I reaped a boon from Richard's most recent trip to the US, and from his fondness for super-fresh hop-forward American beers, and from his willingness to open them within my reach.
The flavour is one-dimensionally hop-centric when cold: pine resin, with just some cute peachy frills around the edge. It needs a little time in the warmth for the malt to smooth things out adding a sweetness which introduces some beautiful mandarin notes, though sadly doing nothing to improve the texture. The blurb on the can denies it's a "one-hop-trick pony" but I'm still not so sure about that.
The counterpoint beer to Day Tripper is Night Time, an 8.2% ABV black IPA from Lagunitas. Lots of fizz as this poured, turning out jet black with hints of brown where the light hits it and topped by a comfortable pillow of foam. The aroma is pure tyre fire: all harsh acrid burnt rubber. And this kicks off the flavour too, but after the initial bitter shock passes, it opens out into strawberries and similar light summer fruits. There's a heavy and rather enjoyable dankness in the centre as well, adding hop weight to the malt. Eyes closed it would probably be difficult to tell it's a dark beer, the massive hopping smothering any dark malt characteristics. Only the smooth creamy texture suggests that it would have anything in common with a stout.
It's refreshing -- literally and metaphorically-- to encounter two hop-forward American beers that don't layer on toffeeish malts to create a semblance of balance. Could it be that crystal malt's time has finally passed?
Black Damnation II: Mocha Bomb - *Origin: Belgium/Netherlands | Date: 2011 | ABV: 12% | On The Beer Nut: September 2011* This imperial stout had me thinking about the role of coffee in bee...
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