Good evening all. Judging by the bottles currently resting in my cellar, today's trip to Utobeer was very successful! I picked up 3 Belgian beers (Trappist Achel Bruin, Houblon Chouffe Doubelen IPA Tripel and St. Bernardus Tripel) and 3 beers from English breweries, so I feel I've made a small step in my pledge to drink more Belgian beer this year- after all, it's still only January! Tonight's beer is one I've seen on keg in various places before (particularly Tap East) and it's always interested me, so when I saw it on the shelf I knew I had to try it. It's 69 IPA from Lovibonds Brewery, and the review is after the pic....
69 IPA (6.9% ABV) pours an amber colour with a decent white head that dissolves to a thick halo around the inside of the glass. The aroma is full of citrus hops with a lot of malt character also present, something that surprised me quite a bit as I'm so used to IPAs having negligible perceived malt content. The taste is equally as surprising, with the citrus fruits initially present being quickly obscured by biscuit malt flavours, and the usual bitter finish occurring during drinking to leave a smooth, creamy aftertaste. The mouthfeel is quite thick with moderate carbonation. I can only describe this as a very English take on an American IPA- the hop aromas and flavours are there, but the fact that there is an identifiable malt presence and not just heaps of bitterness in the finish makes this a very interesting experience. Despite the alcohol content and the hops used, everything is well balanced and subtle as opposed to being over-indulgent- this would be a good beer to break up a hoppy IPA session, or when you're looking for something more from your IPA besides resinous/citrus hops. Highly recommended and quintessentially English, despite what it says on the bottle!
Addendum- after a bit of time out, the hop character has switched from citrus to resinous. Still getting a lot of malt with each sip, but the hops are definitely piney as opposed to fruity.
Until next time