Monday, 16 June 2014

Youth and Sir Thomas Brewing Company's Hangklip IPA

Drinking in the Future's Shadow
What better way to honour the youth than by sitting in the sun drinking a beer? Sure, it's not what the holiday is about and we ought not forget past sacrifices. Yet, if freedom from oppression doesn't include casual drinking with a diverse crowd in a northern suburban park, then we still have a long way to go. Besides, really, what do the young like better than beer? That's right, nothing. And while young'uns might not all line up behind Sir Thomas Brewing's Hangklip's IPA, there's going to be some who do. Those are the ones to watch; they're going places. As I drank it surrounded by tykes and food trucks at Parkview's food truck festival in George Hay Park, I toasted their prospects and quietly celebrated the future generations. 

Let's be honest, this is an IPA for the people; a journeyman for the jol. It is unlikely to please snobbish connoisseurs and even modest critics will easily recognise its failure to crest the pinnacle of taste and balance. (We followed the Hangklip with a smuggled Rogue 7 Hop IPA, a masterly brew bursting with botanical bounty.) That said, it was a solid entry offering little to offend and plenty to please. The nose was generally hoppy although missing many of the flowery scents found in its more sophisticated cousins. Bitterness dominated on the tongue with no distinguishable citrus, pine or resin flavours despite the strong hop presence. One reviewer found dates and grapefruit in there, but we couldn't. If there was something resembling dates it came from the malt which offered more general sweetness than specific flavours. What somehow managed to punch through were hints of a Belgian-like yeast, a taste unexpected for a South African IPA but not unpleasant (Belgian inspired IPAs have established a niche elsewhere). The cloudiness could also help it make a play with the Walloons although the slightly harsh over-carbonation possibly a result of drinking this at Jozi altitudes might see it side-lined. At only five percent alcohol, it is a beer for the everyday and the everyman (and woman). Some might dismiss it as milquetoast but such an approach may well help win over generation next. 

Cloudy with a Chance of Tasty
I found this beer at Norman Goodfellows in Illovo for about thirty odd. If you hit the shop you'll see it has one of the best selections of bottled South African beers in the country (and the only place I've seen Hangklip). Many of those on offer will similarly dent your wallet and look just as pretty on your shelf. Ultimately the selling point should be taste. Although Hangklip may not be everyone's favourite, it's a solid offering that adds depth to the mzansi IPA stable. In honour of our youth, past and present, it's certainly worth a turn. Sir, yes sir.

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