Frenchies love to work with others at their Rosebery brewery and, as they celebrate turning six, they're doing just that with a couple of fresh collabs released alongside their birthday beer.
Their newest collaborator is Antoin, a gypsy brewing mate of Frenchies' co-founder Vince who goes by the brewing name Prickly Pete and the Wolf. The beer, A Tropical Love Potion, covers a few bases with its style tag: hazy xtra pale ale. It's definitely hazy yet more like a traditional pale ale in terms of weight than the flightier XPAs of today. There’s a fruit-can-syrup density to the texture, serving up pineapple, stonefruit and ripe melon aplenty, with a little prickle and resinous lick cutting into the sweetness of what remains a fuller-than-most example of the style.
Their Cool Kids series of single hop explorations with Hopsters is now at Vol 21 and, I know this might sound odd, but it tastes mauve. Let me try to expand... Motueka hops out of NZ are typically known for their citrusy, tropical characteristics; here it appears in "hop kief" form and is really quite a different experience. Sure, it's creamier and fuller of body as the can promises, but aromatically it's got an 80s potpourri vibe, reminding me of the Anaïs Anaïs perfume my mum would buy duty free on ferry trips to Calais when we lived on the Kent coast.
I'm not saying this hazy IPA is exactly like said perfume, which is said to give off lemon leaf, orange, Lily of the Valley, jasmine, rose, sandalwood, vanilla and creamy musk notes, but I'm not saying it's far from that either.
Which brings us to birthday beer Trippin Balls, which offers a nice snapshot of how the world has changed since Frenchies launched. A tripel is the sort of beer they'd have brewed in those early days; the name, can design, and double dry-hopping, however, are a long way from the elegant simplicity of how they presented themselves back then.
There's some of their own multigrain bread, sweet orange peel and coriander in the mix, but it feels like the Belgian yeast does as much of the work here. I pick up cloves aplenty, a little almond, and a Madeira cake-like sweetness, albeit one soaked with apricot jus and sprinkled with sweet cake spices. Yum.
Published September 8, 2023 2023-09-08 00:00:00