American Double IPA

It is sad but we all know petty, small-minded cowards. People so weak and unsure of themselves they cannot risk having their narrow views of social class challenged. These people cannot shop in the wrong type of shops, cannot drink in certain bars and cannot eat in dining establishments that could well serve perfectly toothsome food, but are feared by our class-obsessed unfortunates.

Does my instruction to hurry down to Tesco, to get one of the most awesome beers I have had in recent times, make a slight chill of fear grip you? The fear that you might meet people who wear slightly different clothes and eat slightly different food to you. The fear of being seen there in case you are associated with those slightly different people. Do you not want to go to Tesco? Then know this: you are a misanthropic snob who puts petty class distinctions above the pursuing the pinnacles of pleasure, and I don’t want to see you hanging around my website as people will assume it is read by the wrong type.

Tesco's American Double IPATesco’s American Double IPA is so good it is out of stock about 75% of the time we try and get it; that has not stopped The Editor and I desperately seeking it out time after time. When we get a precious few bottles they are saved for when our aesthetic sensibilities are most in need of a pick-me-up.

The thing that cannot be denied, and what our unfortunately base and snobbish friends hate, about Tesco is that it is wildly popular. This gives them a mind-liquidising amount of money, some of which they can afford to give to quality-driven producers in order to make something that may not be in huge supply or vastly profitable, but something that leaves the shelves glistering with the lustre of something special. In this case, Tesco’s American Double IPA is made by Brewdog – standard-bearer for the hop revolution and makers of beer so characterful you can get your dinner out of them.

The WiFi password in Brewdog’s Birmingham bar is (or was once): hoppedtoshit. That was certainly a guiding principle when making the American Double IPA. It has more hop influence than any beer I’ve ever tasted. Incredibly fresh, bitter, floral flavours explode on your palate with every sip. And it is that intensity of flavour that makes it a beer for sipping.

The fact that it is 9.2% has nothing to do with wanting to drink slowly. Indeed, I would wager most ale drinkers wouldn’t put it above 6% so wonderfully integrated are the sweet fruity flavours of the American hops and the booze-derived sweetness. It’s extremely well balanced with all component parts in perfect, if slightly heroic, harmony.

There is a lot of complexity to the palate of this beer, with so many of those brilliant American hops giving their all so that your mouth can have a good time, and they do indeed give you a head-bangingly good time.

Which leads me to the topic I would like to finish on, namely what a fine bunch of boys and girls American brewers are. We English may have invented the IPA and pale ale styles, but, like with so many other things, after a brief flourish we go back to producing brown, soupy dishwater so devoid of character it has to be regurgitated before there is any hope of the stuff having acidity. So we English regress from the pinnacle of invention, and leave the duties of perfecting the article to some other country.

We have the Americans to thank for the surprising quality of strong-ish pale to mid-brown beers you can now pick up in the supermarket. They lead the way and people like Brewdog and innumerable others followed their recipe, and so we had the hop revolution. I express my huge thanks to our American cousins for their leadership in this field, and also well done Tesco for selling booze so good only a fool would not go there and buy some!