To mark IPA Day 2023, the Sailors Grave team headed to Salmon Rocks at West Cape, close to their Marlo home, and raised a glass of their West Cape IPA. They also left some cans to be claimed by the first person to follow in their footsteps. They would have made a lovely surprise for the winning treasure hunter, and the beer, West Cape IPA, represents something of a surprise too.
It's not as if Sailors Grave haven't released IPAs before – Drowned Man has been core range since the off, and they've put out red IPAs and the creamy Squid Vs Whale series since then, for example – but I would be lying if I didn't admit to picking up my sample and looking to see what ingredient foraged from the Gippsland coast had made its way into the brew. But whaddya know: there's nowt here but malt, water, yeast and hops – and a pretty classic US trio of Citra, Simcoe and Chinook too. Despite their presence, however, this is very much a West Coast IPA for today. There's little evidence of Chinook’s piney, spicy side, for example, but there is plenty of sherberty, lolly-like citrus and apricot accompanying the light caramel base, making for an IPA that's clean, lively and with a crisp rather than bitter finish.
Perhaps they felt they'd satisfied their urge to dose beers with atypical ingredients when conjuring Apples Will Make Pyes, another entry in their "imperial pie beer" series. There's a pretty strong clue as to what's going on in the title here: seven different apple varieties feature, along with vanilla, oats and pie spices. They come together in a beer that has the appearance of a Saison Dupont – the hazy, sunset orange liquid and thick, finely-beaded head – and the character of, well, an imperial apple pie beer, I guess.
The aforementioned pie spices waft through the metaphorical crust first and stick around to dry out the finish too, while in between times the impact of the apples is more on the tangy, acidic side, with the base malts and dash of vanilla charged with bringing the sweetness. It makes for a mouth-filling, slightly puckering liquid spin on the sort of glazed and dusted pastries made famous by the bakers of Northern Europe.
Published August 7, 2023 2023-08-07 00:00:00