This totally managed to stump a few people and cause a minor nerd-riot, it did. We had two kegs of it at work, and the first went on through a Hopinator crammed full of mandarins1 — à la the rather-successful batch of fruited-up Twisted Hop IPA we’d previously done.
When it was all naked and alone on a regular tap, though, it was totally different. Without the citrus (elements of which you’d ordinarily expect in a big IPA), its massively yeasty self was uncovered. The Overboss just assumed the as-yet-unlabelled tap held a wheat beer from Emerson’s Brewers’ Reserve series (which was due to go on soon), and one Proper Beer Nerd absolutely insisted that it was Croucher’s Hef (also a wheat, perhaps obviously) instead. A quick double-check of the keg fridge assured us against the first possibility, and a side-by-side tasting eliminated the second. I’d been standing there pointing out that none of us had ever had a wheat beer with this level of bitterness before, but was also happy to indulge in a little bit of Science, just to be sure.
What we have, instead, is a very different type of Big IPA. And I’m quite fond of very different, sometimes. The fruit flavours in here, to me, were all rockmelony and summery and ‘uppy’ in that barely-definable way. The funky yeastiness was surprising, but people have been IPA-ifying big Belgian tripels for a while now, so just think of this as taking a run at that same idea from the other direction, perhaps.
Verbatim: Croucher ‘October’ IPA 4/12/10 guest @ MH. 7.5% We had this Hopinated a few weeks ago, on mandarins (or tangerines; there was some dispute, for which I — uncharacteristically, but with good reason — absented myself). It was a pretty tasty + worthy echo of Twisted Hop IPA — and this has the same light uppy fruit side all on its own, too (though obviously the oily bitterness isn’t there / as big). The big fruit note, though, is rockmelon. In a nice way. The Dior of beer, says Amelia, since it goes so well with Natalie’s new perfume. The body is surprisingly light, for its strength. Quite a different Big IPA; more summery.
1: Actually, this beer caused two near nerd-riots. The first centered on just whether the things in the Hopinator were mandarins, or tangerines. As my Diary entry notes, I largely absented myself from that argument — an unusual move, for me, but a running joke among my friends (very much of the “funny because it’s true” kind) is that I know basically nothing about food. I had a niggling suspicion, though, that the argument was poorly-stated; I thought there wasn’t a difference. In the non-embarrassing safety of my laptop on my break, I checked. And was alarmed to find myself nearly right; fighting about the difference between a tangerine and a mandarin is like fighting over the difference between a greyhound and a dog. Mandarin is a higher-level term — they come in many varieites (including tangerine and satsuma).