Total Score: 7.35/10
Balter’s IPA has finally landed, and immediately it eschews the craft marketing tradition associating green with hops by its exclusion from the label (with purple instead)… not sure who is in charge of marketing/design at Balter but I would love to borrow one of their yachts. In a twist of fate this Balter is pairing off against the 4 Pines IPA I just reviewed – they both arrived in my local at the same time, it was as if the Gods themselves wanted me to compare the merits of each and delineate on their (probable) faults. Well I’ve done that already with 4 Pines, and although it was tasty in its own way it was certainly lacking as an Aussie IPA, seems like this is an easy victory of my taste buds for Balter… … [extra ellipsis added for effect].
Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.
A: Hazed amber body (hazed: Balter knows how an IPA should go) with a thick, fluffy 2 centimetre off-white head that slowly compacts to a nice half centimetre, decent lace scrawl on the side of the glass – textbook American IPA. 8/10.
S: Floral and stone fruit notes upfront, bit of an earthy/caramel malt note going on in there as well… actually liked the 4 Pines aroma more. A slight tinge of plum funk too, maybe that’s why they went with purple on the label – the brewer noticed plum funk and wanted to emphasise that? [long shot Doc!]. 7/10.
T: A meaty stone fruit character mingles with floral/earthy/dry cracker notes, hints of citrus, that weird aforementioned plum funk character. Not what I was expecting. It’s an American IPA yes, however it’s got a restrained tea character as well. Bit of a hybrid IPA then – like halfway between a US and UK IPA. There is a sense as well that Balter have simply amped up and used their XPA hops in this (Galaxy I believe). Finish is mildly bitter and a fruity… still trying to decide if I like this – it’s a bit of an odd IPA, I don’t hate it, however it’s no Pirate Life or Green Beacon IPA. Very stone fruit driven as IPAs go. 7/10.
M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, with an almost flat carbonation… easy to drink that’s for sure. 8/10.
D: Didn’t see this coming from Balter… well they do have a propensity for easy-drinking brews – I expected that, but this IPA is something new – it’s a bit of West Coast meets East Coast, US meets UK, in a flavour package that could be mistaken for a regular Pale Ale (were it not for the alcohol content of 6.8%). I actually want to get another 4-pack of this, so it must be good right? 8/10.
Food match: A single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat.