Category Archives: IPA’s

Moon Dog Craft Brewery JTS 2017 Sextuple-Hopped Freeze Concentrated IPA


23755784_775986625918818_6185605015129242311_n“Our annual release of Jumping the Shark is always super exciting here at Moon Dog! It’s our opportunity to make the biggest, most bad-ass, delicious beer we can think of. We jam in as much flavour as possible to create something really ridiculously special. This year we used more hops than you can shake a bine at! 20 varieties of hops from around to world added at 6 different points of the brewing process. This is a sweet, hoppy, boozy, resinous balltearer!!!!!”

 Served in an IPA glass. It pours a burnt orange colour with a massive four finger crown. The head slowly reduced and settles to a thick overlay which weaves a healthy lace down the walls of the glass.
The nose is extremely sweet. Very fruit forward but not in the way of freshly cut fruit, it’s more like a blend of fermented stonefruits mango, paw paw and rockmelon. Lots of similarities to a boozy fruit cocktail. Plenty of pithy and slightly acidic pineapple juice, guava, blood orange, lychee, toffee apple and subtle hints of fennel. The malt is sticky, chewy and caramel based. Very unique… Moon Dog!
The flavour is much of the same. Big emphasis on the sticky and sweet fermented fruits along with an almighty kick from the 14.4% ABV. What’s good is it doesn’t overpower, allowing a bit of that hoppy bitterness to creep through the middle. Getting a kind of burnt orange note developing late as it all flows in to a sharp, bitter and boozy finish with good duration in the tail.
The mouth feel, although astringent and warm, is incredibly well tempered for a beer of its size. Chewy, sticky texture. Mild co2 and medium in weight.
Our only gripe with this beer? The green bottle! WTF?! Why do they leave the beer exposed to bring light struck? Any who, Moon Dog as they consistently do, have provided us all with another whacky and wonderful offering as part of their Jumping The Shark series. Not as good as previous releases but still a beer to savour….or even age if you possess the patience.

Ocho Beer ‘Deciduous’ Rye IPA


23795341_775986209252193_110284849508308412_n“Brewed using fresh hops within 24 hours of being harvested from Bushy Park in Tasmania’s south. The Rye IPA base has a rich and toasty malt character, to which the generous hop additions add lifted apricot jam and Seville orange notes. The primary hop is HPA-035, an experimental variety with a spice & citrus character, as well as Ella, a variety which adds stonefruit and floral notes. We added fresh hops at a rate of 30 grams per litre at the end of the boil and allowed them to steep for about an hour before chilling and transferring to the fermenter. Adding the hops so late in the process means we preserve all their wonderful aromatics.”

Served in an IPA glass. Very attractive pour – offers a kind of burnt amber with a reddish copper hue. It constructs a thumb of finely beaded foam which hangs a sheet of lace down the sides of the glass. Looks magnificent!
The nose is brimming with rich and sweet caramel malt, mango, paw paw and peppery rye spices. There’s a good dose of toasty bread and dry spice but the focus really is on this ripe tropical fruit character. Underneath that…a hint of berries, blackcurrant and forest fruits. Lovely depth to the nose.
The flavour is quite intriguing. Starts off sweet with that spicy rye tailing right in behind. The interesting feature we get is an almost sharp juniper berry note along with pine, grapefruit, mixed citrus and a somewhat sappy/jammy sweetness. It finishes dry and mighty bitter with grapefruit and orange peel on the rear.
Moderately bodied and creamy for the most part. Quite an aggressive bitterness develops in the swallow.
We hadn’t heard of this Tassie brewery until we stumbled across them at one of our favourite bottle shops. Interesting name, certainly helps their cause once we link it to a couple of hilarious scenes in the movie Dodge ball. It stands on its own though, looks great, smells even better and it all follows through in flavour. Solid drop here.

