So I pulled the second of the Renaissance trio I have in my fridge, intent to start the new year fresh and ready to explore what 2014 will bring me … and not so secretly hoping that this beer would be as good as the prequel tasted last week, Perfection (reviewed here).
With one taste, however, I had to check the label to confirm that I had indeed read “discovery” rather than “disappointment.” As perfect as its predecessor was in the artful layering of microcarbonation that delicately lit the flavours of its amber waters, the golden waters here are awash in a cascade of bubbles that quite frankly ruin this beer before you can even taste it. My tongue feels like it is being agitated amidst a waterslide gone awry … before, wham, my mouth is plunged into a churning pool of bubbles. Who could say what else is floating in there with all the bubbles. For all I know, I could discover a corpse bob up next to my palette and I’d never notice.
Hyperbole aside, I can’t figure out why the transplanted American brewmaster, Andy Deuchars, has concocted a beer in homage to his state that is so arguably ‘wrong’ … and so wrong in comparison to the other beer which was aptly named perfection.
Those that like a foamy head will love this; those that want flavor and, god forbid, an actual west coast IPA will be sorely disappointed.
In fairness to Mr Deuchars, there are actually some good, albeit slightly watery, flavours in this brew – you just need to wait for the bubbles to dissipate and the beer to flatten to find them. This I found easier to accomplish with the last half the of the bottle and the second pour. However, for as hard as the piney grapefruit had to struggle past the bubbles to find firm ground, its feet is just as rudely washed out from under it with the anemic 4.5% ABV which leaves the beer more wishy than washy.
Sorry, dear readers, for an inauspicious first review for 2014. I’m actually giving this the lowest marks of any beer I’ve yet reviewed. Let’s hope we’ve got the worst out of the way with this discovery … and that the rest of year is sparkling.
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PS. You’ll note that I’ve changed the background for the beer reviews that will continue in 2014. As lovely as is my kitchen backsplash, its uneven colour and texture hasn’t meant for the best pictures to show you the actual colours of the beers reviewed.
Stats: American Pale Ale. 4.5% ABV. Marlborough, New Zealand.
Colour: Medium gold – unfiltered.
Mouth Feel: Intense carbonation that quite frankly ruined the whole taste.