Summer Wine Brewery are one of my favourite breweries in the UK, and thanks to Mr Foleys in Leeds are a brewery I've drank a hell of a lot of beer from.
My first taste of a Black IPA was Nerotype #1 brewed by SWB, which was followed by three other single hop Black IPA's, all of which were good and two of which I thought were stunning. One of my top beers of the year so far from anywhere in the World is 7C's - a big, tropical, pithy IPA thats perfect on Cask and Keg and far too drinkable for it's strength. Diablo is a stone cold classic of a beer that I drink whenever I see it.
In other words, SWB are a brewery I come back to again, and again, and again. They're brave, innovative and exciting but up until recently only brewed Cask beer, and outside of Yorkshire were much harder to get a hold of. That's all changed with the introduction of their bottled range.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on one each of their newly bottled beers, and decided to crack two of them almost straight away. I started with the two IPA's because, as I've said before, you gota' drink them hops fresh people!
This knocked me for six. I thought I knew what this was going to taste like from the many, many times I've had it on cask. In the bottle the bitterness is huge - it reminded me a little bit of old Punk, but with a deeper flavour and thicker body.
It's got that big grapefruit juice flavour of the cask version and there's a fair bit of tropical fruitiness in the flavour but it's all bowled over by this huge punishing bitterness. Don't get me wrong though, I love it. In fact it was a little too good to over analyse and as such the bottle was seen off pretty sharpish. Really, really good.
Kahuna NZ IPA
This has a nice sweet aroma of tangerine and lemon, with just a hint of mango. The taste is quenching and juicy with a hint of the grapefruit of the Diablo but also some bitter orange, tropical fruit juice, and a slightly herbal edge like under ripe woody mango.
Much more forgiving than the Diablo with a bit of sweetness and a dry but not hugely bitter finish. Lovely stuff.
So that's a very, very promising start sampling this fantastic breweries bottled wares. Two down, two to go.....
Keep an eye out for Rouge-Hop, a hoppy red ale, and Barista, an espresso stout, in a review coming soon.