You will read these words at the top of this 650ml bottle which on the front displays an extreme surfer and on the side proclaims “For fearlessly pursuing your passion no matter how many sharks stand in your way … You have earned the coveted SHARK BAIT BADGE.” Not that I am a surfer nor do I particularly like to swim with sharks, but I’ll take it.
The ice broken, I’ll admit I immediately felt bond form with the brew masters, Tony Dewald and Timmy Brown, and their beer that speaks to their passion. The question is: would it live up to the great labeling and marketing of this well-renowned BC brewery?
The answer is a resounding “Yes.” (What’s the point of holding you in suspense since I am ‘unfairly’ drinking this hard-to-find brew while writing this review).
The very first taste is actually the only thing about the beer that had me on the fence. The carbonation which is tight and relatively light doesn’t hide anything and so you meet that first taste like a surfer hitting a big wave … alone and naked. What I taste for a long split-second is “watery” – there is very little taste on the tip of the tongue … but once the beer washes over the middle of the tongue and around the sides and hits the back, it becomes a symphony of taste and, most impressively, balance. Better yet, the tastes are all complex. And as disappointing as Philips was in my last beer review for claiming their Hop Circle IPA to be “hopped out of this world,” I will say that Dead Frog’s Fearless is most definitely hopped out of this world. And, at 77 IBUs, you know why.
While the IBUs easily telegraph the bitterness the brewers have constructed, the use of the Galaxy (it’s an Australian cultivar) is not west-coast, though the other two (cascade and Columbia) most certainly are. The fourth hop, Zythos, is worth a small digression because I had to do some research to figure it out myself before reading the following that was reported by Neil Miller on Epic Beer’s own blog:
Hopunion announced earlier this summer, the creation of Zythos ─ a proprietary hop blend created to embody the powerful tradition and aroma you expect for your finest ales and IPA brews… Zythos is an IPA style blend created to optimize and exceed the aroma characteristics you require. Zythos is not a replacement for proprietary varieties, but rather, a premium pellet blend that will compliment your current IPA and Pale Ale brews.
The result is a beer that has elements that harken to the west-coast and other facets that are tropical and atypical. Upfront, for example, there is some tropical pineapple that draws you in with the sweetness of the roasted malts. These tropical flavours flawlessly merge into citrus before the west-coast hops take over. The ending is a resounding bit of punctuation: “I was made for hop heads.”
The orange, clear ambers of this pour are brilliant as indeed are the bitters that mean this beer isn’t for the faint of heart … but if you’re passionate about IPAs and aren’t afraid to swim with the sharks, this is a beer you won’t want to miss and should do anything you can to not possess it but rather to experience it.
Stats: India Pale Ale. 6.5% ABV, 77 IBUs. Aldergrove, British Columbia.
Colour: Dark orange, amber.
Mouth Feel: Fine with light carbonation and creamy finish with crisp clean finish.
Purchased: BC Liquor Store