Bentspoke Brewing Co ‘Crankshaft’ IPA


23316421_769852663198881_7769223260942911980_n“Crankshaft’s younger sister; Sprocket is a big and hoppy brew with raw, tropical fruit, sniffs and tastes. Sprocket features Mosaic lupulin powder, a new hop product that adds intense tropical fruit flavours, and then kicks in with further hops including Amarillo, Citra & Galaxy.”

Served in an IPA glass. Slightly hazy golden-yellow appearance with a healthy two finger crown nestled on top. Reduction is steady and weaves a patchy lace as it subsides.
The aroma is gorgeous – plenty of uplift from the sweet orange citrus, tangerine, marmalade and tang. Hints of grapefruit, a bit of pine, passion fruit, lychee and stonefruits. We get a crisp, crackery malt structure at the base. A lovely number thus far.
Extremely well balanced flavour profile with the lovely and bright citrus overtones blending with a semi sweet and slightly biscuity malt. Hints of passion fruit, ruby grapefruit, tangerine and citrus rind in support then subtle pine and more grapefruit bitterness in the nicely drawn out finish.
Super smooth mouth feel. Light, crisp and effortless in the swallow. 50 IBU and 7% ABV – both remarkably well concealed. Mild-moderate body.
Very well constructed IPA here folks. Full flavoured and gutsy yet so well tempered. It’s Bentspoke’s third release in the can but we know there is so much more firepower in that arsenal of theirs! We’ll just patiently hold out for their cluster series to be released. Until then, this is a superb IPA to put back.

Mayday Hills ‘Marmalade IPA’


imageThis beer is a collaboration between jim jam foods who make marmalade, and Mayday Hills – who are actually Bridge Rd Brewers but their farmhouse project. Great idea. Here, 100% Brettanomyces were fermented in the oak Foeder before being emptied onto fresh marmalade. Yum.

Poured into a shaker glass we see a cloudy burnt orange colour with tightly packed off -white 15mm head that doesn’t budge. Beautiful retention. Small carbonation seen rising and contributing to the overall aesthetics. Aroma is marmalade, fresh citrus hop, Brettanomyces yeast that reminds us of a Belgian, banana, pear, slight caramels and booze. Flavour is big and bold. Decent bitterness mixes with farmhouse/Belgian yeast that leaves a funk on the palate. Citrus hop and the fresh marmalade interweaves leaving a sweet malt hit, like candy sugars. Carbonation is low on the palate allowing for a decent gulp. Body is moderate. Good length of bitterness and slight booze. We note here 7.5% Alc vol and we certainly feel it but it’s not a major player here which is great. We note small irregular patches of lacing down the glass. As this beer warms a smoothness dominates, just leaving really Belgian like flavours, funk, citrus and a bit of booze. The marmalade jam slightly hides behind this which is a bit of a shame but overall it does its job. It’s definitely not a grapefruit sculpin-like jam hit though. Interesting brew and we like the creativity.

3 Ravens Juicy IPA


imageThis NEIPA features protein rich triticale and oats, fruity yeast and a cult lineup of postmodern hop varieties added judiciously for palate-coating breakfast juice vibes.

As the label says, it pours a hazy straw colour with plenty of small carbonation sizzling away. There is a thin head that fades quick leaving just hazy beer with a rim of white. Certainly smells fruity like tropical juice for breaky. Orange Citrus and sweet malts, some pine on the nose. First sip sings a different tune. More bitterness on the palate, more grapefruit and some lemon/lime, pine, alongside light cereal like malts/caramel. The bitterness has a nice lingering presence. Carbonation initially sizzles then dies off nicely. Body is medium and the denseness must be from oats and triticale. It’s thicker than you would imagine, almost velvety but not quite. The Alc vol here is 6% and very little is detected as the bitterness and the slight sizzle on the tonsils dominates. Midway through the glass, there is almost a film that develops on the gums that you find your tongue removing. Patchy lacing down the sides of the glass by now. As we round out the bottom of the glass, basically the same flavours dominate at the start. Grapefruit, pine, cereal malts, with milder spice notes and orange. Overall it’s pleasant and a nice drop. Nothing amazing but drinkable that’s for sure.

