India Pale Ale, American Pale Ale, Pacific Pale Ale, Retro IPA, Dark IPA, Red IPA, White IPA, Imperial IPA… been there, drunk that, and I now use the T Shirt to polish the car!
Seriously, it must be difficult for the challenging brewer to find a new slant on IPA, and as regular readers of The Brewclub will know, Brewdog are, to say the least very challenging brewers, constantly seeking to push the envelope tear up the envelope and create something special. And, to be fair, they get it right more often than they get it wrong.
So when the Brewdog Guys stumbled across a book – ‘A Treatise on Food and Diet’ – published in 1843 by Dr Jonathan Pereira – known as the ‘father of Pharmacology’ the challenge was clear.
In ‘A Treatise on Food and Diet’ the Good Doctor referred to the IPA’s of the early to mid 1800’s as follows:
“The Indian Pale Ale is carefully fermented, so as to be devoid of all sweetness, or, in other words, to be dry; and it contains double the usual quantity of hops.
It forms, therefore, a most valuable restorative beverage for invalids and convalescents.
It is taken with benefit by many persons on whom other kinds of ale act injuriously.”
So, there you have it, drinking IPA is good for you! Who’d have thought it?
Inevitably, the guys at Brewdog took to this challenge with relish setting out to “create the palest and driest IPA we could, paying tribute to the best old world IPA’s before hopping the hell out of it with the most modern hops and the latest hopping techniques giving the beer a revivalist, postmodern spin.’
It pours a very pale gold, the colour of cheap supermarket Pilsner, the white head is fleeting, to say the least.
The nose is definitely modern hops – Amarillo, Centennial and Citra. The addition of Citra to the mix brings Pacific lychee, kiwi fruit and elderflower to the nose. It’s medium to full bodied, for a pale ale, but at the same time very dry and crisp – reminiscent of a Fino sherry. It’s refreshing, and while you get hints of alcohol lurking in the background, it’s difficult to believe just how strong this is. At 8.7% ABV this ranks up there with Belgian ‘Trippels’, but it’s nowhere near as intimidating.
It’s the hoppiest of hop-bombs, but it still manages enough balance to refrain from stripping the enamel off your teeth.
Never mind a ‘restorative beverage’ this is plain dangerous, it would be oh se easy to sink a couple of these without perhaps realising the potency of the brew you’re drinking.
I’m not sure if this is indeed, as Brewdog put it with typical modesty “the biggest, baddest, most uplifting IPA (they) have ever made” but it does provide “a direct link connecting the formative age of India Pale Ale to the hop-led profusions of the modern day.”
And given that Brewdog make some of the finest “hop-led profusions of the modern day” it’s no surprise that this is very, very good indeed.