This self-professed “Indochine Pale Ale” comes packed with Vietnamese mint, lime, mango, chilli and hops such as Centennial, Citra and Amarillo – I’m not gonna lie to you: my tongue is excited by the mere prospect of these flavours coming together and once again those boys (and quite possibly girls) from Wellington, NZ’s little known capital city, have hooked me (line and sinker) with a brew that sounds as awesome as it does crazy. Let’s hope I haven’t pinned my expectations too high like I did with their smooth and balanced Cereal Milk Stout.
Poured from a 440ml can into a nonic pint.
A: Presents a deep cloudy amber (almost caramel) body with a billowy 2cm off-white head that slowly drops back leaving spider web lacing on the side of the glass. In the words of Darth Vader: “Impressive… most impressive *PAH-PHUR*”. 9/10.
S: I’m not sure if it’s a massive hop hit upfront but the aroma comes through with a spicy tropical character that stamps its authority all over the olfactory senses. Bring it on! Hints of mint and mango pop in for a visit as well. For a self-styled Indochine Pale Ale it fits the aroma bill perfectly – I could imagine this with a big bowl of Vietnamese shredded pork vermicelli salad with fresh coriander, chilli and bean shoots. 9/10.
T: The flavour instead plants this brew firmly in West Coast IPA territory with those Centennial, Citra and Amarillo hops shining through with textbook grapefruit, pine and lemon characters. There is a hint of chilli spice in there but apart from this you get the impression that the mint, lime and mango only serve to amplify the hop flavours, which is a bit of a shame because it loses the possibility of bringing something different to the already full IPA table. Finish is a medium citric bitterness with a hint of chilli. 7/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with bags of hop oiliness throughout and a sharp carbonation (although the spice heat could be toying with my perception there). 7/10.
D: I really wanted to love this beer, and don’t get me wrong my final verdict is fairly generous considering my disappointed tone of writing, however this brew is a missed opportunity as far as I see it – it could have gone much further with the Vietnamese adjuncts and brought us a real slice of Vietnam in a bottle (or in this case a can). As it is the only adjunct that really shone through over the hops was the chilli spice… I was looking forward to that mint, lime and mango. 8/10.
Food match: I am still sticking with what I mentioned above.