Lost Coast Brewery ‘Fogcutter’ Double IPA


22554752_762305143953633_7930084252613813275_n“Buckle up, buckaroo – you’re about to go on a wild, hoppy ride. The Fogcutter is our first true double IPA, and it’s quite the work of art. Yeah, it’s bitter, but it’s supposed to be. And the variety of malt flavors and aroma help balance it all out, as any good DIPA deserves. The bright, citrusy nose is born from the extra dry-hop from Cascade, Centennial, Crystal, Chinook, and Citra hops.”

Served in an IPA glass. It hits the glass with a hazy amber orange hue. It forms a thumb of white foam over the top which peels back to a thin sheet but still works a magnificent lace pattern down the sides of the glass.
The nose is super sweet, super fruity and floral with a strong showing of candied orange, sherbet, Cointreau, pine resins, passion fruit and tangerine. Some tropical notes in here too – lychee, pineapple and guava. Quite a firm herbal aspect in here too: tea leaf, grassy hop and maybe a hint of lemongrass. Nice range.
The flavour hits that American IPA note with pin point precision. Big grapefruit kick upfront followed up by a fusion of orange blossom, candy and pulp. Pine resins, white pepper, subtle caramel malt and a hefty hop bitterness is in support. Nice carry though the mid rolling in to an ultra dry finish with grassy notes, a pinch of spice and some warming alcohol in the tail.
Slick but ultimately dry and astringent in the mouth. The 80 IBU is well represented. Medium co2 with a discernible 8.7% ABV.
Gotta love a traditional American west coast IPA don’t you! This beer isn’t bringing anything new to the table, it just has the basics dialled in – big fruity aromas, bitterness, citrus, tonnes of hops and a bit of booze to seal the deal.

New England Brewing co ‘Minutemen’ IPA


imageMinutemen is a hazy NEIPA bursting with fresh squeezed hop goodness. You will get a thick hit of pineapple and orange juice thanks to a massive dry hopping of Citra and El Dorado hops. The finish is a smooth and creamy fruit punch.

Poured into a token Father’s Day goblet, we see a hazy dirty dishwater with an off white tightly packed creamy head with retains well leaving soapy residue on the glass. Can see plenty of CO2 bubbling away here. Initial aromas of juicy fruits like pineapple, orange, resiny pine, spice, and caramels. We could sniff this all day. First sip is interesting. It’s light bodied on the palate. Almost airy. The flavour profile is less than the nose, leaving a spice or tingle on the tongue and back palate. Nice and smooth though. Bitterness is restrained. Carbonation is low allowing for a decent mouthfeel. We get fruity flavours of citrus no doubt alongside caramel malts, resin, pine, doughy yeast but the overall package just glides down the gullet leaving you wanting another. We note an IBU of 50 and its impressive because it’s wrapped up nicely with the mid range malts and Alc vol of 6.5% which is almost imperceptible. Huge wall of lacing here on the glass. We note clumps of sediment on the bottom of the glass like glue. We are massive fans of IPAs and this is certainly a nice drop. Classic NEIPA style..fruity nose and restrained bitterness.

Knee Deep Brewing Co ‘Tahoe Deep’ Double IPA


22405409_757033954480752_7306163943081760209_n“Tahoe Deep is an 8.5% ABV Imperial IPA brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and CTZ hops. It’s golden/orange appearance produces fragrant floral, and juicy tropical fruit aromas that lead up to a resinous pine finish. A true West Coast-Style IIPA.”

