I’m sure these things are much clearer from the United States, from here in the UK the Caribbean is extremely confusing; you have the British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Island, the Windward Islands, the Leeward Islands and the Cayman Islands. Plus dozens of others.
I consider myself reasonably well traveled (48 countries and counting) but wouldn’t stake my life on identifying which group of islands is which. This may, of course, change later this year when I hope to visit a few of the islands, but in the meantime I’m simply happy when friends bring back samples of Caribbean exotica for me to review for The Brew Club – such as Blackbeard’s Ale, which I tried recently.
Ironshore Bock is brewed by the Cayman Islands Brewery, founded on Grand Cayman back in 2007.
The name is taken from the limestone rock formations on Grand Cayman’s Ironshore Beach, which features the area known as ‘Hell’ – so named because early travellers suggested “this is what hell must look like”. Not high on my list of ‘go to’ places then!
The brew itself is a dark amber brew, made (according to the brewery’s website) with “specialty hops from Washington State’s Cascade Mountains. The Cascade hops give the beer its crispy aftertaste. Three specialty malts are used along with the Pilsner malt. Black Malt gives the beer the amber / reddish colour. Crystal and Munich malt gives the beer a roasted flavour.
Ironshore Bock is available in cans and on draught, but being here in Blighty I suspect that even the most well-meaning friend would spill some in getting it back to me, so here goes with a canned sample.
The brew pours a dark copper colour with a rich, dusty white head that disperses quickly, leaving no lacing.
The nose is malty, with the merest hint of soap/goat (Octanoic Acid again ) but I suspect I’m just very sensitive to it, it’s certainly not enough to spoil my enjoyment of the brew. There’s no sign of those Cascade hops, they made the journey from Washington State in vain.
The flavour is rich and warming, malty with underlying hints of clove and ginger, and at 7% ABV it’s very satisfying.
It’s refreshing (no pun intended) to find a tropical brew that’s different, neither light lager nor super-strength stout. It’s a good Bock, close to a Double Bock, and both refreshing and satisfying.
I’m happy to give this 3 stars, it was pushing close to 3½ for a while, but I’ll settle for a solid 3 stars.
As I mentioned previously, my wife and I are planning to ‘do’ a Caribbean cruise later this year, hopefully that will allow me to sample some more interesting brews; and maybe I’ll get a better grasp of island geography.
Bob the Brit