Going by these two beers, One Drop have filled their brewery with Bunsen burners, white coats and countless glass vials of brightly coloured bubbling liquids to bring you two experimental IPAs straight out of the lab. The first being a different mixture of hop varieties added in ways that differ from the norm and the second arriving fully nude in a glowing sphere between a couple of semi-trailers in the One Drop parking lot.
To be honest, when I read the description of The Fiddler, it really didn’t seem especially experimental compared to most of One Drop’s more out there offerings. But I guess if you’re making a hop forward IPA, trying out a different hop combination with different methods of hopping is the equivalent of chucking a bunch of prunes and dragonfruit into a dessert stout.
The new hop combo in question here comprises an international array of Wai-iti, CryoPop, Mosaic, Huell Melon and Galaxy. The hazy, straw-coloured brew packs a massive tropical aroma that is potent enough to be smelt metres away. Big hits of nectarine, guava, mango, grapefruit and lime peel lay the platform for an easy-drinking and relatively low ABV IPA. Understandably, the body can’t quite keep up with the aromas but there’s a nice grainy note and juicy hop compounds that provide a smooth moderate bitterness.
I decided to taste their second weekly offering at the local bikie bar while shooting pool with a couple of buddies. So I popped on my boots and leathers, tucked my Colt Series 70/Detonics 1911 Hybrid pistol into my waistband, fired up my beloved 1991 Harley Davidson Fat Boy and cruised on down to The Corral. I’m not entirely sure what happened next but the second I opened up the T-3022 Synthetic IPA I blacked out and woke up nude in the kitchen with third degree burns on my hands.
One Drop have named this a Synthetic IPA because it contains no actual vegetative hop matter whatsoever. What it does contain is no less than seven different processed hop derivatives currently on the market. These are mostly distilled hop oils of various varieties, processed in various ways and marketed by various producers. Many brewers are already using one or other of these products in their beers, but I daresay no one has ever used this many in a single iteration.
The T-3022 pours an attractive sunset gold with a fluffy off-white head. The aroma is maddening. I’m not a master beer taster by any stretch but everything except the appearance of this beer baffled me. On the nose I think I could discern something like orange oil and passionfruit purée but it was mixed amongst a bunch of almost intangible oily aromas that I’m not good enough to describe. It wasn’t unpleasant, just unexpected. In the body department, the initial impression was intense but it was kind of like a movie set.
There’s all the fixtures of an IPA: hop compounds, bitterness, a touch of malt sweetness – but if you try to peep behind the curtain it seems like it was all a façade. Honestly, I have no idea if I liked it or not, but I would really like that motorbike back.
Published December 9, 2022 2022-12-09 00:00:00