We all got pieces of crazy in us, some bigger pieces than others is the tagline on To Øl's First Frontier IPA. So I guess crazy is what the massive chunks bobbling around in the bottle are made from. They were the first thing I noticed when I picked it off the shelf in The Bottle Shop, and I was reticent to continue the transaction, but the Danish gypsy brewer has a good reputation so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.
The first problem arose when pouring: lots of head, making it impossible to get it into the glass cleanly in a single pour. I cut my losses rather than risk an overflow, leaving the last three fingers of beer to wallow in the goop at the bottom of the bottle. So far: not impressed.
It's a medium orange colour, and hazy, even without any bits in. The aroma is mostly cat litter funkiness (damn you, Simcoe!) plus a burn from the busy carbonation. Bottle conditioning pale ale in 33cls: don't do it, kids.
Flavourwise it's altogether more fun, however. A jaw-pinching grapefruit and lime bite starts the process, fading to a lighter metallic effect. The bitterness is mouthwatering and moreish, but deftly balanced by a delicate layer of spongecake malt sweetness and just a faint alcoholic warmth. It's 7.1% ABV and they've done a great job using that strength to balance a very generous quantity of hops. Oddly, the fizz which interferes with the pour and aroma doesn't get in the way when tasting: the mouthfeel is full and sticky with hop resins.
So, the moment of truth came when I poured the final gunky quarter of the bottle into the glass. Thankfully, it makes very little difference to the finished product: the same hop smack arrives in all the right places. Brewing a beer with all the hops and all the yeast? It's crazy, but it might just work.
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