Total Score: 8.65/10
Tea leaf in an India Pale Ale is a classic pairing due to the simple fact that a well-made/classic English IPA should have a tea leaf aftertaste anyway. So it’s no surprise that Yeastie Boys (those Kiwi proprietors of experimental brews) have decided to drop a ton of Earl Grey into the wort and brought together this IPA with its historical commodity partner: Tea – IPA was developed during the height of the tea growing era in India (Assam to be precise).
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Appearance is a lovely cloudy deep orange body with wispy half centimetre off-white head that sticks around. Given the 6.5% ABV I’m surprised that it even has a head to start with. 8/10.
S: Big lemon myrtle/bergamot nose on this brew – I hope it isn’t a huge Kiwi tease like Tuatara’s APA was – this is aroma is fantastic, right on the money for what I was expecting. There is a sweet caramel base and linger tea notes in the background. Rarely do I find a beer that I want to smell more than drink but this is one of those brews, amazing! 10/10.
T: Bam! The flavour hits you hard and is almost exactly what you’re expecting: Lemon, bergamot, black tea leaf and a buttery caramel base throughout. It’s the hops that you’re not expecting with real big dirty/earthy tones that balance the sweetness out. Then the finish is a mix of herbal bitterness and a dry black tea tannin. Promise made and delivered, thank you Yeastie Boys. Only negative I can is that tea notes may be off-putting if you don’t like tea. I happen to love a good cuppa though! 9/10.
M: Medium body that is backed up by almost no carbonation whatsoever, which makes it cloy a bit too much. 4/10.
D: Wow, overall a brilliant merging of Earl Grey with IPA, only thing that got me thinking was how it would taste if more American style hops were used (with their pine/citric characters), would it have been better? Who knows. Like I said above Yeastie Boys advertised an Earl Grey IPA and they totally nailed it. If you love tea and beer and have oft wondered what the meeting of these two would produce then get a bottle of this and wrap your gob around it. 9/10.
Food match: I kept thinking about lemon cakes whilst drinking this… I’ve never recommended lemon cakes with anything before, I guess there’s a first time for everything.