I know, I know, Beermack has been all about the hops so far. But, I’m not going to apologise, no sir. It’s not my fault that the past few weeks has seen several fresh and delicious hoppy brews coming into the country. It is my fault that I’m drinking them all, however. Mea bloody culpa.
Now, down to business and the subject of today’s post: To Øl – Denmark’s other gypsy brewer. Lots of buzz surrounds the work of Mikkeller in the beer world (and rightly so – the bloke makes some serious beer), but To Øl often seems to slip under the radar. The two owners/brewers, Tore & Tobias, don’t have a brewery of their own, preferring instead to travel Europe brewing on the kits of other established breweries. Thus, they’re known in the industry as gypsies. They also have extravagant weddings and will retarmack your drive for a very competitive price.
We’re lucky in Ireland that one of our beer importers, Four Corners, has a pretty tight relationship with the lads behind To Øl, which means that plenty of their stuff reaches us that doesn’t make its way to many other places. There’s not many breweries we can say that about: Ireland often, regrettably, seems to fill the role of Britain’s slightly daft, Guinness-soaked little brother when it comes to beer distribution. Thankfully, this ain’t the case with To Øl.
The latest of their brews to reach Irish shores is their brand-new Double IPA, Dangerously Close To Stupid – a 9.3% mega-hopped USA-inspired beast.
This stuff is fresh. Really fresh. The current crop of bottles in Ireland are less than five weeks old: this is a seriously good thing for us beer drinkers. Hop character in beer diminishes very quickly – indeed, I’ve heard a few people saying that as soon as a hoppy beer is bottled, it begins to die. I did a post for the blog of the beer shop I used to work in explaining the value of freshness in more detail if you want to check it out: http://probuswines.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/ipa-royalty-at-its-very-freshest-from-odell-brewing-company/
Anyway, getting a five week old bottle of DIPA in Ireland is practically unheard of, so it’s our civic duty to drink as much of this as possible as soon as we can. Just cracking open a bottle of Dangerously Close To Stupid makes you take a step back as the potent scent of tropical fruit fills the air. The pour is hazy gold with a big fluffy white head – it looks cracking. But that aroma – Lordy. Tangerine, mango, passionfruit, sweet pineapple, grapefruit: it’s all there in abundance. This intense fruitiness from the Citra and Centennial hops hits you straight away as you take a sip: wow. Full of sweet nectarines, loads and loads of mango and passionfruit, and some bitter pithy grapefruit. The malt backbone to this is on the lighter, paler side with some nice sweet biscuit notes and just a hint of light sugary toffee. But there’s nothing that gets in the way of the hops, which continue to kick you in the head, battering your palate into submission. You can feel a hint of the 9.3% ABV as it goes down, but not enough to stop you sinking it by the gallon. Loads of residual grapefruit and pine resin covers your mouth and lingers long into the aftertaste. There’s nothing too balanced about this bad-lad: it’s stupidly hoppy (as the label clearly states).
This is a top-tier DIPA, no doubt about it: it’s up there in the same league with some of the best I’ve ever had. You’ll pick it up in good off-licences at around the five and a half quid mark for a 33cl bottle. Pricey, I know, but blame those Danes and their taxes – this chap is too good to miss.