I've been looking forward to trying this beer. There was a frenzy of excitement on the beery twittersphere when word got round that some had landed this side of the pond, and you'd think from all the wet knickered beer geeks squelling about this beer that it's a messiah of a brew, a revelatory beer, nirvana for hop fiends. Well I can tell you now, it ain't.
What it is, is a really well made, tasty American IPA. The colour is a bright clean gold, it looks good but the bubbly head dissapears quickly and the bottle conditioned carbonation is a touch lifeless.
The aroma is... Actually a little disappointing? It smells good but I was expecting much more juicy hops. I think a big bottle might have faired better on its travels, although this is, as far as I know, relatively fresh.
The flavour fares much better.
It's initially sweet and slightly oily with a good whack of fresh and piney American hops, then a medium bitter finish with a nice layering of hop flavours: bitter orange, fresh yellow grapefruit, resinous pine, a touch of lemon and a slight rosemary herbyness in the aftertaste.
It actually gets better as it comes up from fridge temp and a decent pungent hop oil bitterness kicks in alongside a more citrusy hop flavour.
Is it better than most? Yes. Is it better than the best? I'm not so sure.
But it's pretty difficult to get over here, and longing certainly makes the heart grow fonder...
Now, when are they next shipping some over?
p.s. Interestingly on the side of the bottle it says "Real Ale is alive, Yeast is good", which made me laugh, then shake my head at my own depressing beer geekery.