Fell Brewery Tinderbox IPA – The Review

I. Love. Hops.

I love ’em lots. I like their bitter, stingy, aromatic tangs, they just totally float my boat. If there’s one beer I’m always keen to try from any brewery, therefore, it’s their IPA. I’ve had Fell Brewery‘s ‘Progressive Pale’ (a pleasant midpoint between an EPA and an IPA) and their ‘Robust Porter’ (a very delicious chocolatey effort) before, and when one of their brewers told me they were bringing out an IPA and a wheat beer I couldn’t wait. He said he’d bring some samples to the shop I work at, but I wasn’t working when they came in – c’est la vie, though, right? Anyways, without further ado, here are my thoughts on the ‘Tinderbox IPA‘, with which the aim was to, “…light many a fire in the hearts of hop lovers and deliver the unique joy that only this legendary style can,” so their attitude, if a little whimsical, is spot on in my book.

Vital Statistics:

  • 6.3% ABV
  • Brewed locally in Flookburgh
  • Available in bottles (330ml)
  • New release

Taste

An initial robust zestiness (nice exotic citrus fruits, as you’d expect from the style). Hints of dark sugary caramel on the finish. There’s a lovely bitter sting on the tongue, plenty of bitter hoppiness, balanced nicely with sweetness and depth of flavour. More refreshing than most strong beers, i.e. not as ‘heavy’. There’s a gentle warmingness too, and that’s when I noticed the malty note swimming around a big mouthful. There’s plenty going on here, and it’s all good.

8/10

Aroma

I got citrus, and I think a bit of coriander too. The fresh burst of zesty hops was just what I was after. As cheesy as it sounds, the smell invited me to take a sip. It didn’t strike me as overly floral, but there was a little bit there.

7/10

Appearance

I like the Fell Brewery bottle design (you can see part of the patterning on their website). It’s very distinctive in design and easily recognizable on a shelf full of other beers. They also include a nice beer blurb on the back of the bottle (I thought it was a bit too ‘flowery’ in this instance, but hey it’s nice they make the effort), which is also available on the website. All in all it’s a strong and appealing brand.

In the glass (a handle glass in this case, because I’m that awesome): a hazy burning orange-into-brown colour. I wouldn’t say it was the most brilliant look, but certainly compelling enough.

7/10

Value For Money

Brass tacks: £2.65 for 330ml. Not cheap, but certainly not expensive either. Certainly get plenty of ABV for your moolah, and the taste is big. Well worth it for taste-hunters and hop-heads alike.

7/10

Brewing Uniqueness

In being ultra-traditional, it is strangely unique. A lot of British folk doing IPAs don’t give them the proper strength (Indian Pale Ales were originally brewed stronger as the alcohol helped them survive the journey from Britain to the Colonial India). So although it’s not ‘innovative’ in the true sense, I still say it has a certain uniqueness to it that scores it points.

6/10

I was drinking Little Valley Brewery‘s ‘Python IPA‘ at the Morecambe CAMRA beer festival this year, and I was hugely impressed. Sure it was on draught and shouldn’t really be compared to a bottled beer, but it had just about everything I could hope for in a beer. Having said that, though, ‘Tinderbox IPA’ was not far off this level of greatness. It was expressive, well-rounded and has elements to be enjoyed by every drinker, so it deserves an impressive score: I say try either one of these beers and you won’t be disappointed.

Final score: 70%

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