You may remember me reviewing the gorgeous Shepherd Neame Double Stout a while back. Well, I made mention of this IPA and completely forgot that I’d actually made notes on it. So, basically, you’re all going to be treated to an extra Shep Neame review – aren’t you glad? Only, if you read the last piece, you’ll know I wasn’t overly-enamoured with this brew.
But everything must be judged on its own merits, right? Everything has its own charm/s, and it’s simply not fair to slap a dull lick of paint over a product without explaining a little more. With that in mind, I’d like to invite you to join me as I tell you what I thought about this IPA.
- 6.1% ABV
- Comes in 500ml bottles
- Brewed in Faversham, Kent
- Available on draught from March to May
Look The bottle is a charming, old-style sort of thing – no image, just text.
In’t’ glass it’s a polished coppery brown. Has a big, loose head with nice retention. 7/10
Aroma A lot more of a malt backbone than I was expecting. I didn’t get much hop character in all honesty, certainly not compared to the taste. There’s some grapefruit rind, a sort-of florally expressive quality, but nothing strong or complex enough to interest me. 5/10
Taste With the first mouthful, I thought both ‘wow’ and ‘urgh’. The aggressiveness of the bitter grapefruit was complemented well by the malt, and there was a balance of lightness and sweetness to go with the hard hits. On the aftertaste, I picked up those coppery hops [not a terrible flavour, just out of place. Reminded me of cheap French lager…] and an unpleasant yeasty mask, though I’m willing to accept that may be personal preference. It’s not bad, but I had much higher hopes. 6/10
Value Per bottle, this cost me £1.25. That’s pretty damn cheap, especially when paying for a reasonably high alcohol beverage. So cheap, in fact, I’m scoring it highly, despite the obvious experiential shortfalls. 8/10
Session During the session, the experience develops a bit. I started picking up mellow flavours of peach and candied lemons. It feels light enough for a session, too, but in all honesty there’s an aftertaste that’s too strong for me and I’d rather move on that drink much more of this. I may be being generous here… 6/10
A rare miss from Shepherd Neame. This is the only beer from them that I can say, for me, there’s actually something wrong with the experience. It’s not that it’s just ‘not my cup of tea’, there are actually flavours and a lack of aroma that I actively dislike. Having said that, it certainly won’t put me off trying their beers again, or other IPAs.
Final score: 64/100