White Shield IPA – Finally I try some

I have often said that [link2post id=”1180″]Meantime IPA[/link2post] is not only the best India Pale Ale I have tried but also my favourite beer ever. Yet I have been told on many occasions that Worthington’s White Shield is a superior IPA. Consequently, I’ve kept my eyes peeled for it, finally scoring some a few days ago. At last I can try some and determine if it is lives up to its reputation.

For those who don’t know the style of beer dates from the 1820s. The beers of this style were brewed to be very strong and have a lot of hoppy flavour in order to preserve its character as it got baked on its ship journey via the Cape of Good Hope to be drank by the British colonials in India who missed beer from their home country. Hops and alcohol being good preservatives, of course. As such, it was never designed to be drank before it had experienced this heat treatment and so all we modern IPA drinkers are not tasting it as it would have been consumed a couple of hundred years ago. That doesn’t bother me! When I taste a powerfully characterful IPA, especially from the Meantime brewery, I feel charged with good health and vigorous life. We shall see how this compares.

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Worthington’s White Shield IPA, 5.3%

I’m pleased with its dark amber colour and that it has been bottle-conditioned, but only 5.3%? That seems a bit on the low side for this style of beer. Smells alright, though, rich and malty with some good floral hop aromas. It is pretty complex on the nose with enough alcohol to give it a lavishly opulent character; I didn’t need to worry about that. Erk! Now that is a weird and not entirely agreeable palate. Certainly it is hoppy and bitter enough, the flavours are complex and I don’t feel it is lacking alcohol, but none of these characters can make up for the fact that it doesn’t taste nice. Indeed, I’d go as far as saying it is definifely in the zone of horrible beer experiences. There is no harmony to the flavours and those that are present are aggressive, contrived and actively repulsive. I admit to being only a fly-by-night beer reporter, but I’m rather confused by how many people rate this beer when I am finding it to lack any pleasurable hooks to engage my good-time senses. No.