Ocean Reach weren't the first, and haven't been the last, to embark on an Artist Series. But their chosen partners have certainly turned out results that tickle the fancy more than most at Crafty Towers.
Before we get to that side of their vaporwave-inspired duo with Aidan Howes, whose work has also appeared on beers from the likes of Black Hops, Mountain Culture and Sunday Road, the beers themselves... With Synth Blossoms, they return to a style they've played with a few times in the past, and one which they've been refining over time. This NEIPA is another fine example: it looks just as it should and delivers a hearty waft of tropi-citrus-stonefruit aromas with a rounded creaminess. The booze is kept wrapped up in that doona-like texture yet the bitterness isn’t smothered. Indeed, it’s very much as it should be in an IPA and comes without any of the textural prickle that can feel out of place when it appears in such beers.
Accompanying the NEIPA is Redshift Horizon, a double red IPA, and may I just say (probably not for the first time) how splendid beers like this can look? Those deep autumnal hues just feel worthy of respect. Maybe even a shallow bow or curtsy towards your glass before tucking in. This has the burnished glory of a Belgian dubbel but soon dispels such thoughts courtesy of the intensity of its sticky citrus-and-berries-soaked toffee aromas.
It's nimbler on its feet than it has any right to be – the carbonation and bitterness no doubt playing their part – and switches that intense upfront fruitiness for a lingering, toasted and fruitily bitter finish. A big beer in a big can you’ll find hard to share.
As for those big cans, at a glance they really are quite lovely, but they're also worth closer inspection, full of cute gags and cheeky touches. They've also led me to fire up Stainless Style on the speakers: the concept album dedicated to the founder of the DeLorean Motor Company by Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys' occasional side project Neon Neon. Crack a can, try Raquel or I Told Her On Alderaan and tell me life can't be great.
Published May 12, 2023 2023-05-12 00:00:00