If I tried to think of a satirical "Batch doing Batch things" release, I reckon I’d struggle to come up with a better trio than what we have here. I mean this in the fondest way possible, of course. Batch’s eclectic mix of invented styles, classics and GABS-worthy silliness is exactly why they’re so beloved. And the lineup today features a modern IPA, an Italian pils and a pickle sour. Marvellous.
Brighter Future IPA is a version of what Batch have called a modern IPA. By my reckoning it’s about three parts West Coast and one part NEIPA and, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a very good-looking ratio. A lot of West Coast IPAs released in the last couple of years have followed a similar path. A lot less reliance on dank, resinous US hops, huge IBUs and caramel malts, they’re mostly cleaner, leaner and all about the tropical dry-hopping.
In the glass, Brighter Future looks like the platonic ideal of a nice IPA: a brilliant golden that you simply must admire for a sec before getting stuck in. Hopped with Mosaic, El Dorado and Huell Melon, there’s a tropical burst of mango, honeydew, peaches and apricot, before launching into gassy pine on the palate. The bitterness is moderate but it’s the kind that sets up shop for a few minutes and quietly dissipates over a crisp, no nonsense finish.
La Sfida (translation: the challenge) is an Italian pilsner and I’m going to go out on a limb here (please don’t cancel me) and say this is head brewer Luigi Mensi’s doing. Italian pilsners are a relatively new lager style developed in the mid-90s in Como, Italy. The style is a kind of unfiltered German pilsner that's dry-hopped like an English cask ale. It’s the extra addition of dry-hopped noble hops that really sets an Italian pilsner apart from it’s contemporaries.
For La Sfida, Batch opted for German hop varieties Perle and Hallertau and it’s a classy combination. In amongst the expected noble herbaceousness is a highlight of lemon and mandarin peel. It’s a beautiful-looking beer, all effervescence and brilliance despite being unfiltered. There’s a rich pilsner malt flavour here that plays perfectly with the lager bittneress that invites the next sip. It’s a lovely example of a great new style that I hope will make it into more and more tanks around the country.
If I remember correctly, In A Pickle first came about in the development of Batch’s infamous GABS Banh Mi beer. The cucumber and Sorachi Ace base sour struck a chord with the brewers who made a note to just brew that next time instead of adding the chilli and pork broth. As someone who’s been tasked with describing this beer to prospective beer drinkers, I really don’t think I’m going to be able to provide you anything that you can’t get from just looking at the label.
Answer me these questions three: Do you like sour beer? Do you like cucumber? Do you like dill? If that’s the case then, like me, you are going to have an enjoyable and refreshing experience. If you answer an emphatic no to any of the above, you’ve really only got yourself to blame.
- IPA, Italian Pilsner & Pickle Sour
- 6.7% & 5.5% & 4.7%