Saturday, 15 July 2017

American Pale Ale play-off #1 - Abbeydale vs. Brew Foundation vs. Vocation

Beer is fashionable and therefore vulnerable to fickle fads. Last year, and much of 2017 truth be told, we were subjected to DIPA after DIPA. How DIPA is your love? We even witnessed nuances like Imperial IPA, and continued efforts to make £9 9%ers taste like £2 Boots`fruit smoothies all good, for a bit, and us twobeergeeks are a bit divided with DIPA`s at the mo, as we discussed this week over a Verdant DIPA at the Dev Cat (yes, it was only about 8% and only £4 a half. By contrast, your average American Pale Ale is equally hackneyed but far more friendly on the old pocket whilst sufficiently stimulating to the old taste buds, bud. We`re talking sexy American hops with no specific ABV but you must expect plenty of citrus fruit taste and trans-Atlantic aromas.


So, simple idea here. Budget plan and one that you can replicate domestically, is to get three APAs from a local outlet (NO supermarkets!) and blind taste to choose a winner, then mebbe add a note or two to justify choice. The longer term aim here is to get a `winner` from this semi-final and then have another three-way play-off, before a `final`. All GB made (GBAPA, anyone?) with no foreigners allowed, Nigel....

So, all three, blind-tasted, ranked and then re-visited for double check and a tad more detail. All three were canned ales purchased from the ever excellent Mitchell`s Wines and their ever-expanding craft ale fridge.

Triple threat, albeit a pretty one

Heathen (4.1%) by Abbeydale Brewery - I was pleased that I instantly recognised this from the upfront aroma, floral and citrus, trans-atlantic all the way. Doesn`t disappoint. A great value loc-ale snazzily packaged by James D. Murphy`s genius and the team down t`road in S7 who really are thinking progressively nowadays. Great beer with bags of taste for the buck, and the ABV.

Free Beer (4.4%) by The Brew Foundation - oft associated with Sheffield but actually brewed somewhere in t`hills betwixt here and Cheshire. Admittedly, I didn`t notice that this one was gluten free despite it being clearly labelled as such on the can but I did notice the hops; Chinook, mosaic and simcoe. Yum. Not bad but rather tinny / metallic and a very short-lived head, struggling against some err, heady competition. Barley and wheat are used in the process but later removed using brewers clarex. Possibly a contender in a different emerging field....!?

Pride & Joy (5.3%) by Vocation Brewery. Again another bargain beer and another from not too far afield over in Hebden Bridge, west side of Yorkshire, near Halifax. Apparently, Vocation have recently opened a tap house that sounds pretty cool and, if the beers are on this kind of par, we need to get there. Bold, resinous aromas and a nice bitter but citrus taste that lingers pleasantly.


Final Scores
3rd. Free Beer - Brew Foundation. Lives to fight another day....
2nd. Heathen - Abbeydale. Local heroes in hoppy heaven.
1st. Pride & Joy - Vocation. Worth a place in any final.

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