11 August 2014

Topin' all hours

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.

Day Tripper comes from the Indeed Brewing Company in Minneapolis. It's a 5.4% ABV pale ale and arrives a cheery bright orange colour, though almost completely opaque. There's a certain harshness in the aroma; the promise of palate-scouring acid bitterness. But the palate doesn't actually get much of a going over. It's rather a thin beer with very light carbonation and is almost watery as a result.

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?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:46 am

    You're right about the night time, I didn't think it tasted dark either. It had a similar "bite" that their regular IPA has.