I remember when there was precisely one IPA available in South Africa. Or at least only one that I wanted to drink. These days many, if not most, breweries offer some take on the IPA. All too often, these are dialed-back versions of the real thing, with recipes than seriously scrimp on hops (here’s an example). You’ll be pleased to know that new new IPA from contract brewer Aces Brew Worx does not scrimp on hops.
With great head retention and just a touch of haze, this is a great beer to look at (see left) and the body/carbonation are perfect. The aroma is, however somewhat muted. There is mango and peach in there, plus a definite whiff of flowers – roses and violets actually dominate. It’s a pleasant aroma but lacks that punch in the face with pine or citrus or passion fruit that you might be expecting.
There’s a touch of malt on the aroma, and plenty when you sip – generously toasted bread and a mouthful of toffee. But while malt flavours are in danger of overriding hop flavours, there is certainly no shortage of hop bitterness. Let’s just say if you like seriously bitter beers, you will probably enjoy this. That said, I love me some bitterness (which apparently makes me a psycho), but I actually found the finish here a little harsh. It’s an IPA best enjoyed with food – consider something salty and/or bitter if you want to calm the bitterness in the beer. If I had another bottle, I would order my go-to pizza, often called the Napoletana (although my hub refers to it as “salt lick pizza”). It’s anchovies, capers and olives – the perfect amount of salt and bitterness to counter a particularly bitter beer.