Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Beer review: Bloody 'Ell IPA

Dug this one from the Herald archive. Really I should wait until spring 2016 ... when Beavertown release their awesome Bloody Ell orange laden beer. But then, it's good to build a bit of anticipation ...

If you haven't tried any of Beavertown's beer, you really ought to. And if you have had some of their beers - the wickedly delicious Black Betty IPA or dangerously drinkable Neck Oil IPA, for example - chances are you're waiting for their super-selling seasonal IPA Bloody 'Ell to hit the shelves again.

Blood 'Ell is fantastic; a must-try beer made from blood oranges and Amarillo and Citra hops. Don't expect stocks to last when they start arriving in March.

Beavertown have only been around for a few years, but they're easily one of the stars of the great beer renaissance we're living through - one of the 50 or so breweries to open in London in the past five years.

Owner Logan Plant is the son of rock god Robert Plant, but it's safe to say Beavertown have got to where they are on the merits of beers: since starting up in 2011, they've produced collaboration brews with the likes of Dogfish, Mikkeller and BrewDog, and their brewing staff cut their teeth at leading London breweries such as Redchurch and Kernel.

Beavertown's beers have bold flavours and big characters, reflected in their distinctive artwork and branding. The cans, literally, have that feelgood factor.

A lot of their specials often don't make it this far north (and when they do they go fast) but Beavertown's core range - see below - is pretty widely available in good beer shops and online.

Bloody 'Ell is a romp through the senses. The aroma on this powerful IPA is tropical resin hops with heaps of mandarins and a drop of toffee. It's just delicious. For the gardeners, you'll recognise the smell of mock orange.

Pouring it - best not to drink it from the can - gives you a thick frothy off-white head, while below it's amber gold that's opaque like jelly.

Tasting it is a trip. The oranges are there in force but so too is a grapefruit tang and crisp pomegranate - at 7.2%, the alcohol is fairly noticeable too. Then it eases; a light biscuit malt balances the rich juiciness delivering a mellow smoothness before this IPA settles into a medium dry finish that's big on bitterness but also gives you salt and spices round the edges.

No way is this a session ale, it's a hop-forward, citrus heavy IPA for savouring.

Five other Beavertown beers

Black Betty black IPA (7.4%)

A spicy and strong black IPA that bam-a-lams the competition. A beautiful balance of rich roasted malts, hefty tropical, citrus and stonefruit hops. An absolute belter of a beer and a personal favourite.

Smog Rocket smoked porter (5.4%)

Bitter coffee and dark chocolate malt with the bittersweet finish evolving from a tart hoppiness. There's a salty character here, but also a touch of cherry. It pours black like the colour of Marlboro Man's lungs.

8 Ball IPA (6.2%)

A big bold and potent IPA with plenty or rye and aromas of American hops. Pours amber with peach, pine and caramel flavours. Takes its name because the brewers weighed down the bags of hops with pool balls.

Gamma Ray American pale ale (5.4%)

Deliciously juicy and dangerously drinkable, Gamma Ray is a pale ale with big tropical aromas and flavours of mango and grapefruit. Too strong to be a session ale, sadly.

Neck Oil IPA (4.3%)

Beavertown's session IPA. An easy-drinking beer with light citrus and resin hops and enough balance and bitterness to leave you a long and pleasant finish.

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