It is perhaps no secret to those that know me, or regularly follow my ramblings, that I am not the beer world’s biggest NEIPA fan. I tend to like my IPAs bitter and crisp and don’t generally find New England IPAs to be particularly thirst quenching. Also, in South Africa at least, I don’t find them to be very good. Well this one is good – definitely one of the best I’ve tried in SA.
The aroma/flavour profile is pretty much what you’d expect from a juicy IPA – lots of mango, hints of citrus and an undertone of stewed peaches. It’s a little more bitter than many NEIPAs, which is probably why I prefer it to a lot of them. But it’s not just that – the flavours here really pop. So many South African attempts at the style have been left seriously lacking in the hop flavour/aroma department, with a muddled nose and flavours as murky as the beer’s characteristic appearance.
I don’t know if this is because people don’t want to splash out on the hops (Canned Grenade uses 15g per litre – this is not a money-maker beer) or if it’s perhaps because many of the brewers attempting the style haven’t had much experience in tasting world-class NEIPAs and therefore find it tough to brew a good one. It is definitely not a style that keeps or travels well and should be drunk as fresh as possible, so unless brewers are lucky enough to be travelling overseas, they won’t be tasting NEIPAs as they were meant to be drunk.
So where can you get your hands on a Canned Grenade as soon as possible in order to drink it at its best? Well the beer, a collab between Drifter and mobile canning company Tiny Keg, is available in select liquor stores and bars in Gauteng and KZN. And if you’re in the Cape? Well if you missed the raucous launch at Drifter a few weeks back, you can still get your hands on Canned Grenade through League of Beers. Order yourself a mixed case this month and get this guy in the fridge as soon as your beers arrive. Don’t wait around for a special occasion or a special person to drink it with. Order, chill, drink. And if you enjoyed it as much as I did, then possibly repeat.