Another year. Another iteration of Medusa and Kronos - but this time, both in 440ml cans.
My first impression of this year’s Medusa was an unexpected one: crisp. Never thought I'd describe a 7.6 percent ABV black IPA as "crisp" but there you go. The dry body acts as a surprisingly clean slate for something that has dark roast facing off against a barrage of hops.
Usually in a black IPA (or any IPA, for that matter), it’s the hops that hit you first, with the malt following after. With this year’s Medusa, I found the roastiness and charry bitterness to lead the way. It’s not that the hops were subtle; they were just a little shy, and took their time in coming out to play. But when they did they were energetic and fruity. The combo ended up being citrus sherbet bombs... but paired with cold espresso. Fresh pineapple and herbs atop some wok-charred rice.
If you want to go even bigger and darker than Medusa, turn your attention to Kronos 23. It’s a 12 percent ABV Russian imperial stout that’s black as motor oil. Obviously I don’t mean that yellowish clear oil they use in modern cars; I’m talking the black sludgy stuff that you drop behind you in a game of Super Nintendo’s Rock’n’Roll Racing to make the other cars skid, crash and blow up.*
Fight your way through the thick brown head that smells of burnt caramel, and you’ll encounter the liquid as brawny and glorious as it enters your mouth. It’s dark coffee cake with a boozy sweetness. Kind of like if you started chowing down on tiramisu while you were part way through making it - you’ve drenched the lady fingers in coffee and liqueur, but you haven’t added the mascarpone yet. As it warms the chest, you know this beer is going to age damn well. Which I suppose Helios knows too, since they’ve stuck a bunch of it into whiskey barrels. I almost regret drinking mine instead of putting it into a tiny barrel myself.
*This SNES game was a huge part of my childhood. I have great memories of blowing up rival cars, nodding along to the distorted guitar of the thumpin’ soundtrack, and quoting the kickass commentary with my brother. “RIP IS ABOUT TO BLOW! SHRED IS DOMINATING THE RACE! VIPER JAMS INTO FIRST! OLAF IS IN ANOTHER TIMEZONE!”
Published August 19, 2023 2023-08-19 00:00:00