#325 The Kernel – Double Citra IPA

The Kernel Double Citra IPAName: Double Citra
Brewery: The Kernel (London, England)
Style: DIPA
ABV: 9.8%
Source: Georgia Bollinger

I don’t even know how to begin this post, because I’m worried I’ll get overly emotional and gushy and start weeping into my keyboard, or worse, write the whole thing in caps and end each! word! with! an! explanation! mark! and scare off any readers from coming back.

*Deep breath*

So just casually, this was an amazing IPA and maybe the second best I’ve ever tried after Pliny the Elder, and it was JUST SO DELICIOUS (oh no) THAT I CAN STILL TASTE IT 2 WEEKS LATER AND IT TASTES LIKE RAINBOWS!!!

Ok, let me try again. This beer – it was more like a nectar than a beer. A delicious alcoholic nectar that assaulted my nostrils with tangerine and mango and pineapple and pine needles and yes, a little bit of cat pee but only in a good way.

In the mouth it was sticky and smooth, with sweet notes of caramel and juicy tropical fruit building towards an epic resinous bitter finish. The flavours lingered on my tongue until I cut them off with dumplings (I was at Barilla) but not even Will Smith himself could erase the sweet taste from my memory…

Thank you SO! MUCH! to my lovely friend Georgia for sending this back from the UK for me. And if anyone else has friends visiting from the Motherland, I highly recommend nagging them to pop a bottle of Kernel beer in their bag. (And then I highly recommend that you send it on to me. Thanks!)

Published in: on July 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm  Comments (1)  

#292 Mikkeller – 1000 IBU

Mikkeller 1000 IBUName: 1000 IBU
Brewery: Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Style: Imperial India Pale Ale
ABV: 9.6%
Source: The Beer Store

And just like that, I’ve jumped from the humble homebrew to the relatively insane and insanely expensive Mikkeller 1000 IBU. Take a moment get your bearings and adjust.

Now, if you don’t know what an IBU is don’t feel bad –  I thought it was a beer gang called Insane Brewers United for a while – but in actual fact it stands for International Bittering Unit. The number of IBUs in a beer indicates roughly how bitter it will taste, just like the ABV indicates roughly  how drunk it will get you.

To give you a bit of a benchmark – Epic Pale Ale has an IBU of 45, while the Armageddon (which is pretty bitter if you ask me)  has an IBU of 60. Now look again at the title of this post. 1000 IBUs. Seems crazy, right?  The kind of thing  only a member of Insane Brewers United would make? Well lets just find out.

From the pour it certainly looked serious. It wasn’t clear and golden like most IIPAs I’ve had, but cloudy and brown – as if all those IBUs were floating around and murking it up (I do know this isn’t actually how it works). The nose was dominated by caramel malt, but the hops were there too – sweet and fruity, not the classic grapefruit/pine thing that I automatically assign to most American IPAs, but more ripe pineapple and stone fruit.

In the mouth it was bitter, yes, but not 16.6 times more bitter than an Armageddon. It was sweet and malty, with a sharp bite at the finish which lingered for awhile, but it didn’t wring my tongue out and require me to swill a litre of milk as I had hoped it would.

There are a couple of reasons why it didn’t do that. First of all, apparently the human tongue can only perceive a certain amount of bitterness – something like 80 to 100 IBUs I’ve heard – so you can pile it on in droves after that and it won’t really make any difference. Second, Mikkeller state that this only has a theoretical rather than an actual IBU of 1000, though I’m not even sure what that means. Can I say I have a theoretical height of six feet and a theoretical bank balance of millions?

I guess the whole 1000 IBU thing was just a bit of a marketing stunt. But it’s OK, because it was a tasty marketing stunt, and it taught me a valuable lesson about International Bittering Units which could come in handy if I ever enter a beer geek pub quiz. Win win!

