There was a reason Five Barrel had no IPA in their regular range for years: they don’t need one. They had the Hoppy Amber. Of all the beers sampled when The Crafty Pint team first called into Five Barrel in the brewery’s early days and lined up some tasting paddles to sip on, this one was fully gulped down.
In the intervening time it has gone on to become the brewery’s surprise hit – certainly the most popular amongst the beer cognoscenti – and flagship; you only need to try it once to discern the reasons why. You get all the pine and resinous characters of an IPA plus a generous and lingering bitterness, but the malts give it a depth and caramel sweetness that many IPAs don’t display. This is one luscious, delicious and moreish beer.
It became the Navigator Red IPA when they moved to cans, but the beer inside remains the same.