapple, passionfruit and peach and equal to the task are the oily and resinous notes of pine, weedy herbals and mixed citrus. Kinda nice and subtle semi sweet malt bill filling it out.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose and displays a big fruity profile…the tropical fruits aren’t as dominant as we’re tasting more of the mixed citrus, stonefruits and resinous pine. Slowly but surely the weedy herbals are introduced and so is the mild caramel sweetness, wheat grains and oats. Nicely balanced and generally smooth finish with good duration.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, well aerated. Mild dryness in the swallow. Medium body and Co2. The 6.4% ABV is pretty inconspicuous.

Overall: Didn’t love it but didn’t hate it. The lack of haze is always one thing that gets under our skin but the rest of the beer wasn’t too bad. Mosaic hops are the real winner here.

Revel DDH Hazy IPA

Rating:

“With the deep golden hue of a hazy sunset this gloriously juicy, smooth, & lucious beer is our take on the Hazy IPA. It’s double dry-hopped with Strata, El dorado & Idaho 7 for the citrus & tropical juice flavour associated with this style.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Almost 100% clear deep golden pour with a fluffy two finger head. Good retention and lacing as it ebbs. It really gets under our skin when breweries call their beers “Hazy” then they pour like a West Coast IPA.

Aroma: Smells pretty damn good but. There’s a pleasant mix of slightly pithy citrus, sweet tropical fruits, fleshy stonefruit and nectar (passionfruit, peach etc). We’re also detecting heady notes of pine resin, weed/herbals, gummi bears and dried leaves. Not really picking up the typical hazy or juicy aromas from it though. Basically smells like a decent run of the mill IPA.

Flavour: Nice progression happening. It kicks off with resinous pine, slightly dank weedy herbals and a nice line of pithy citrus developing early in the mid. It keeps pretty green and herbaceous with a hint of unripened stonefruit creeping in late. It finishes pretty dry and citric with a bit of a mild booze burn in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, dry, a little prickly in the swallow. Good body to it. Medium Co2. 6.5% ABV shows through a smidge.

Overall: Look, at the end of the day it’s a reasonably good IPA. We just hate it when breweries call IPA’s hazy only to find out they’re not hazy at all. This is the perfect example of a “no coast IPA” to us. Still, it’s a decent beer at its core.

Sunday Road ‘Vacation Rental’ Cold IPA

Rating:

What’s a Cold IPA you ask? Think of it as a beer with a very light malt base that is a canvas for hops. Cold IPA hits with a strong punch of aromatic hop intensity and decent bitterness but finishes crisp and clean that will have you craving another sip. A Lager yeast is used that is low in ester and Sulfur that’s fermented warmer than traditionally would be, yet cooler than an Ale yeast is. We’ve doubled down on the Cold and used only Cryo hops in the “HopBurst” style. Double dry hopped using Cryo Ekuanot, Sabro and Amarillo.  Embrace the cold, we’re sure you’ll love the reward.

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: 100% clear golden complexion with nice Co2 activity. It holds a sturdy two and a half finger head which weaves a healthy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Super clean and crisp with a tonne of fruit and oily pine resin from the Cryo Ekuanot. We’re really digging this new practice of using Cryo hops as it brings a certain sharp, intense and clean herbal note. With this particular hop it’s offering a kinda leafy/eucalyptus-like quality. Milder hints of green capsicum, lime, orange peel, cedar and tree sap to bring it home.

Flavour: Wow that is just so damn smashable…and at 6.8% ABV it really shouldn’t be! Similar to the aroma where it’s throwing out a tonne of oily hop and pine resin, weedy herbals, zesty lime and unripened tropical fruits. There’s a really light and grainy malt bill which further amplifies the clean and slightly herbaceous finish.

Mouthfeel: Ultra crisp and clean, mild-moderate body. Co2 is perfectly positioned and the 6.8% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: Top drop. Will the style take off? Who knows. India Pale Lager’s – which in our opinion are the closest style to a cold IPA – have never really taken off but that could simply come down to the dirty “L” word. Considering this has the “IPA” acronym in it could be the defining difference. We’ll see.

Jervis Bay ’15 Fathoms’ Black IPA

Rating:

“Inspired by the deepest darkest depths of Jervis Bay, our 15 Fathoms Black IPA may be dark to the eye, but never the tastebuds. For the darkest part of the sea is often where the treasure lies. Surprisingly drinkable with a dry finish, the 15 Fathoms is our most bitter brew with a hint of citrus and mango. A refreshing bounty waiting to be discovered.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Solid black with some cola hues at the foot of the glass. It notches up a frothy tan which slowly deconstructs. Laced reasonably well as we go.

Aroma: The bones of it are good. We’re taking in the hearty roasted malts and the piney and citrusy hops which counteract nicely but it just seems to be lacking vigour. We want black IPA’s to act like Stouts with a 50/50 mix of West Coast IPA…charred malts and aggressive hops. With this we’re getting a little bit of that but it’s just too quiet and shy.

Flavour: A little bit better but it’s still too pedestrian in our opinion. The mildly roasted malts and somewhat clean piney hops are here but they’re lacking that oomph we come to expect from the style. Instead of counteracting each other it seems to be getting a little muddled. But the upside is it finishes with a nice bitey bitterness and a gentle roast which endures well enough.

Mouthfeel: It’s held up pretty well by a slightly chewy texture. Good Co2 and a medium body. The 6% ABV adds a bit of much needed attitude too.

Overall: As much as we love what these guys are doing this one didn’t do it for us. As we’ve mentioned a few times it’s just a tad too weak and insipid and that’s the opposite of what black IPA’s are about.

Slipstream ‘Maximum G-Force’ Imperial IPA

Rating:

“What if our G-Force IPA was revved up even higher? Brace yourself for maximum flavour because we’ve amped up the citrus and rocketed to imperial strength.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Bold amber with flat carbonation. In saying that it still manages a frothy two and a half finger head which gradually deconstructs. Healthy lace sticks as it ebbs.

Aroma: One doesn’t need to be a genius to know this is certifiably 100% West Coast and it’s instantly confirmed once we get a nose full of crispy pine-driven, caramel malt-laden and slightly in your face natured wafts. As we’d expect there’s a citrus presence i.e grapefruit, tangerine, orange peel. Picking up some not so favourable scents though…washing powder and a slightly cloying sweetness which is a shame.

Flavour: The first thing that needs mentioning is the remarkably well hidden booze and to be able to do that with it weighing in at 9% ABV demands respect. But, and we always hate the but, the slightly cloying boiled candy flavours we get from all the bottom shelf IPA’s come through. Some pine and orange citrus here and there, semi sweet caramel malts, cedar and zesty rind into a smooth and well rounded finish.

Mouthfeel: Kinda sticky, a little dry and prickly but nicely tempered. A tad on the flat side, mild-medium body. As we’ve mentioned the 9% ABV is ridiculously well hidden.

Overall: Not sold. It started alright but once we broke it down it revealed a lot of weaknesses. This is our 2nd crack at Slipstream now and both of them have been rather average.

Bracket Brewing ‘Progress’ Hazy IPA

Rating:

“We’re a deliberately small, family run brewery in the heart of Alexandria. No big investors. No sales contracts with Mr Murphy. No desire to outgrow our little brewery. This allows us to produce what we want to drink (and hopefully you too). An ever-changing array of well-crafted beers we’re proud to share.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Pours kinda golden orange with a mild haze. It forms an egg shaped three finger head which leaves an absolute mess on the glass.

Aroma: Two of our most favourite hops have combined in this IPA and they bring all their hallmark aromas with them; truck loads of tropical fruit like mango, pineapple, peach and passionfruit, fairly heady citrus notes, pine, delicate stonefruits, herbals, subtle resin and a touch of vines. Pretty dry and doughy malt profile with a hint of oats and wheat grains.

Flavour: Again, lots of tropical fruit, mixed citrus, stonefruits and a slightly dank and resinous pine/herbaceous character upfront. That really well rounded smoothness from the oats balancing it all out. Just a hint of pithy citrus and hop bitterness around the mid leading to a dry, herbal and kinda dank finish which endures nicely.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth, creamy, well aerated and fluffy. Gentle Co2 with mild-medium body. The 7.3% ABV also well buried.

Overall: Not a bad way to kick off proceedings. Bracket are one of the newer kids on the Inner West block and they’re also another outfit who’ve chosen to go a little further east of King St! Solid drop from a solid looking brewery.

