It would be remiss of this writer to expect anything less than six beers in quick succession from Rocky Ridge after covering the Jindong brewers for so long but, still, the sheer variety still comes as a surprise on this occasion.
This half-dozen includes four IPAs – three hazy leaning and one West Coast, along with a classic brown ale and stout laced with adjuncts, as is often the way at Rocky Ridge.
To start with a classic, Karlifornication (5.5%) is an IPA with West Coast specs. Golden and just a smidge hazy, modestly bittered and dominated by fresh fruit characters of orange, pineapple, mango, and apricot. it’s surprisingly light and clean finishing despite a robust, fruity profile.
As for the hazies, Dr Karl (8.5%) comes with a point of difference. The Rocky Ridge brewers went down the experimental route here with a step mash process designed to yield a particularly thick, juicy body and Nelson Sauvin SubZero Hop Kief liquid and passionfruit-infused, freeze-dried Kohia Nelson pellets from Freestyle Hops joined by El Dorado ‘Salvo’ CO2 hop extract employed within. If you’re not exactly sure what all that means, just know that Dr Karl is a medium-bodied IPA with massive hop flavour but low bitterness – an exceptional example of the juicy IPA subcategory.
Hiphopopotamus (6.5%) and Rhymenoceros (6.0%) are a New Zealand duo worthy of attention, much like the duo from which their name is derived: The Flying Conchords. The former is an NZ hazy dense with vibrant fresh fruit characters of sweet citrus, orange, pineapple stone fruit and mango. Some residual sweetness and an easygoing bitterness boost drinkability. Rhyme, on the other hand, is a touch bolder thanks to a maltier body in which caramel malts and rye feature. NZ hops are still prominent and bitterness is a touch boosted, but this NZ red rye IPA remains smooth and approachable with a hint of spice.
We’re back to the classics with It’s Still Good (5.0%), a brown ale in which no tricksy hop products were harmed. Instead, a robust grain bill yields notes of stewed fruits, spice and a profile reminiscent of cola. It’s simple but, as is often the case, sometimes the simpler the better, and this brown ale, courtesy of brewer Drew, is a pleasure thanks to its minimalism.
To round out the six is a maple coffee breakfast stout titled Ken Oats (7.0%). In a somewhat ironic twist, however, this stout leans closer to dessert than brekkie. Sweet maple dominates while coffee is just present. Rich and generous on the palate, sweetness lingers after each sip while malt complexity adds plenty of caramel and chocolate notes. A breakfast of champions, perhaps?
Published June 14, 2023 2023-06-14 00:00:00