Friday, May 15, 2015

Beer Review: Space Frontier by To Øl and Brew Fist

Humanity's Final Frontier might be Up There, but breweries down here are still pushing barriers when it comes to making beer. Collaborations, wacky ingredients, new strains of hops and ageing methods are being used by the next generation of enterprising brewers to explore new styles and seek out new tastes, boldly brewing where no brewery has gone before. (Sorry.)

Space Frontier is a bold, newish collaboration between To Øl of Denmark and Brew Fist from Italy. One of its ingredients is grape must, a product from wine production comprising grape juice, the skin and seeds. It's something more and more Italian brewers are using as they look to distinguish their country's craft beer culture from a busy and vibrant global marketplace.  

Space Frontier (6.5%) is a strong, bitter (70 IBU) heavy-hopped pale ale that will particularly appeal to the geek in you. Like sci-fi? You'll love the label.

The aroma is sweet, floral hops, soft fruits like peach and light maltiness, as if you were close to, but upwind, of a brewery.

It poured a light straw golden, hazy an opaque, the colour of autumnal heat haze, with a lively dose of carbonation and a healthy head.

It's got a big taste this - the citra and mosaic hops really make their mark. The bitterness grabs you at the back of the throat first, then woos you with notions of grapefruit and lime citrus, a sweetness of dates and juicy fruit gums, and all as if you were standing in the middle of a pine forest ... though still upwind from that nearby brewery.

Each drink wipes clean your palate for a long, stretched-out and slightly sour finish that leaves your mouth tingling. The texture is both lively and smooth. And even with the big-hitting bitterness, the fruity, gloopy syrupy sweetness remains, balancing well with a light biscuit malt backbone and the dry aftertaste at the back of your mouth.

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