30 August 2017


O the flurry and the scurry when new Whiplash beer drops. Two more arrived last week and I found myself hassling Carlos, beer guru at Fresh in Smithfield, to get the boxes open and make sure they rang in at the till.

First out was little Suckerpin, a Berliner weisse with Lemondrop hops and a bijou 3.3% ABV. The aroma is fresh and lemony, if a little hand-wipe-esque, while also intimating a sharp sourness lurking beneath the surface. This doesn't really materialise on sipping, however. In classic Berliner style it's smooth and grainy, softly textured with a decent body, and the flavour has a gentle mineral salinity, more like you'd find in a straight gose. There's a background tartness but that seems to be as much from the super-citric hopping as any lactic bacteria culture. Anyone looking for a Púca-like sour kick will be disappointed, but I like the balance, the cleanness, and the emphasis on hops.

Its companion is the third tall can of double IPA from Whiplash, following the excellent Surrender to the Void and the sublime Saturate. This is Drone Logic, 8% ABV, a hazy (but not murky) orange colour, and depending on Simcoe for its hopping. It smells fantastically juicy, like fresh-squeezed jaffas, with maybe a lightly green dankness to the side. Once again the flavour performs a sneaky bit of bait-and-switch, emphasising the resinous bitterness and leaving the juice still present, but relegated. The finish introduces a new savoury character that confused me: part smoke, part eucalyptus. It doesn't really fit with either the bitterness or the juice and really detracts from the whole picture. I found myself trying to cling on to the orange flavour as it passed fleetingly across my palate on every sip. So this is nearly a great beer but in the final assessment just slips into the too-hot-too-harsh bracket, along with most of the world's other DIPAs.

Hop fruit giveth, and hop fruit taketh away. Neither beers were quite what I was expecting but both gave me plenty to think about.

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