Sunday Road ‘Cryotherapy’ Hazy IPA

Rating:

“Triple dry hopped using Cascade, Mosaic Cryo and Sabro hops. Treat your taste buds to mango, lime, passionfruit and tropical fruit aromas, combined with a luscious mouthfeel,  big hoppy flavours and low bitterness. CryoTherapy Hazy IPA is our new brew that will treat your taste buds to Cryogenic lupulin powder from whole hop flowers. It’s lively, juicy and pure deliciousness.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Super thick and turbid. Pastel orange centre working out to lighter orange edges. It builds a frothy two and a bit finger head that retains well and weaves a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Displaying heady nectar-filled overtones. Loads of passionfruit, pine resin, tree sap, cannabis, tropical fruits like freshly cut mango, pineapple and lychee. We can detect that cryogenic lupulin powder with ease…it offers this potent mix of resin, herbs and what we can best describe as pure hop oil. Kind of a creamy/oaty and biscuity malt profile to it. We’re certainly picking up what they’re putting down!

Flavour: Big punchy hop flavours upfront led by the oily and resinous Cryo hops – sappy pine, cannabis and zesty citrus with the sweeter tropical fruits (passionfruit, mango, papaya, lychee) playing 2nd fiddle. Hints of rolled oats and semi sweet biscuit malts provide a smooth and savoury note which rounds it all out nicely. Pretty good length on it too.

Mouthfeel: creamy AF with a nice silky consistency. Medium body and finely carbed. The 6.1% ABV is perfectly positioned.

Overall: Another well polished offering from the SR crew here. The resinous Cryo hops really shine while the hazy side of things kept it incredibly smooth and creamy. We can definitely see ourselves returning for a few more.

Bridge Road ‘B2 Bomber – Mach 11’ Black Belgian Double IPA

Rating:

“In 2021, we celebrate our 16th year as a brewery. To mark the milestone, we’ve brewed this beauty: The 11th edition of our annual birthday beer, the fabled B2 Bomber. This year’s incarnation, brings the unmistakable combination of complex dark malts, fruity Belgian yeast characters and big punchy hops. What do we call it? A Black Belgian Double IPA. Weighing in at 9.3%, Mach 11, artfully balances these complex elements and makes for another memorable beer to celebrate a rather memorable year.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Glossy black with a tightly held three finger head which holds its shape. Excellent lacing as it subsides. Well our Co2 concerns may be quickly put to bed already.

Aroma: It appears they’ve dealt with their Co2 issues that have been plaguing this release for the last couple of years and are back to their best. We’re taking in a beautifully balanced hop to malt ratio; big piney, citrus and herbaceous notes slicing through the rich and hearty roasted malts. Then there’s the semi sweet and candy-esque yeast profile throwing out oodles of musk, bubblegum and spice. Supoib!

Flavour: And it follows through! Intense roasted malts immediately battle it out with the piney and citrusy hops. Then there’s the sweet and spicy yeast playing almost a mediator role. Ferocious roasty-ness, big and dry hop bitterness, Candi sugars and spicy notes flowing through and then punctuated by a perfectly balanced finish with incredible duration.

Mouthfeel: Nice and dense but also rather creamy and a little dry in the swallow. Just a hint of warmth from the 9.3% ABV. But the big one…. perfectly carbonated.

Overall: As far as annual limited releases go this is one we literally hold out for. As most of us know BR had some bad Co2 issues with Mach 9 and 10 so we’re stoked to see that they’ve overcome it and come back bigger and better from it. Top notch stuff.

Garage Project X Monkish ‘Escape From L.A’ Hazy Double IPA

Rating:

“LA wunderkinds, Monkish, offer up a masterclass in the kind of luscious IPA that has helped to make them famous. There’s more than a little West Coast swagger to this East Coast hazy, with Golden Promise malt, three types of oats and a massive double dose of Galaxy, Citra, Strata and Freestyle Rakau hops.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Oh so turbid. It’s got that lovely blend of pastel yellow and orange with a fluffy two finger head which slowly reduces and leaves a wet lace on the glass.

