Hey everyone, it’s me, Mick! Coming to you live from paternity leave because Luke Shield threatened me.*
Do you remember that ad from the 90s: "Clean and clear and under control"? Well, it’s not just a slogan for acne cream – it’s also a damn fine description of Sabotage Modern West Coast IPA.
Working Title got the chance to trial some of the new, flowable CO2 extract from Yakima Chief Hops, which is basically a supercharge of hop oils and acids without all that vegetable matter weighing it down. They threw it into Sabotage and, backed up by some Simcoe and Citra pellets, this flowy goodness brought lemon zest with an understated eucalyptus or cedar note to make a really tidy IPA. It’s like the flavours have just combed their hair back, ready for a job interview. They’re neat, well put together, and tucked-in the appropriate amount. It’s like their mum dressed them, but actually their mum works in fashion so that's a good thing.
While we’re on the topic of clean beers from Working Title, Reality Bites is pale and bright and tasting so light. This New Zealand pilsner has enough hop character to say: "I’ll take it from here" to any pils malt flavour you might otherwise expect… but don’t expect it to smack you around. That’s not what this beer is here for.
While there are five different hop varieties in here (Riwaka, Wai-iti, Motueka, Waimea and Nectaron), I’m not really getting five different notes. Just one steady, pleasant wash that’s similar to Mountain Dew. I feel like I'm playing Age of Empires at a LAN party in 2001.**
After a brief introduction via a single keg at the WT taproom a month ago, Rapture New England IPA is now out in cans and out in hands. (To clarify: even when it’s in the hands, it’s still in the cans.)
This foggy nectar smells like sludgy nectarine stirred together with melon and mandarin, and brings those fruits and more to the palate when you start to sip. It’s about as soft as said fruit slurry, too. Maybe even softer. Almost as soft as my baby’s cheeks. But not quite. Nothing is.
Then there’s Vertigo Red Rye IPA, which is browner than ruby but redder than mahogany. It shines brown-red like beautiful cold brew coffee in the sunshine. This red rye is a tall glass of chewy caramel with a hit of chocolate and a bite of spice. I feel like someone held out a cylinder of Rolos and a pack of Big Reds to me, and I went with the Rolos, but I can still smell the Big Reds as they’re taken away. There’s also an aftertaste that leaves the impression of a black coffee liqueur and an amaro.
If that sounds like an interesting mix of flavours to you, you’re spot on. Obviously, the chef at the WT taproom was dazzled by the complex flavours too, since he paired Vertigo with pumpernickel, coffee spiced kangaroo, Morello cherry and lemon balm. What an intense combo. Hope you weren’t expecting simplicity here.
*He said I had to write this on my time off, otherwise he’d tell people about the time he said: "Hi Mick" and I replied: "Good thanks".
**If you don't know what that is, don't worry – you're not missing out. Except in another sense, you've completely missed a seminal experience of the computer age.
Published August 11, 2023 2023-08-11 00:00:00