This is a strange one and, I confess, my first ‘Camden’ beer. I should bow my head in shame as Camden are one of London’s best known craft breweries.
Camden were founded in 2006 by Australian Jasper Cuppaidge, who bought a derelict pub and opened it as ‘The Horseshoe’, first brewing beers based on recipes from breweries in his native Australia, later expanding into premises under a railway arch in painfully hip & trendy Camden Town.
They’re perhaps best known for their ‘Hells’ lager, brewed to be something between a Helles and a Pilsner – unashamedly lager, which is slightly unusual in the halls of uber cool craft brewers.
IHL (India Hell Lager) is described as an ‘IPA, resurrected as lager’. Camden refer to it as“the brewers’ beer”. With “All the flavour of an IPA. Minus the heavy sweetness.”
It’s a complex recipe with Pilsner, Munich and Carapils malts, along with Chinook, Magnum, Mohawk, and Simcoe hops. Camden describe it as “an extremely hoppy lager that achieves our consistent aim of balance”. I like balance, balance is good. So, let’s see.
It pours a very pale gold, with a full, loose head that fades rapidly. The nose is rich and citrus, with a dry, bitter undertone.
The flavour is dry and crisp, citrus, pine with slightly metallic – but not unpleasant – hints. And, of course, that 6.2% ABV lurking menacingly in the background.
I’m not sure I can see the ‘lager’ side of the beer, presumably it was bottom fermented, but in a blind tasting alongside some of my favourite IPAs, this would stand up well.
I like it, it is indeed extremely hoppy and while I don’t see the lager, I’m happy to give this five Brewclub stars.