Long-time beer drinker Ross Lewis puts some of Australia's top drops to the test.
Getting a taste of a beer is one thing. Having the palate experience a brewer in one sitting presents a different challenge.
Bridge Road Brewers from Beechworth threw out the task with a range of their drops from the old stables they operate from in north-east Victoria.
Apart from a Golden Ale which was sipped first just to dampen the lips, the remainder of the special six-pack was a fantastic floral feast. It was a testing duty The Sip was more than happy to hop towards.
For the purposes of the review the very special Bling Bling Imperial IPA will get the focus but the trek from Pale Ale to the new seasonal drop was like a walk through herb heaven.
One of the great innovations from Ben Kraus and his team has been the introduction of malt-teasers and hop-meters to the sides of Bridge Road Brewers labels. Drinkers can get an immediate gauge on the experience they are about to enjoy.
Kraus’ crew know how to provide a series of delights from the Single Hop IPA Galaxy, named after the bud used, onwards to the Bling India Pale Ale.
The recipe for the Bling Bling Imperial IPA is simple. Just make the regular IPA twice as punchy.
Bling Bling rates off the scale of 0-10 on the hop profile. But it doesn’t feel like a battle is waging in your mouth. Yet there is the wonderful aromas.
The colourful label strikes out at the taster but so does a quality smell of pineapple. There is also orange later in the feel and a sweet finish that lingers nicely.
This bottle is 8.5 per cent in ABV but the strong alcohol doesn’t detract from this superb beer.
But it is the hops that put the sparkle into Bling Bling.
Bridge Road Brewers distribute a Beer School Hop Pack featuring four single hop IPAs – Summer, Vic Secret, Galaxy and Ella.
However, they need to consider Golden Ale, Pale Ale, IPA Ella, IPA Galaxy, Bling and Bling Bling for a six-pack. It is a shining example of craft brewing.
The Sip Snip
Brewer: Bridge Road Breweries, Vic
Style: Imperial India Pale Ale
Alcohol content: 8.5%
Standard drinks: 2.2
Estimated calories: 225
The Sip Tip (rating): Top shelf.
Average prices: $130 a carton, $35 for six-pack, $6 per bottle.