It’s always a pleasant surprise for me when a hazy IPA has more than just tropical fruit going for it. In Seventh State NEIPA, I got a distinct dankness on the nose along with sweet stonefruit; that dankness continued on the palate, with the stonefruit swapped out for notes of mango and a slow rising bitterness that almost certainly won’t bring about doomsday.*
With nine out of ten hazies being described as fluffy, it can be hard to describe the feel of one that hits that mark without resorting to hyperbolic language like "feels like the innards of a thousand teddy bears". So perhaps I won’t overthink it, and will simply say that Seventh State feels soft and smooth and leave it at that.
Newstead’s barrel program is eight years in now, and it’s been called Zoo right from the start, referring to all the little beasties that run rampant in the barrels they use. (I am, of course, referring to microorganisms, not rats or anything.) Zoo V-10 is certainly showing the fruits of those years of the micro-menagerie.
For those interested in what it is, I’ll pass on Newstead’s info about it: “A malted oat dominant wort was fermented clean in stainless steal with Notto yeast. The beer was then put in ex-Bourbon barrels for 16 months. The barrels had various Brettanomyces, Pediococcus and Lactobacillus spp. from various previous Zoo beers. To round it out with complexity and more sourness we blended in two more barrels from the stables. One was a kettle sour, pale and lemony, aged in ex-Chardonnay barrels for 12 months. The other was a Brett heavy copper beer aged 12 months in ex-Tequila barrels.”
For those interested in what I thought of it: this drank like a bourbon whiskey sour.
In my mind, the complexity and blending here are less about layers than about making a beautifully cohesive whole. The bourbon came through in a way that I haven’t experienced in a barrel sour before, clearly and bringing its sweetness to the table where they may not otherwise have been any. A spike of sourness at the first sip eases off to reveal fruity esters playing with the bourbon, but then the lemony sourness builds again and holds its own against the smooth vanilla and caramel of the bourbon barrel.
*The description on the Seventh State can begins: “In a kilometre long tunnel deep under the suburb of Newstead our mad scientist brewers have had a breakthrough, achieving a new state of beer…” I’m fairly sure this is a reference to the Large Hadron Collider, but since I understand shockingly little about physics, all I know about the LHC is that it shoots particles to make them crash into each other and that when it was built some people were scared the collisions would create tiny black holes that would consequently bring about the end of the world. Which is, you know, not terrifying at all. But at least it hasn’t happened yet.
Published December 20, 2022 2022-12-20 00:00:00