Tuesday, 10 February 2015

City Street IPA: Malty and Moreish

Swinging through Joburg I made the mandatory pass through Ilovo's 'Norman Goodfellows'. While it's not my neighbourhood liquor store at the moment, a step into their cavernous store always fills me delights (even as it empties my wallet).

Along with the wines and supply of the incomparable Invorroche gin andliquer, I yanked a City Street IPA by Big City Brewing off the shelf. I had never heard of these guys and couldn't even find them on the web.  Still, with new reason to be afraid I paid and took them home. A few days later I cracked it open on a warm afternoon overlooking the distant Magaliesburg.
Purportedly brewed as a tribute to Cape Town (which is not such a big city unless you grew up in Paarl), the arts and crafty label pictorially suggests it tastes of orange, pine tree, grass, lemon and toast. I don't know about all that, but I liked the label and the cloudy pour was undeniably flavourful. A bit thick and malty it certainly broke away from its English heritage. As far as I'm concerned, that's only a good thing.  Mixed in with the malt there were nice hop notes which provided plenty of bitterness at the end countering the sweet pine one gets at first taste. I passed the glass around asking if people could smell the grass but got looks of disappointment when they realised what kind of grass I was talking about.  Eventually we pulled some kikuyu from the ground and held it up next to the beer. Sure, there's a grassiness to it, but it's layered finely in the back. The bread? Yeasty, but not the eggy, buttery brioche they promised.

Would I get this again? For sure. Balanced, heart and tasty. Maybe more a pale ale than an IPA but complex enough to keep things interesting. Let's see what other roads Big City will travel.

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