here. Aww!) With characteristic modesty it's called Nailed It and the stated aim is to be a straight-up, down-the-line, essence-of-IPA IPA.
I'm not used to Eight Degrees beers in bottles so was a little surprised by how hazy it was: that's probably down to clumsy pouring on my part. The aroma is certainly in the Goldilocks zone of IPA perfection, promising messy, juicy mango and passionfruit and spiky pine resin and thick herbal dank. "But where's the grapefruit?" I hear you wail. Fear not, it's right at the front of the flavour, though getting fuzzed a little by the yeast. This acidity and the piney spicing form the centre of the flavour, not leaving much room for the fruit elements, and that pesky yeast adds a harsh savoury tone to the finish that lasts an unpleasantly long time. There's a lovely soft mouthfeel and the strength is a fairly modest 5.8% ABV so really this beer just needs a little cleaning up to be excellent. I'd recommend going for the draught version, if you see it.
I bought my bottle of Nailed It in McHugh's off licence in Kilbarrack, the first time I'd been to either of the highly-rated McHugh's shops. While there I of course took the opportunity to pick up a bottle of their exclusive RoadTrip Extra Stout. This was brewed late last year and is the second in a series which was also prompted by an anniversary: McHugh's 20th. The first was RoadTrip IPA, brewed at Kinnegar, which has found a second life as Kinnegar's own Crossroads IPA. This time around, Independent Brewing of Connemara played host, for a 6.3% ABV stout brewed with a power combo of American hops: Magnum, Chinook and Cascade.
It pours almost imperially thickly and I thought there wasn't going to be any head on it until near the end when I was surprised by a sudden surge of brown foam. This settled back into a luxurious ice cream float of bubbles and a second pour finished the job. The American hops are very obvious from the aroma: a distinct tang of grapefruit skin in with the chocolate and coffee. And this theme continues in the flavour. This time the dark malts are in their rightful place in the stout flavour profile -- high-cocoa dark chocolate is the protagonist: dry, but with a certain oleaginous quality, adding richness -- but it's flanked by spritzy citrus zest, rising from the middle and becoming louder towards the end. Each mouthful starts soft and silky but finishes sharply invigorating. I can imagine some purists having a problem with this brash Americanisation of our national beer style but I've no time for such prescriptivism: this is a magnificent tasting beer showing genuine brewing talent. Not many months after this came out, Independent had a black IPA of roughly the same strength brewed with Wood Key, a gypsy label which includes some of the McHugh's RoadTrippers. I wonder are the recipes related. Either way, I would very much like to see this beer also take a life of its own, as RoadTrip 1 did.
And so on to Year 12 and whatever, and wherever, the next beer is.
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