Just like you, but different
The annual fresh hop offering from Renaissance, the Grandmaster Fresh Hop IIPA. Still reminds me of some disco things, and this being an annual thing means I had it last year and loved it.
An 8.8%ABV beer, at the fyo station, so I have 1 litre of beer that’s about 250ish calories a serve size, and this whole bottle would be 6.94 standard drink units
Somewhere between a Barley Wine and an American Double IPA, MPA has been seasonal Ale for Renaissance for years now. So we thought we would tweak it…
To brew this special Ale we have used large amounts of freshly harvested hops, and for that we have selected a New Zealand classic – one of the first hops developed and released in NZ – Southern Cross.
Southern Cross is a hop that is a mix of British and American in its flavours…..but developed and grown in NZ. It has big citrus flavours and also some spiciness not dissimilar to British Fuggles. This works incredibly well with the malt back bone – delivering a brilliantly balanced fresh hop Double IPA.
So then, what could possibly go wrong with that?
Always a rich sweet sugar like aroma bursting forth, and then a fresh cut crass hop aroma sneaks in.
Pour is lovely darker orange with a nice head that fades to a thinner film.
Taste is a lot more bitter than I remember, rougher and slightly more edgier, this was though on the initial taste. Second time up and the exception of the same is not met, this time it’s not a shockingly dry and is a little more mellow and tempered.
Then, though, this is easy drinking if you like a beer that is pretty even though the palate, not overly bitter, after that initial shock, and pretty evenly sweet malt to balance, preceded by a decent and full aroma in the glass. Just that finish to tilt you off to one side.
Southern Cross Hops “It has big citrus flavours and also some spiciness” it’s true enough, the spiciness being a pepper like bitter, and it does have those citrus the aromas and sweetness to it. I’m sure it was different hops last year.
Almost one of those ‘don’t look back’ moments, which is daft, because although it was ace last year it doesn’t mean that this year is less, or worse. This year is different to the taste. Still a really nice beer to drink and I’m enjoying the each and every mouthful that I take. And I’m really enjoying the lovely aroma that this has.
It doesn’t though make me want to get up and do a little dance. I quite like a big IPA or dIPA or IIPA or whatever, and I sometimes like to be challenged with a dryness at the finish, and the shock of the bitterness on the tongue. But for this I was expecting less and more.
As this is pretty much write as I drink kind of thing I stopped, cooked on the BBQ in May, how weird is this long long summer, and ate a steak and fixings, without the beer but with conversation. I came back to the beer and got that same first mouthful shock where it is fresh hop roughness but not that smack dry finish.
I decided that this was a nice beer, but it wasn’t quite the beer I remember from last year, and that I’ve had better fresh hop beers this year, so I’m not disappointed or downhearted, because this year there seemed to be so many options.
I’m also forgetting that I think I have this in a bottle in the fridge for later in the week.
The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 8 a of its things from the thing. It is a bit hop forward bitter beer with lovely aroma and appearance, but it is fresh and rough and ready in places, and quirky and changeable as you drink it, probably a good thing, possibly not, not consistent would be better. Strange but true story.
The double dip review
Musically: ” The KVB ” with ” Of Desire ” on the Spotify
Like a hazily remembered dream, U.K. duo the KVB blend reverb-soaked shoegaze with minimalist electronic production to create their delicate and ephemeral sound.
Imperial IPA, Double IPA or DIPA is a strong, often sweet, intensely hoppy version of the traditional India Pale Ale. Bitterness units range upward of 100 IBUs and alcohol begins at 7.5% but is more commonly in the 8.5-10% range. The flavour profile is intense all-round. Unlike barley wines, the balance is heavily towards the hops, with crystal and other malts providing support.