I know I’m skipping a few days here. I figured I’d post today’s beer and then work on posting a couple a day until I caught up. I’m glad to be feeling better. Sadly, my little girl and my wife are both feeling a little unwell still. Hopefully they’ll be back to normal before long. I’m glad to be back to writing.
Today we have quite the fun sounding beer. It’s called Palate Tour, it’s a Sour IPA and it comes to us from 8 Wired Brewing out of New Zealand.
The story of 8 wired begins in Western Australia in 2005 when the head brewer, Søren Eriksen was bestowed a coopers brewing kit by his to be wife, Monique. He failed horrible at brewing it, but this started him down the path that would eventually lead to the beer we are tasting today. He began his professional brewing career at Renaissance brewing in Blenheim, NZ. While only planning to stay for 3 months, they were in over their heads in their dream of opening a brewpub. Eventually, Renaissance let them rent their equipment and thus 8-wired was born as a contract brewery.
After 5 years of contract brewing at four different locations, they finally opened their own brewery in Warkworth (North of Auckland) where they brew and package everything. While they do have many beers, they are unique for having a large barrel-aging program. They believe that they have the largest barrel-aging program in the Southern Hemisphere which allows them to focus on a wide range of unique beers, including the Sour IPA we are tasting today.
They currently have about 225 barrels of beer and have recently acquired 7 large Foeders ranging from 1500-4000 litres each. Most of their barrels come from wineries which impart a funky note to their beers.
IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829. At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”. These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed now. Hops are used as a preservative of sorts, to help keep the beer fresh. If you were preparing a beer for a long trip from England to India, you’d need to add a lot of hops. So, while the IPA if consumed in England before shipping would be quite hoppy, at the other end it likely would not. Today, the tradition of hopping beers continues, but we don’t have as far to send them, and the goal is to make a hoppy beer. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipedia, the BJCP Guidelines (Page 37) or IPA Beer.
While these beers are part of the pale ale family, they are strongly hopped and often highlight the variety of flavours and complexities that can come from the simple ingredients used to brew beer. Many will say the IPAs are an acquired taste, and they are rather unique, the bitterness brought using a large quantity of hops is not for everyone. On most IPAs you’ll see an IBU (international bitterness units) number that gives you an idea of how bitter it might be. For comparison, Torque’s American Pale Ale (Foundation) comes in at 30 IBUs, Half-Pints little Scrapper comes in at 50, and Barn Hammer’s Saturday Night Lumberjack at 75 IBUs.
What makes this beer unique is that it has a sour characteristic. They’ve twisted the story on the IPA and have almost replaced the bitterness one would expect with a fruity acidity. I’m excited to see what this ends up tasting like. I’ve had some Wild IPAs (IPAs fermented with wild yeasts) and they’ve been quite nice. So, let’s get to it.
Appearance: Pours a hazy pale golden yellow with a good head that dissipates quickly.
Smell: Citrus and a sourness right on the nose. That acidity is noticeable. There is a bit of a funky note to it as well.
Taste: Front is a sour bready note with some fruity acidity and sour citrus notes (lemon and grapefruit). The finish brings some of that piney and resinous bitterness to the mix.
Mouthfeel: Light body, dry bitter finish.
Overall: Super interesting. There are certainly some IPA characteristics here with the citrus notes and the resinous bitter finish. The addition of the fruity acidity brings a nice funky character to this beer. Elements of both an IPA and a sour ale are here for sure.
Do I like it: Nice tart and hoppy IPA. I’ve had a few of this style and I really enjoy them. I’m a big fan of sour beers and I think they bring a bit more depth to the IPA. I really enjoyed it.