Wollongong

Wollongong beer alert!

If ever there was a beer I was going to crawl over broken glass for, it’s the double IPA from the Illawarra Brewing Company.
Well, of course, that’s exaggeration for the sake of comic effect. If we’re being totally honest here, there isn’t a single beer I’d crawl across glass shards for. I think anyone who would do such a thing is more interested in the pain than the beer.bigbrother

So lets say the IBC double IPA is a beer that I was exceptionally desperate to try. See, it’s named Apocalypso’s Big Brother. Apocalypso was an IPA the brewing company did as a seasonal but, due to repeated pestering by myself and others, it became part of the regular range.

Made with Calypso, Mosaic and El Dorado hops, it was a wonderfully fruity IPA with tangerine, orange and pineapple stuff going on – and much less pineyness than a lot of other IPAs. I absolutely loved it – was my favourite ever Illawarra Brewing Company IPA.

Now, when the guys decide to use that beer as a sort-of base for a double IPA you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that I was supremely excited about that. While it does seem to be called Apocalypso’s Big Brother, I have to say I’m partial to Crafty Pint’s ‘‘Megapocalypso’’ tag. Only partially because I wish I thought of it first – best I could come up with was … well, nothing, really.

Big Brother strays quite a bit from the family tree. It’s 8.5 per cent and 84 IBUs. And the hops aren’t entirely the same – there’s the El Dorado and Calypso but Tomahawk and Citra have crashed the party in a big way. The double IPA is on tap at the brewery bar now and oh my God is it good. I thought the Apocalypso was the best beer the IBC guys had made so far, but this one just knocked its little brother off the perch.

The flavour is intensely delicious  – it’s a “fruit bowl” effect with rich citrus, passionfruit and tropical fruits. Despite the 84 IBUs this is really not a strongly bitter beer. That bitterness hovers around the edges and the back end but plays second fiddle to all that fruitiness.

And that 8.5 per cent alcohol? Can’t taste that. At all. This is really going to cause a few problems for young players – it’s such an easy to drink beer with nothing in the palate to give away that high alcohol. I can see unaware drinkers downing a few too many of these – because it’s so damned tasty – and finding themselves waking up the next day with a sore head.

But it might be a sore head that was worth the effort. Because this is a fantastic beer.

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