Double IPA’s are my thing. From BrewDog Hardcore IPA (R.I.P.) to Stone Ruination to Magic Rock’s Human Cannonball to Firestone Walker’s Double Jack – I love the double IPA. It is for me, the ultimate chill-out beer. The style to me embodies boldness, mischief, challenge & excitement. And yet Irish DIPA’s (Double IPA’s for the non-neckbeards) have been thin on the ground save for O’Hara’s or Galway Bay’s ‘Of Foam & Fury’ as regular staples. And then there’s a cheeky fucker called Alex Lawes with his Whiplash Brewing label, a Double IPA called ‘Since I’ve been loving you’.
There’s something wonderful about a double IPA in a can. It’s one part exciting, one part dangerous & one part naughty. We’re so used to canned alcohol never really exceding 5% ABV. Even if you think about those absymal Captain Morgan & Coke, or JD & Coke premixed drinks, they’re 5%. Getting a beer in a can that’s 8.2% ABV feels like you’re being treated like a grown-up, & not like a child being parented vicariously.
New England IPA’s are all the rage currently. CloudWater are leading the charge this side of the pond. We’ve had a great love affair with west coast beers, & they’re still popular. While this beer is billed as a New England style, it feels very bicoastal. There’s not the milky-murk we usually see with NE IPA’s, but there’s definately some mutkage here, but it has that big heavy handed resin usually associated with West Coast IPA’s.
It has that bitter punch that Stone Escondito’s Ruination has (not the Berlin version – which just does not taste the same yet as its San Diego sibling), with a fantastic citrus-led pithy orange & pineapple aroma. Cracking the can, you feel like you’ve been pimp slapped by Snoop Dogg (zippy, funky & fun), while pouring it, it feels like the Notorious B.I.G. (deep, introspective & drawing you in with its own equally big visual personality).
The resinous nature of this beer really acts as a wonderful bridge across the two styles, which for some people may prove to be a challenging. However, for those who love to be on the razor edge of bitterness, this is like going on Nemesis in Alton Towers; wonderfully enjoyable & terrifying at the time same which is a massive adrenaline rush.
It’s also worth again pointing out that the artwork yet again on Alex’s beers is just fucking top notch, which again has been designed by his other half. I am a massive fan of the artwork choices on his beers, as they’re visually interesting & tend to make the most of the can colours which just work. Yes, some may feel it’s super hipster, or trying to be too clever but being the massive artwork nerd I am, I really love it. Their starkness just reminds of me Judas Priest’s ‘Btitish Steel’ album cover, or Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’, Foreigner’s ‘Agent Provocateur’, Yes’ ‘90125’ or New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’. There’s a fantastic 1980’s feel to them that I love as someone who’s childhood was rooted in the 80’s.