Served in an IPA glass. She pours a reasonably clear golden orange with a thumb of creamy white foam taking shape on top. Head retention is good and the lacing is even better.
Oodles of west coast hop character on the nose – kind of reminds us of the IPA’s of old with its pithy and slightly acidic grapefruit, orange peel and tangerine. It also has a clean and fresh note to it…plenty of pine needle, light florals, fennel and grassy/herbal hops. The malt is delicate, dry, maybe a little earthy with a woody accent to it. Very well layered.
It hits the taste buds with a fair bit of vigour. A short and flavoursome burst of citrus fruits, pine and semi sweet malt is quickly eclipsed by a spiky line of booze (8.5%) and aggressive bitterness midway. Despite that it does bring a certain citric/grapefruit element to the table as it leads in to the sharp, piney and warming finish.
Quite full on and prickly in the mouth, definitely doesn’t try and hide the booze. Fairly moderate body and co2 with a feisty 66 IBU.
One of those in-your-face west coast IPA’s. Let’s be fair, it is a double IPA so it’s naturally going to be a bit of a palate wrecker but it could mellow out a little on the booze and bitterness….nevertheless it’s a good drop with truck loads of fresh hop flavour and aroma.

Founders Brewing ‘Doom’ Barrel Aged Imperial IPA


22228496_755785281272286_7685799719456239865_n“Doom may be impending but that doesn’t mean you have to fear it. A collision of worlds, the intense hop character of our imperial IPA mingles with the warm vanilla and oak notes imparted from time spent in our favorite bourbon barrels. Like all good things, Doom comes to those who wait.”

Served in an IPA glass. Slightly hazy amber hue with a steady stream of co2 rising up to retain the solid two finger head. Healthy lace work sticks to the glass as it ebbs.
The nose is very dank, very heady and boozy with a firm showing of bourbon from the months aged on bourbon barrels. In light of this though, we still pick up undertones of pine resin, woody oak, stewed citrus and grassy/herbal hops. Certainly can’t ignore the sticky and almost syrupy malt structure either. Good Lord this smells incredible.
Wow, the flavour hits the taste buds for six! Not on palate-wrecking level but bloody close to it. We get an overwhelming rush of burning alcohol and aggressive bitterness on entry. Some residual sugars and caramel malt sweetness hang around but never get the chance to make any real impact. Tasting woody oak and vanilla as it rolls in to a sharp and ultra bitter finish that offers piney and grassy hop notes on the rear.
The texture is quite sticky and dense but also extremely bitter and dry. Co2 is low and the 100 IBU ain’t afraid to show us.
Barrel aged IPA’s?! Now we’ve seen it all. It literally takes the preconceived idea of drinking them fresh and throws it out the window…..or in this case, in to a bourbon barrel. Definitely a slow quaffer and a pretty good one all the same.

Amager & Wicked Weed ‘Mandarina Man’ Tropical IPA


22141118_754645694719578_9010044871705654580_nThe description of this beer is simply way too long and strange to post but once we realised it was a collaboration brew with Wicked Weed it all started to make sense. It may possibly be that these two brewers had a bit of the wicked weed before coming up with the story? Who knows, any who on with this review.

Served in an IPA glass. Light golden yellow in appearance. Soft haze, mild co2 and a wispy head that eventually settles to a film. Lacing is wet and streaky as we go.
We’re a tad undecided with this aroma. It’s mild, citric and summery but it’s extremely one dimensional and lacking substance. We pick up plenty of mandarin, lemon, tangerine and some unripened mango. The malt backing is a little dry and bready but mostly shy and ineffective. Some piney notes here and there. Average.
It doesn’t get any better in flavour as an acidic and tart citrus flavour gets things started. It’s a bit like biting in to an unripened mandarin. Hints of orange peel, sour fruits, tangerine and dry bready malts roll in to the somewhat delicate and dry finish which actually offers some decent length.
A bit of a mineraly texture, mild-moderate co2 and body. The 7% ABV is well concealed. 45 IBU.
OK, be sure to check your pour! As we poured the remainder of the bottle there were some big floaties and a tonne of suspended sediment. Looks very unflattering. It’s lacking depth, it’s unattractive and offering little in aroma and flavour. Disappointing.

