"Cali IPAs, dry and bitter, without the dank and resin, loaded with tropical hops. Is this the perfect beer or what?" So say Working Title.
Personally, I have a skeptical scowl on my face at the whole concept of someone trying to remove dank and resin from West Coast IPAs because I love those flavours so. But “people like to try different flavours” and “not every beer has to be a dank bomb” – or so my therapist says.* With that in mind, I can concede that Cali IPAs can actually be tasty beers. And this is one such drink.
Prime Time surprised me a little. Not with its fruitiness; that was expected. Stonefruit and citrus zest rushed in and filled every part of my noseholes (you may know them as nostrils), courtesy of the El Dorado, Idaho 7 and Simcoe hops, along with dip-hopping with Citra.
No, the part that surprised me was what the malt did. A dry malt character in the mouth came across as almost nutty, like you’d expect from an English mid or ESB or brown ale. This was surprising because Prime Time is definitely not those things. For one thing, it's bright orangey-gold. For another, it's loaded with modern hops and spewing out the aforementioned fruit notes. But hey, I’m not complaining. It worked. The more I drank, the more that earthy nuttiness was joined by honey malt character, and it all integrated with the hop notes quite nicely.
With Gremlins, we get an image of mischievous hairy critters running around causing mayhem. But I’m not talking about Mogwai from the film Gremlins; I’m talking about Mark and Luke from Working Title and Nick from One Drop. It’s fair to expect all kinds of funny business when these chaotic creatures get together.
In this case, it’s a hazy IPA focused on thiols, those compounds that unlock a whole lot of tropical and citrus aromas. In the words of Mark: “Using Motueka and Cascade hops rich in free thiols and yeast that’s pretty good at releasing bound thiols combined with Calypso Salvo and savvy b juice that’s full of thiols and we have a thioliscious adventure into a tropical wonderland.”
You don’t have to be interested in biochemistry to get the most out of this beer. It’s oozing with fruit character: mango nectar with a dose of orange juice, and flurry of stonefruit led by nectarine. It’s sweet and soft and smooth, billowing through the mouth without a hint of astringency. And unlike some hazies, Gremlins hasn't forgotten that malt is, in fact, an ingredient in beer, and that such a fact doesn't need to be disguised. A gentle malt character sits in the background during the the easy finish, playing out the more lively hop flavours like the soundtrack behind the final credits.
And because one Working Title collab is never enough, here’s one more: Ripe, another creation of Working Title and Bracket.
This beer was made in the frantic week leading up to the opening of the former’s venue. In the mess of scattered boxes and hurried tradesmen and a quietly-sobbing Luke, this sour came to life neatly: co-fermented on well-behaved Nottingham yeast and appropriately naughty lactobacillus, and then going through a secondary fermentation on a trouble-making amount of berries. (“A business crippling amount of mulberry and raspberry,” to use Luke’s words.)
It’s one of those sours that is far easier to drink than you’d expect it has any right to be (especially for its 7 percent ABV). It’s the childhood joy of red cordial woven through with the richness of freshly-picked mulberries. The acidity is a kind companion rather than a pushy one. It simply drinks as the tartness of whole raspberries, and is joined by the pop of sweetness you’d also get from said berries. To be clear, though, there’s a dry crispness to it all; the sweetness really is just a pop.
Working Title + Bracket: Beers You’d Happily Drink.™?
*My therapist and I don’t really talk about beer. We mostly talk about my pathological need to lie for the sake of humour.
Published May 3, 2023 2023-05-03 00:00:00