Pale Ales are a definite go-to beer style for me when I just want something drinkable, fruity & not too taxing. And I like them pale. And I mean PALE. No amber hues, no caramel, no burned orange. Pale. Otherwise, what’s the frigging’ point of them? So when Whiplash’s Alex Lawes says he’s working on a new Pale Ale that’s proper pale. I’m proper interested.
Still in his twenties, Alex Lawes is not only one of the most accomplished brewers I’ve ever known (and one of the nicest people I’ve ever known), not only is he head brewer at arguably Ireland’s best selling & most popular craft brewer, Rye River Brewing but he also heads up his own brewing project in his spare time (ever known a head brewer to have ‘spare time’?) called Whiplash Brewing.
Yes, THAT Whiplash Brewing. #BagOfCans Brewing. I’ve always said that beer should be completely irreverent fun; being one part art, one part passion & another part ‘IDGAF’.With Alan Wolfe, & artwork from Alex’s girlfriend, Sophie, everything about Whiplash encompasses those ideals. And it is even more apparent with what’s inside their bottles/cans/kegs.
One of the most intriguing things about the brand is the fact it doesn’t bandwagon jump. While everyone else is getting their rocks off to New England IPA’s, & murkbombs, Alex is brewing the kind of beers he loves & wants to drink instead of getting cheap pops. And guess what? He’s still getting incredible responses to his beers, & they’re selling.
I’m guessing the beer’s name & it’s artwork are inspired by Clark’s 2006 album, ‘Body Riddle’ as Alex is a huge fan of electronica. It’s a pretty cool album, that is great for kicking back, & chilling the fuck on out to. Just check out this track off the album, ‘Herzog’.
The beer itself promises alot, loaded up with Lemondrop, Galaxy, Simcoe & Ekuanot hops. If you know me well enough by now, you now I am a fiend for Galaxy & Simcoe. And I do mean an utter FIEND for these two hop varieties. Lemondrop is a hop variety I am a huge fan of, but not on its own. Ekuanot (or it’s old name Exp HBC 366) is a hop I’ve only ever experienced as a part of a SMaSH (Single malt and single hop) beer & I thoroughly enjoyed it. Whack all these together with some of my beloved Maris Otter malt, some kick ass yeast & Alex’s brains for the beautiful science of brewing & what comes out is glorious.
It pours a fantastic pineapple juice pale color, & as you do it, the tropical fruit aromas attack. I don’t even need a nose in the glass. Jesus, it’s fantastic! The head on it is a wonderful one finger off-white beauty that looks like a meringue on top of the beer. Pineapple, papaya & melon with a hint of sweet lemon dominates the aroma. And it’s effing fantastic because there’s a dizzying amount of it for such a low ABV beer (god dammit this boy can brew a beer!!!!)
The bitterness here is noticeable, but not overwhelming. The malt character feels alot more substantial than the 4.5% ABV should allow. And it’s juicy with a lovely dry edged finish that cuts off nicely. This is a proper pale ale. And honestly, my kind of pale ale with my kind of malt, my kind of hops & a body on it I can appreciate massively.
This beer is a springtime epigram to Ted, with night knuckles & dew on the mouth while on the roulette thrift run. Perfection.