Total Score: 8.55/10
Good golly Miss Molly there’s been some damn fine beers being brewed in old Aussieland, and HopDog are one of Doc’s favourite new brewers… Yes, yes, I’ve only tried An American Werewolf In Belgium – but damn if it didn’t blow the socks right off my feet and into the laundry basket… hmmm, that gives me an idea for ‘rocket-propelled basket-homing socks’ (patent pending). Anyway HopDog had me with Chai Fighter the moment I saw the cheesy pun on the label, it went into the shopping basket I didn’t have time to read what it was.
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Full naturtrüb* orange/light brown body (I gave the yeast at the bottom of the bottle a good agitation) with a thick creamy white head, looks an absolute treat! 8/10.
S: It’s just as you would imagine as the offspring for a Pale Ale and a Chai tea, the spices are heady cinnamon/clove, the hops are citrusy (a new word for OED) and there is added orange peel floating around in the background, muscling right in on hops territory. 8/10.
T: Ooooo, this is why HopDog do it for me – this is f@%king experimental stuff! Victor Frankenstein would be pleased with this. As advertised: Cinnamon/aniseed/clove, orange peel, caramel malt, with a finish that is pure black tea tannin. The bitterness is spot on APA and the flavours are having a party in my mouth [and yes – everyone is invited]. A second sip reveals an intriguing note of mango, which could only be the hops. 9/10.
M: Mid to light bodied, probably the biggest complaint is that it could benefit from more body, with a light but sharp carbonation. 7/10.
D: So I’ve reviewed over 400 beers now†, which at a guess is around a third of the beers I have ever tasted, and HopDog have twice pleasantly surprised me with beers that I’ve never even thought of let alone tasted before (except the American Werewolf which I compared to Little Creatures The Quiet American). Needless to say this is quite a feat and I hope I haven’t exhausted the crazy brews they make because I am TLF (Tripping the Light Fantastic) with this fine Ale. 9/10.
Food match: I think I’ve found the perfect match for Tibetan/Nepalese cuisine…
*Naturtrüb: Pronounced “Na-twa-twoob” is the German term for “cloudy”, I use it to denote a beer that is particularly cloudy with yeast sediment floating around.
†I’ve been slowly uploading all my beer reviews to IHM, at an estimate it will be another year before they’re all online!