When I received the press release about Bicycle Kick, a couple of things grabbed me. It’s a collab Kölsch, designed for the forthcoming World Cup in Russia and I thought the addition of chamomile (apparently Russia’s national flower) was a clever idea, though lemongrass “to represent the pitch” was perhaps a bit of a stretch.
The fact that it was brewed for maximum drinkability, particularly “if your team is playing across the globe with a start time of 7am”, is spot on. I loved that they thought about this. I remember the 2002 World Cup, hosted in South Korea and Japan . I recall finding a cafe and feeling happy that I lived in Spain, where buying a beer at 7am is legally possible if not altogether socially acceptable. Coffee just doesn’t cut it when you’re watching football. I could absolutely imagine sipping Bicycle Kick with an early morning match. As a breakfast beer, they pretty much nailed it.
The beer is a collab between six breweries on five continents (for some reason Oceania didn’t make the cut), instigated by US brewery New Belgium. It’s being released across the world for a limited period, so keep an eye on participating Devil’s Peak outlets if you want to taste (Bicycle Kick launches Friday 25th May in South Africa).
On to the beer: I loved it. Thirst quenching and flavourful and best of all, nothing like any other beer currently on the SA market. The lemongrass lends a lime-like quality to the nose and there’s a whiff of powdered ginger as well. At 5.1% and just 12 IBUs, it’s a fairly delicate beer but the herbal additions don’t overpower the base beer.
That said, the spices are front and centre when you sip, but the aftertaste leaves a lingering hint of malt and a suggestion of floral hops tickling the back of the throat. Then comes the dry finish, which is the only time I thought of chamomile. Bicycle Kick goes down easily and quickly and the six-pack in my fridge is now just a solitary bottle. I think it would pair perfectly with smoked salmon and cream cheese on a potato rosti. Now I just need to check the World Cup schedule and see if I can’t find an excuse to sip the last one for breakfast…