Slipstream have started another IPA series. This is wonderful news. Their Uncharted series is about exploring experimental hop varieties to see what flavours they can wring from them, and I don’t think anyone will have a problem with that.
The first IPA out of the gate is a West Coast featuring HBC 586, a variety cultivated by the Hop Breeding Company in Yakima, Washington. And woof... There is a lot of intense flavour going on here; it’s hard to believe it’s all from a single hop variety.
At first sniff of Uncharted IPA HBC586 I was hit by big, sticky mango with some stone fruit and a herbal edge, but in the mouth the mango dialled back a little to make way for those herbal notes. Meanwhile, resin stuck to my tongue with just enough golden toffee malt character to give the impression of sweetness without actually being sweet. Then a deep, dank bitterness sliced through it all like Alexander’s sword through the Gordian knot, and even though mango and herbal aren’t flavours I’d usually associate with a West Coast IPA, I found myself nodding and thinking, “Classic West Coast.” I’m keen to see more HBC 586 – and more beers from this series.
The latest entry in their Fruit Cart series is a much simpler number. Pour it into a glass and it both looks like Ribena and smells like it; the pinky-purple head even gets out of the way to leave it looking glassy on the surface.
Like most of the Fruit Cart sours, it’s a gentle tartness rather than a bracing sourness – possibly even less sour than some actual mulberries. And trust me, I’ve had my share of sour mulberries. There was a mulberry bush near my house when I was a wee lad, and my brother and I used to pick it clean. We’d fill a bucket while smushing berries into our mouths the whole time. Obviously our mum let out a deep sigh when we arrived home stained purple all over – not just on our faces and hands, but also all the places we’d thrown berries at each other. (Have you even lived if you haven’t had a mulberry fight?)
Enough reminiscing. Fruit Cart Mulberry Sour offers bubbles playing on the tongue, a twinge of grape Hubba Bubba, and a modicum of tartness… but not enough to slow you down.
- Single Hop IPA & Fruit Sour
- 6.5% & 3.5%