Well, I’ll be. I thought I knew what to expect from an English-style IPA, but this one knocked me for six. I’ve had English IPAs before, but none of them tasted like this – not the imported ones I’ve tried (which aren’t as fresh as they should be) nor the Australian-brewed examples aiming to replicate the style.
The Old Enemy isn’t just labelled as an English IPA but as a Burton-upon-Trent IPA, and I’m grateful for the distinction; as mentioned, this isn’t what most of us would describe as a modern English IPA. Rather, it’s an attempt to capture the historical roots of the style: those bitter pale ales brewed in Burton-upon-Trent for export to the Indian market, and then marketed in England as India ales or India pale ales.
With much research, Parched have made something complex and intriguing, and the taste bowled me over. Sweet and bitter, earthy and spicy, biscuity and floral and fruity and caramelly and sharp and herbaceous. There are places where you can pull the layers apart in your mind – the floral bitterness of the Challenger and East Kent Goldings hops, the honey undertones of the traditional English malts, the wisps of floaty pear and melon that the Burton ale yeast releases – but there are also times where you can’t distinguish what’s what, and are just left to enjoy the complexities as they come.
You think you know what IPAs are like, and then you’re hit with this. How’s that?
- English IPA