Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday Craft Beer Review: Tuatara's Indian Pale Ale

Having already reviewed a couple of Tuatara beers, I was loath to take on another. But, it just so happens that Tuatara's Indian Pale Ale is pretty much my favourite beer, not to mention one that I often measure others against. So I need to get the review out of the way.

Along with Garage Project, I think Tuatara are leading the way in the NZ craft beer scene. They have all sorts of other interesting beers like a Tiramisu Oatmeal Stout, a Spicy Red Rye Pale Ale, and a very refreshing Pacific Pale Ale. What originally drew me to their Indian Pale Ale though, was a couple of comments on the label. Basically their declaration that any craft brewery worth their salt will first and foremost offer a high quality traditional style IPA. I reckon they’re on the money there. Good call.

While craft beer is so much more than IPAs, much of the variety is found in the way that IPAs can tweaked. You can find Black IPAs, Red IPAs, White Mango infused IPAs, coffee IPAs, APA’s, Double or Imperial IPAs etc etc. Appreciating this, if you are going to go freelance and mix things up, then you should really nail a “traditional” style IPA first. The benchmark.

Tuatara promote this IPA as “true to form” and a “proper English-style” IPA. With that in mind we should be expecting full malt body as well as a decent hoppy finish. But it should be really balanced as well. Let's see. 

Price: $6.99 500mils

Alcohol content: 5.0%

Colour: A lovely amber gold. A nice frothy head. Not many bubbles.

Aroma: Smells tropical, apricots and herbs. Doesn't smell as herbaceous as some IPAs or as most APA's tend to be. 

Palate: So refreshing. Sweet fruitiness - apricots, peaches, passionfruit. And then refreshing hops. The hops are mellow though, not strong or sharp biting at your tongue. They dance throughout the fruit notes perfectly. It’s delicious.

Finish: As you swallow the sweet fruits give way to the tangy hops which then quickly mellow into smooth warm malty flavours. I reckon the subtle sweetness of cookie dough. The lingering taste is then the tartness of hops on the roof of your mouth.

On the Chart: Tuatara’s IPA really is a classic. It is that little bit more hoppy rather than malty, as one would expect in an IPA, but the hops don’t overpower and the creamy sweetness of the malt certainly shines. It’s also a wonderful balance between complex and simple. It’s refreshing but there is also plenty happening with different flavours and subtleties to look for. With that in mind I land the Tuatara Indian Pale Ale left of centre (hoppy and malty) and also want to tip my hat to enough complexity to make it perfect.

Conclusion: For a while my favourite craft beers were the big Double IPAs loaded up with hops. Ultimately though, the hoppy floral bitterness was too much. This IPA balances things so nicely. It really is delightfully delicious. 10/10. 

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