Aroma: Proper fruit salad happening here. Picking up a heady scent of nectar initially then followed by a good dose of sweet stonefruits like apricot, papaya and peach. Some tropicals like mango and passionfruit, soft peppery citrus, coconut, chalky oats, vines, some weedy/dank herbals and a touch of pine. Nice and dry malt profile; bready, oaty and crusty. Very impressive.

Flavour: Instantly we can tell a world class American brewery has had a big hand in this. The intensity but overall balance that is struck is phenomenal. It comes on with this soft pillowy juicy-ness which fans out to that fruit salad character we were talking about in the aroma. There’s a nice bitterness midway which is softened by the fruity and oat-driven finish. Excellent length too.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, pillowy and really well rounded. Just the right amount of bitterness to cut through it. Finely carbonated, medium body. 8% ABV is fairly well concealed.

Overall: For one of us Hopheads Monkish is an all time fave. Not only are their NEIPA’s some of the best in the world but their sours and dark beers are also top notch. Excellent NEIPA here…it’s creamy, fruity and perfectly balanced with a bit of bite. Cracking drop.

Bridge Road ‘NEeD #3’ Hazy IPA

Rating:

“The third beer in our new bi-monthly IPA series is a nod to the haze craze, with a Bridge Road twist. Pouring with a milky, golden glow in your glass, There’s huge aromas: Of stone fruit from the Idaho-7, some big floral notes courtesy of Loral and mega citrus feels courtesy of modern classic, Citra. The mouthfeel is soft and the finish is long and medium dry. Another winner from this series.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Hazy pastel yellow pour with a sturdy three finger head perched on top. Excellent retention and healthy lacing down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: It seems Idaho-7 is the latest hop craze. It has been used as a feature hop in numerous beers from the likes of Mr Banks, Pirate Life, Dainton and Blackman’s just to name a few. We’re getting orange citrus straight off the bat; mandarin, tangerine and zesty rind alongside yellow grapefruit, pine, spicy herbals, mild tropical fruits and florals. Quite a bready/doughy malt structure offering hints of white bread and oats. Solid.

Flavour: It comes on with a very unexpected West Coast style aggression. Pithy rind and yellow grapefruit couples up with sharp pine needle and a touch of mandarin which is kicked on by a fairly abrasive hop bitterness that hits hard at first, softens then slowly ascends again. Tasting a subtle touch of bready malt before the pithy citrus, pine and rind finish it all off.

Mouthfeel: Extremely bitter, dry and a little acrid. The 6.5% ABV only adds more bite to an already coarse texture. Medium body, mild-moderate Co2.

Overall: We’re struggling to grasp the concept of this beer. We’re totally open to new variants of IPA but labelling it a hazy and then delivering a charged up West Coast IPA is well… confusing. Maybe it’s a new thing?! Don’t know, we’re not totally sold on it if it is though.

Hargreaves Hill ‘Pursuit Of Hoppiness #9’ Single Hop IPA

Rating:

“Number #9 is an Oat Cream IPA featuring one of our favourite hops Mosaic; used generously throughout the brewing process from the kettle to the tank. It creates a wonderfully complex beer with a rich, smooth and creamy mouthfeel to compliment a truly unique hop.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Light pastel yellow with a fairly mild haze. It forms a finger of fizzy head which gradually peels off and drags a wet lace down the glass.

Aroma: If there was ever a perfect hop for a single hop IPA it would be Mosaic…the amount of character that can be drawn out of this wonder-hop is incredible. We’re picking up oodles of tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple, passionfruit, candied lemon, unripened peach and guava. Lots of pine and citrus, fresh herbs and vanilla/lactose. Creamy oats and bread crusts filling it all out.

Flavour: Not as creamy and sweet as most other Oat Cream IPA’s we’ve had but the Mosaic hops offer a wonderful array of tropical fruit, pine and mixed herbs. Struggling to find anything that points to the “Oat Cream” side of things. Ok there’s a very subtle hint of vanilla and oats but that’s about it. Quite crisp and citrusy midway then finishes fruity and a touch dry.

Mouthfeel: Nicely aerated, a little dry and chalky. Mild-medium body. Nice vibrant Co2.

Overall: After #8 (Imperial Red IPA) we were quietly hoping they’d keep with that trajectory and go for a black IPA or something a little different for the 9th instalment. This Single Hop Oat Cream IPA was a bit of a let down to be honest…we want to see more variety in this series!