It's a good old-fashioned One Drop quadruple feature this week, and it feels like I've gotta come up with a different way of saying this is a ridiculous mix of different beers every time but, genuinely, these four beers are going completely hog wild. Let's not stand on ceremony folks, it's time to get crazy.
We'll ease in gently with the most normal beer of the week, which just happens to be a cold rice IPA brewed in collaboration with Japanese brewers West Coast Brewing ahead of Pint of Origin 2023. Yujo (meaning friendship) is another in a series of collaborations borne out of a trip to the hop farms of Aotearoa. As such, this little gem is loaded with fresh Cascade, Nelson Sauvin and Riwaka on a base of malt and rice, fermented with a lager yeast with a cheeky finish of yuzu juice.
Pouring a gorgeous clear gold with a sticky white head, Yujo is a big friendly cuddle of hoppy citrus and crisp, clean malt. The hops combined with the yuzu juice bring out orange juice, sauvignon blanc, lemon peel and mandarin. The rice and lager ferment provides a simple but effective base for the hops to shine through a decent bitter kick satisfyingly dry finish. At 6.5 percent ABV it's not exactly a session beer but, woof, it certainly drinks like it.
The second IPA for the week is Ethereal Wave, a DIPA utilising some new techniques and products to produce a huge tropical aroma and flavour compounds. They key ingredient here is Phantasm powder, which is made from the skins of sauvignon blanc grapes discarded in the winemaking process but very high in naturally occurring thiols. Thiols are the big thing in hoppy beers at the moment and One Drop at are the forefront of jamming as much of them as possible into their big IPAs.
Turns out the Ethereal Wave is a pale ochre, civilisation-ending tsunami of all-out hoppy devastation [which came second in our 2023 Pint of Origin IPA Blind Tasting Championship – Editor]. There's massive notes of pineapple, lime, grapes, plums, peaches and just general hoppiness. The malt grist is thick and slightly sweet, which helps balance out a resinous bitterness. It really feels like a great deal of attention was paid to the fermentation of this beer because, even outside of all the hops, the beer itself is expressive, well-attenuated and surprisingly drinkable.
You didn't really think the One Drop collaborations stopped with IPAs did you? One Drop have also managed to sneak their way into the Scandinavian Pint of Origin takeover at Beermash with this collaboration with Sweden's Duckpond Brewing, the Skankin' Mallard. NB If you've never been before, a quad-fruited imperial gose at Beermash during Pint of Origin won't even make the top five silliest beers they'll have on.
This cherry red elixir is a heady mix of banana, mango, chardonnay juice, raspberry with a late addition of lemon and lactose to round it all out. Out of the gate, the banana and mango are so prominent that, in a blind tasting, there's no way you'd predict what this beer actually looks like. That breakfast juice combination mellows after the first few sips while your palate tries in vain to adjust to everything that's going on. You then start getting the tart juice from the grapes and lemon, the lactose sweetness and salinity all coming together to form a triumvirate of finely balanced deliciousness.
While the previous three beers have all been pretty adventurous, they don't quite meet the sheer inventiveness of our final beer for the week, Bougie. It appears as if One Drop have taken small pieces from each of the other beers this week and just let loose. Bougie is labelled as a Moscato Sour but what that actually means is this is a beer-wine hybrid of a soured beer that's been fermented by a lager yeast with chardonnay juice and passionfruit, and dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin before being conditioned on staves of American oak. I know, right?
Whatever you think this beer is going to smell and taste like, you're probably only half correct in every aspect. All the elements on the label are evident and are doing their very best to fight for supremacy. There's a heap of vanilla oak on the nose along with white wine, lime and passionfruit. All this grape juice runs roughshod on the palate resulting in juicy sweetness and a moderate hit of acidity with a slightly tannic finish. If I'm not mistaken, One Drop have dialled up the carbonation levels which ties it all together in a champagne like spritzy effervescence. Bougie is utterly disorientating but in the best possible way.
Published May 18, 2023 2023-05-18 00:00:00