14 February 2013

A spanner in the works

Different: that's my main assessment of the new IPA from Trouble Brewing, Sabotage. It's the Kildare-based brewery's third regular beer and they launched it a fortnight ago in Against the Grain, serving both cask and keg versions to the shower of freeloaders who showed up, alongside the respected members of the totally legitimate electronic media. Head brewer Paul is doing the honours on the right there and you can see the results below. At 5.5% ABV it's that little bit stronger than the nearest rival O'Hara's IPA and in a different bracket to the rest of Ireland's hop-forward craft pale ales.

However, where O'Hara's has opted for bold and tart American hops to mask its strength, Sabotage is altogether mellower and fruitier, eschewing citrus for more of a soft peach and mandarin sensation, the summery juiciness I've come to associate with Galaxy hops in particular.

The orange grove aroma is much more apparent in the cask edition (left, foreground), though I think the one we were served on the night suffered a little murkiness having not been left to settle fully. The clear keg version hasn't by any means had all the hops stripped from it, but it's not quite the same 3D experience.

But the oddest most striking thing about Sabotage is the weight: a massively full body laden with unfermented sugars. It unbalances the hops a little but makes for a very filling pint.

I suspect we'll be seeing that balance somewhat restored in the next batch of Sabotage, but that's on the other side of a brewery move. Meanwhile, give this a go if you fancy something out of the ordinary.

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