Amager & Trillium ‘Sigtebroad’ NEIPA


22045785_753004118217069_3614015923388914764_n “It appears that the word “sigte” – in English “to aim” – can be taken back to the Viking era, where a “Sigtebrød” would be baked very hard as a substitute for a traditional longbow in areas where wood was scarce or even absent. After the victorious battle the Viking could then toast their bread bow on a traditional Anglo Saxon toaster. Illustrations of this bread bow have been found in several places in Ireland and Scotland, but not until recently did the confused archaeologists realize, what exactly was going on. Several hundred years later, Danish settlers in Minnesota brought the old Viking bread with them, and it soon gained widespread popularity. Also the bakery girls of blonde, Danish descent selling the bread, became popular to an extreme degree, and local Minnesotans soon nicknamed them “sigte broads” for their good looks. In some areas the baker even had to arm his sigte broads with a traditional Danish long knife to dishearten the most intrusive young, male bread costumers. All very weird, but indeed very true.”

Served in an IPA glass. Pouring a cloudy orange with a loosely packed head which inflates to two fingers before retracting to a rocky overlay. We’re seeing a wet and spotty lace clinging to the glass as it ebbs.
Definitely a lot of orange citrus character emanating. Slightly tangy, slightly spicy and a little tropical as a hint of citronella comes through. We didn’t notice it initially but the dry and bready undertones offer a solid balance and a bit of depth. Lots of grapefruit, citrus rind, mango, pine and lychee too. Impressive.
The flavour comes on nicely – juicy, tropical and citrusy with a firm spicy rye/cereal malt at the base. Like the aroma we’re getting more of the doughy malt as it settles but the hop driven notes of pine, stonefruit, citrus and grassy hops set up for a dry and bitter finish with plenty of length in the back end.
Creamy texture, nice and full in the mouth and perfectly carbonated. Well concealed bitterness and alcohol (6.8%) too.
Amager have always been a busy brewery but this recent project of collaborations with popular up and coming American breweries is really cool…..and genius we might add. We don’t see much of these rare American breweries down under so keep it coming guys!

Sierra Nevada 2017 Edition ‘Hoptimum’ IIPA


21768105_751656441685170_491669836068992678_n“Our brewers selected the finest, most flavorful hops, pushed them beyond their limits and forged them into this all-new triple IPA. This reimagined Hoptimum is our hoppiest beer yet, providing a blend of tropical and citrus hop aroma that delivers a refined yet aggressive character.”

Served in an IPA glass. Amber to orange appearance with a healthy two finger crown forming on top. The head holds together superbly and weaves a nice thick lace down the sides of the glass.
We’re getting fistfuls of grassy, citric and piney hop character leading out. In support are heady notes of candied lemon, hop oils, aniseed, ripe grapefruit, dank pine resins and just a pinch of alcohol creeping through. It’s quite well balanced on this sweet and slightly syrupy/honeyed malt base. That’s a fine aroma right there.
It opens up with a rush of dank resinous pine, bitter citrus and a delicate honey malt sweetness on the flank. A fleeting hint of passion fruit before the warming booze ensues. From there it’s aggressive and bitter with grapefruit, citrus rind and grassy hops going the distance on the back palate.
The texture is thick and full bodied but it does get a nice lift from the vibrant co2. Aggressive bitterness (65 IBU) along with significant warmth from the booze (9.6%)
A very well constructed imperial IPA. And we say imperial as it’s clearly not a triple IPA when it’s weighing in at under 10% ABV. Semantics! We have to give credit where it’s due. This is a big, bitey and in-your-face American IPA that went down a treat on this hot spring day.

Six Strings ‘DOUBLE’ dark red IPA


image“With double the malt and triple the hops, this is the amped version of the red IPA. The use of caramel and chocolate give it the red colour. A resiny, citrus smell dominates from late hop additions. At 10% and 100IBU this IPA will have you seeing double!”

