Earlier this summer we had the first beer commissioned by one of the big off licence chains from an Irish micro in the form of the Molloy's/Rascal's All Night Long. It was followed closely by the O'Brien's chain releasing its own, via O Brother: an "American wheat IPA" which they've given the rather clumsy name of Who What Wheat Where. These collaborations are a good idea because they encourage people like me into chain stores where I wouldn't normally look for beer, but in this case I didn't have to because O'Brien's shipped me a couple of free bottles.
It's 5.5% ABV and brewed with seven different headliner American hops, including Simcoe, Columbus and Chinook. You can read about its creation on the O'Brien's site here. I was a little apprehensive when I opened the bottle and noticed a lot of dried yeasty gunk gathered about the neck. Thankfully, however, I had left it standing in the fridge for a couple of weeks beforehand, so I don't think this interfered with the end product. It pours a rather unattractive greyish orange with a loose head that subsides a little too quickly.
The aroma was much more encouraging: a fresh hit of classically American grapefruit and pine. On tasting the bitterness dominates, as I often find with O Brother's beers, and in this one you need to deal with a green leafy edge before you get to the fun stuff, an element which suggests it might have been dry-hopped for a little too long. There's a pleasant juiciness at the centre, a sunny tangerine quality that uses the wheaty body to emphasise itself and sit on the palate for longer than expected. I'd have liked more of this and less of the sharp bitterness.
Overall not a bad effort. It deftly avoids the soapiness that white IPAs of this sort often exhibit. With a little fine tuning it could be superb though I don't know if there are plans to brew it again.
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