Why stick to just one type of native plum in a sour beer when you can go with two, in the case of Shapeshifter's Blush both Kakadu and Davidson's varieties imparting their presence upon a light pilsner and wheat malt base. It's a 4.5 percent ABV easy-drinker, released in June to help balance the imperial stouts and barleywines that winter typically brings, which takes its name from its colour and delivers a lightly sweet, sherbety aroma that's a combination of berries and plums. Add in some earthiness poking through the gently tart acidity and sweet plum, carbonation that's a touch higher than usual and creating a spritzy effect, and a dry finish counteracting that initial sweetness and you've got a palate-cleanser for what lies ahead from the Findon brewers...
It's not often you receive a clutch of limited from Shapeshifter without a well-made hazy IPA in the mix, and here comes Hidden Agenda doing just that. Despite the name, they've shared the recipe in full, with half a dozen types of grain / malt alongside Citra Incognito, Cashmere, Azacca and Triumph hops. And there's no hiding the hops at all with the London Ale 111 yeast helping them deliver their candied sweet orange citrus, juicy apricots, peach and even a little resin nice and clean in a beer with a light, soft mouthfeel.
Putting the pedal to the metal is Turbo Time, a rare venture into barleywine territory for Shapeshifter, which they figured tasted pretty good while it was fermenting, but figured it might taste even better if it spent some time in American whisky barrels. Such a move enhanced the flavours and complexity, while boosting booze content to 11.7 percent.
And next level it is: thick and syrupy but, weirdly, still incredibly drinkable. There is a red tinge to a liquid that serves up dried fruits – sweet currants and raisins – plus a good whack of caramel, some oak and a little vanilla, with the spirit tying everything together. The hefty, boozy, upfront sweetness is balanced by 70 IBUs of bitterness, leaving you with a beer that's rich, complex and delicious.
Published June 27, 2023 2023-06-27 00:00:00