We love the red IPA so we are frothing over this. First crack of the can elicits that same hoppy aroma of the red IPA but way more booze. Pours a beautiful mahogany/Amber red with a creamy 15mm almost- tan head that sits like a cumulus cloud and doesn’t budge. Very very slowly recedes leaving a honeycombed lacing effect on the glass. Aroma of pine, resin, grapefruit, toffee, booze warmth, subtle chocolate sweetness. First sip is heaven. All of the above aromas but a booze undertone that doesn’t overpower yet warms the belly like a aged red wine. There is almost a barley wine thing going on here. We thinking dark fruits, prunes, port like etc. This is a solid beer. Full body here, like your eating it. It’s luscious on the tongue. Bitterness is amazingly subdued for 100 IBU. It just blends into the 10% Alc volume leaving a grapefruit like tartness on the back palate. This has definitely registered on the brain. Slight buzz going on. The resin, pine and toffee/caramel malts match so well and disguise the booze undertone also. We don’t get as much smoked flavour like we got from the original but it’s there in the background. So sticky on the lips this brew. The lacing down the glass backs this up. Relatively mild carbonation going on. Wow. This has to be up there with the champagne bottle series ‘1-3’ as being their best brew to date. We could easily do another but will likely pay for it. Oh well who cares, your only young once right? Exceptional drop. We hope this is not just a limited release and never re-appears. Better than the red IPA hands down. Hard to fault.

Deep Creek Brewing Co ‘Pontoon In A Monsoon’ IPA


21687822_750410075143140_158722469231749229_n“Those long 19th century trips from the British Isles to the East Indies were a tough old journey for the barrels of beer that were sent to quench the thirst of the troops. Smart thinking resulted in loading the brews with hops to act as a natural preservative… and the India Pale Ale (IPA) was born! We loaded our galleon with a boat load of pale crystal malt, plus Centennial and Cascade hops, to bring you a strong IPA with toffee orange flavours.”

Served in an IPA glass. Nice clear amber pour with a tightly held two finger crown perched on top. Retention is good and the lacing is thick and soapy as we imbibe.
Uber American on the nose – clean, piney, citric and fresh. Has this super clean Hop Hunter scent like they’ve used hop oils. Wave after wave of the good stuff – grapefruit, passion fruit, orange peel, pine needles, cannabis aniseed, candied lemon and some resinous characters to boot. A delicately dry and grainy malt structure holding it all together. Looking good.
Excellent continuation on to the palate. Fresh, crisp and piney with that grainy malt there at the base. Flashes of herbs and grassy hop flow through the mid and lead to a sharp and ultra bitter finish with lingering grapefruit and orange peel on the back palate.
The texture is dry and frothy with discernible alcohol (6.9% ABV) warmth and aggressive bitterness. Medium body.
Much better from DC! Don’t know what it was about the Lupulin Effect series but they have nothing on this. It hits those classic American IPA notes with precision. It’s crisp, piney, clean and aggressively hopped but there’s enough malt to contain it. Two thumbs up from us.

Deep Creek Brewing Co ‘Lupulin Effect’ Red IPA


21559119_749985445185603_2096519906645118333_n“Cannabis and hops are closely related. Both come from the Cannabinaceae family. They do share some physical traits, such as appearance and similar aromas. However, they differ on the chemical level. Both produce terpenes; cannabis terpenes are psychoactive where hops terpenes are purely for flavour, aroma and bitterness. Hops have been shown to help in relaxation, called the lupulin effect when consumed at moderate levels.”

Served in an IPA glass. We’re met with a reasonably clear amber hue that offers a soft copper tint. The creamy head swells to about a thumb before retracting to a thin sheet. Very healthy lace work following it down.
Smells fresh and very hoppy. Lots of luscious green leaves, pine, mango, paw paw, pineapple and a fair whack of booze. The malt profile is sweet, a little syrupy and caramelised. Getting this subtle scent of red peppers coming through too. Interesting touch. Not a bad aroma we must say.
Taste is following the nose. Seeing those hops just dominate the malts a bit. Getting a burst of citrus upfront but it’s certainly adjusted by the sweet caramel malts. The booze goes a little unchecked through the mid and gets intensified by a sharp citric bitterness which leads to a firm and warming finish.
Medium body with a creamy texture that coats the palate. The 7% ABV overplays its hand and the bitterness is quite aggressive. Slightly unbalanced.
We’ve been a little disappointed with this brewery to be honest. The artwork on their cans is very eye catching but the beer itself isn’t bringing it home for us. The balance isn’t quite right and the alcohol shows through a bit too much for our liking. Not a bad drop, just a tad rough around the edges.