Published in: on June 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm  Comments (2)  

#278 Brewdog – Royal Virility Performance

Brewdog Royal Virility PerformanceName: Royal Virility Performance
Brewery: Brewdog (Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 7.5%
Source: The Beer Store

I’ve tried beers with plenty of weird things in them over the course of this blog (raspberry jam, tea, and sarsaparilla just to name a few in the past week) but I think this one takes the cake.

Royal Virility Performance is the first beer in the world to be brewed with Viagra – approximately 1/3 of a pill per bottle. It also contains  some other supposed aphrodisiacs, such as chocolate and, don’t even ask me what this is: Horny Goat Weed. (Wouldn’t seeing those words together be enough to make you instantly flaccid?)

I didn’t know it had any of that stuff in it when I drank it. This was just a beer that my Dad sent me (awkward right? I guess he didn’t know either), to drink on the anniversary of Will & Kate’s Wedding. You see, this beer was brewed especially for the wedding and, as it turns out, specifically for prince William to drink on the wedding night. Brewdog you dirty old rascals!

Obviously I haven’t been paying close enough attention to the Women’s Day because  the anniversary passed me completely unnoticed, but I saw it in the cupboard last week and decided it was better late than never.

For a beer that  has novelty and smut coming out the wazoo, this was surprisingly gorgeous. From the moment I popped the cap this heady scent of fragrant woods, fresh herbs and citrus wafted out – reminding me of my favorite ever perfume, Comme Des Garcons No. 2. In the mouth it was full and malty without being too sweet, with the resiny herbaceous notes balancing things out. Often I don’t like IIPAs because they’re overly sweet and alcoholic, but this one had a depth of flavour that nicely padded it out.

And of course what you really want to know is: did the beer come with a happy ending? Sadly the answer is no, as viagra doesn’t have much effect on women. I did, on the other hand, have some weird dreams about goats…

Published in: on May 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm  Comments (3)  

#274 Tuatara – Double Trouble

Name: Double Trouble
Brewery:  Tuatara (Waikanae, NZ)
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 5.5%
Source: GABS

If I were any kind of self-respecting beer blogger I would have been posting live from the Great Australian Beer Spectapular: juggling laptop and tasting paddles, giving commentary on beer festival fashion and conducting video interviews with brewers…

But I’m Beer for a Year! So instead here’s a quick run down about a week too late.

GABS was gabsmackingly good. In my mind this is largely thanks to the stunning venue – the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens – which made the whole beer-drinking business feel incredibly grand and important. Phil Cook has some nice photos which you can peruse over here. 

 I had tickets to two sessions – Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and planned to spread the beers over the two days so that I could get through all of them. Best laid plans and all that – I actually ended up getting quite over-excited on the Saturday and trying 40 beers (in many cases just half a tiny cup), and only making it through about 15 the next day.

This post corresponds to the Saturday session, during which I tried all of the NZ beers plus a bunch of Australian ones. Some favorites were Garage Project’s Double Day of the Dead (a chilli chocolate lager), Mike’s Rose IPA, Rennaisance Stonecutter Oak, and 2 Brothers/Diamond Knott Bloody Oak. At least those are a handful that I can remember, but there were so many good ones and I had such tiny amounts that it’s hard to say.

After making my way through several tasting paddles, I thought I should have at least one full glass of beer for my ‘beer of the day’. I would have liked to write about the Double Day of the Dead, but at 8% it seemed a dangerous choice, so I chose this because I hadnt tried it yet and it was only 5.5% according to the booklet.

But was it really? Double IPAs are usually up around the 10% mark, and this certainly tasted like it was too. It was massively hoppy  (citrus and pine) and equally sweet, with a suspiciously full mouthfeel for a regular ABV beer. Also, I felt really drunk after I’d finished it. Was it just the forty-odd beers I’d tried before-hand? Maybe. Maybe not.

I tried two beers that day that I liked better than all the rest. One was the Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta (which won People’s Choice Best Beer!!), and the second was a beer that  sounded absolutely horrific, but was in fact gorgeous. So gorgeous that it will be the star of my next post.


Published in: on May 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm  Comments (6)