Devil’s Peak have come up against a lot of flack in recent years. Their focus has shifted quite dramatically from cutting edge craft to mainstream lager. They’ve upset brewers large and small with price wars and tap takeovers, and even The King’s Blockhouse has come under fire for being a shadow of its former self. Blockhouse is now utilising Cryo hops and while I fully acknowledge that its hop character had dwindled, I can confidently say the King has returned. That said, I’m not drinking much of it at the moment, because I can’t get my face out of the grapefruit version.
The sense of smell is hugely evocative and when I dip my nose into this beer, I’m suddenly on a summer holiday. I’m not sure if it’s the grapefruit juice of the hotel breakfast buffet or the memory of beach traders peddling freshly cut fruits, but I can almost feel the sand between my toes when I sniff this beer.
It goes down almost as easily as breakfast juice too, although the 6% ABV starts to show itself about half way down a glass, making you think it might actually work better post-lunch than pre-breakfast.
It’s all but impossible to pick up any malt here and some would find it a little heavy-handed with the grapefruit. Me? Well, if there was a kind of reimagined Reinheitsgebot and only one fruit was to be admitted in beer, then grapefruit would be it.
As it warms up, just a touch of digestive biscuit-like malt escapes the glass and the hops start to make their presence known, with subtle whiffs of mango and guava lingering behind the grapefruit. There is plenty of bitterness here, and you can almost imagine you might have just chewed on a slither of grapefruit peel as the beer goes down.
All in all, it’s a great beer that will appeal to fans of IPA and pale ale and most definitely not appeal to those who don’t enjoy grapefruit. As long as Devil’s Peak keep this in their core stable, I can forgive everything…except, perhaps, that singing belly advert…