Deep Creek Brewing Co. ‘Lupulin Effect’ Double IPA


21752172_748794698638011_8064911528735760414_n“Cannabis and hops are closely related. Both come from the Cannabinaceae family. They do share some physical traits, such as appearance and similar aromas. However, they differ on the chemical level. Both produce terpenes; cannabis terpenes are psychoactive where hops terpenes are purely for flavour, aroma and bitterness. Hops have been shown to help in relaxation, called the lupulin effect when consumed at moderate levels.”

Served in an IPA glass. Clear golden/amber in appearance. Not even our aggressive pour could churn up any real head as it produced a flimsy cap that peels back to a ring in seconds. Minimal lace. We’re getting a slightly dank and piney profile on the nose. Plenty of herbaceous notes – nettle leaf, tea and vines with that distinct Nelson Sauvin scent of white grapes. Very luscious and green which seems to be a characteristic of NZ IPA’s. Very mild malt presence – biscuity if we had to say anything.
Quite a unique set of flavours upfront. Persimmon is the most dominant but we pick up hints of gooseberry, lime juice and pine needle. Dank herbal hops, rotting leaves and pithy citrus set up for a long and acrid finish with loads of sting in the tail.
The texture is prickly and at times a little too astringent. Very unbalanced and hard to finish to be brutally honest. We get that it’s a DIPA but jeez a bit more malt sweetness would take the edge off of those hops.
This one started with a lot of promise but by the end it was too boozy (8.5%), too bitter and too unbalanced. Where they are doing well is the artwork on the can…very eye catching. But we can’t shirk the issue, it is what’s inside that counts the most and this slightly missed the mark for us.

Six String Brewing Dark Red IPA


21558882_749149955269152_1301395100951329021_n“It’s not red. Or is it? What at first seems like another easy classification as a black IPA gets mighty confused when you hold it up to the light because, yes, there’s definitely redness there. And as there would be because the recipe is based very loosely on the West Coast USA style Red Ale, tweaked and nudged until it’s arguably become Six String’s signature beer.”

Served in an IPA glass. We’re met with a seriously deep amber almost burgundy hue with a monstrous three and a half finger head on top. The foam slowly recedes and leaves a smattering of lace in its wake.
The nose offers everything you’d expect from agood red IPA – dank and heady hops but beautifully contained by a rich and sweet caramel malt base. Oodles of juicy fruits, bitter citrus and grassy/piney hop but just as much toffee, treacle and toasty malt to balance it out. Impressive.
Excellent transition on to the palate. Spiked with bitter citrus and pine resin but again it’s smoothed over by those sweet and silky malts. Some tropical fruit appears before the bitter citrus (grapefruit, orange peel etc) rolls in to the long and slightly dry finish which presents that recurring balance well on the rear.
Nice and full in the mouth. Smooth and creamy but also a touch dry with assertive bitterness (51 IBU).
We honestly can’t believe it has taken us so long to review this beer! We’ve been smashing them for years now and only just realised about a week ago that we haven’t reviewed it. Well, now we have and it’s just as we remember it – big, hoppy but not in your face. Well balanced by the malts with a delicious sweetness from go to woe. Solid offering.

Pact Beer Co. ‘100 Acres’ IPA


21463195_748794418638039_4809311117758997440_n“Drawing equal cues from both the English and American IPA traditions, the 100 Acres IPA exudes a beautiful bouquet of clean pine and floral aromas with a firm bitterness that excites without overwhelming the palate.”

