23 July 2012

Office rocker

"It was the cheapest Italian craft beer the importer could get", said my drinks-trade source who will remain anonymous. He was talking about the Brewfist range which has recently appeared on our shelves and which has been getting less than enthusiastic notes from Irish drinkers online.

At around €4 a bottle it's pricey enough stuff so I wasn't going to shell out on the whole range, based on what I'd heard. So, to begin, just Burocracy: an IPA.

There's a pleasing spritzy zest aroma as it pours, which is a good start, and above the dark amber body the head is the colour of old ivory, something I associate with unctuous palate-burning American hop napalm. There's lots of haze though, and this is where my criticisms start: bottle-conditioning does not sit well with me when it comes to hop-driven beers in small bottles. Brewers of the world: please stop it.

The zestiness is gone by the time I get a proper sniff of it, replaced by a mildly catty pungency. And not fresh cat neither. At the front of the flavour there's a short blast of Simcoe or something very like it but there's no follow-through: it just vanishes leaving a lasting bitterness on the palate. It all came across like a slightly wonky version of 5am Saint to me.

It's not bad beer, though, and certainly not dull. I'm not put off the brewery and intend to get round to the others in due course. But I'd say it's not what anyone is looking for in Italian beer. Anywhere you see this on sale there'll be examples of the Americans doing the style better.

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