Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Bridge Road Pride of Ringwood IPA

Single Hop IPA 4.8%

Single Hop IPAs are a recent phenomena, championed by the likes of Scotland’s Brewdog and Denmark’s evil beer sorcerer Mikkeller.  The idea is simple, to brew an ale using only a single type of hop, from which the characteristics of that hop variety, it’s distinctive aroma and flavours, can sing forth a glorious solo, instead of being part of a choir of several varieties (or death metal band as in the case of many Imperial IPAs).

Bridge Road in Victoria recently started their own series of Singe Hop beers with the release of the Galaxy IPA, a showcase for the popular Australian hop of the same name, it is full of tropical fruit characters and has become so popular it is now part of their ongoing range.  Since then we’ve seen Stella, Galaxy’s more cultured Europhile sister and the Summer, which smells and tastes uncannily like a pine/lime flavoured Frosty Fruit.  Their fourth single hop beer is a bit of an oddity...
While Galaxy is the supermodel of Australian hops, Pride of Ringwood is more the slutty reality TV contestant.  It is the bastard child of Pride of Kent and an unnamed wild Tasmanian hop which presumably sneaked out of the bed the next morning and disappeared back into the wilderness, never to call again.  This hop seems to want to punish us for its broken home by conspiring to include itself in nearly every bland commercial lager available in this country.  Maligned by home brewers, few in the craft world have given it a second look.  Until now.

This IPA presents itself as a golden amber brew with a small white head and decent presence of lacing.  Surprisingly it has a full aroma of grass, citrus and even passionfruit, which is odd as POR is generally only used as a bittering hop, but here it comes across as quite fragrant.  Things begin to fall apart in the mouth though, soft citrus and vegetative flavours give way to a hard, almost metallic bitterness with an earthy, slightly acrid aftertaste.  The beer is light bodied and has a chalky mouthfeel in the finish which is also very dry.

Although I generally review beers that I like, this was too interesting an experiment to pass up and although I dislike this IPA and still admire the spirit in which it was created.  This in no way reflects badly on Bridge Rd, it is more hampered by the limitations of the Pride of Ringwood Hop.  It’s is still worth trying if only to get an idea of what a CUB badged IPA would no doubt taste like.