Served in an IPA glass. It hits the glass with a honey amber hue and seals off with a thumb of tightly beaded foam. Good retention and good lace sticking to the glass as it subsides.
There’s nothing fancy going on with the aroma but it still manages to offer a super clean pine note with heady floral accents, freshly cut grass, tangerine, passion fruit, orange blossom and soft grapefruit undertones. It’s also balanced quite nicely with hints of caramel and oaty biscuits adding to the allure.
The flavour serves up a delicious and well balanced fusion of piney and slightly herbal hops along with semi sweet biscuit malts. An assertive bitterness forms early in the mid which emphasises the pithy grapefruit which carries in to the piney and slightly resinous finish. Good duration on the back end too, this soft citric bitterness really goes the distance.
It’s dry and a little prickly but ultimately approachable. The 6% ABV doesn’t overplay its hand and she’s hit that perfect amount of co2.
As we pointed to earlier in the review, it’s not a flashy IPA it just quietly goes about its business and ticks all the boxes in the process. Quite the surprise (and sessional) package here. Fine drop from this Canberran brewery.

Stone Brewing ‘Ghost Hammer’ IPA


21317914_744964609021020_4617824783405349794_n“Most areas of the brewery are dark or in shadows. Throughout the night the cellars resonate with the occasional knocking of expanding and contracting pipes. It can be a bit spooky to hear the brewery creak and groan as if possessed by a spirit randomly knocking about with a mallet. This IPA, liberally hopped with Loral™, honors our intrepid overnight team by naming it after their mischievous poltergeist companion – the Ghost Hammer.”

Served in an IPA glass. We see a hazy golden orange hue that’s covered by a thumb of puffy white foam. Head retention is good and lacing is even better.
Most notable on the nose would be its citrus and floral orange blossom characters but there is also a healthy dose of fruits like pineapple, blood orange and melon. Getting a kind of candied lemon scent along with pine, subtle spice and a light biscuity/honey malt at the base.
The flavour takes on a bit of a pithy and somewhat acidic grapefruit flavour upfront. A bit of that floral and candied orange getting amongst it as it moves in to a spicy note through the mid. Dry, a little acrid and bitter in the finish with a lingering grapefruit flavour in the tail.
Crisp, snappy and sharp in the mouth. The 6.7% ABV creeps up as the 56 IBU is quite well presented. Moderate body and co2.
Another fine offering from this super consistent brewery. It’s a slight step up from your intermediate style IPA’s without being a full on palate wrecker. Quality stuff – what we’ve come to expect from Stone.

Cigar City Brewing ‘Jai Alai’ IPA


21314444_743533495830798_2335983847170810809_n“Jai Alai, a game native to the Basque region of Spain, is played on a court called a fronton. Jai Alai players attempt to catch a ball using a curved mitt whilst the ball travels at speeds up to 188mph! Proving they have a sense of humor the Spanish dubbed this game, with its ball traveling at racecar speeds, “the merry game.” Tampa was once home to a bustling Jai Alai fronton but sadly all that remains of Jai Alai in the Tampa Bay area is this India Pale Ale that we brew in tribute to the merry game. The India Pale Ale style of beer has its roots in the ales sent from England to thirsty British troops in India during the 18th century.”

Served in an IPA glass. Amber to orange in colour with a thumb of extremely well retained head perched on top. Superb lace decoration clinging to the glass as we imbibe.
The aroma is oh-so-American. Gushing with candied orange, tangerine, lemon drops, lavender, pine, cannabis and a subtle bready malt structure at the base. We just love these traditional American IPA’s as they take us back to the glory days back before your NEIPA’s and monolithic triples and quads. Just a good and honest IPA aroma.
Neat transition on to the palate. There’s a big impression of candied citrus, pine resins, ruby grapefruit and herbal/grassy hop that stretches well in to the mid, picking up tropical fruit and earthy floral notes in the process. The back end anchors on the grassy/resinous hop characters with a long and dry finish.
She holds a nice moderate body with a creamy and somewhat effervescent texture. The 70 IBU forms late and the 7.5% ABV is dangerously well concealed, kind of creeps up on you.
Brilliant IPA. One of those beers that evokes old memories from just one whiff. It’s IPA’s like this that made the style a symbol of a revolution the world over. Kudos Cigar City this is an excellent drop.