Saturday, November 15, 2008
I've had a chance to try a few of the Speakeasy brewery beers at my leisure over the last while, having had a small sample of them during a tasting evening last week, and can't find fault with any of their hoppy ales. Prohibition is a stunner with immense American hops yet balanced perfectly with rich malt. It is billed as an amber ale yet is very heavy in the alcohol stakes at 6.1% abv, which is something of a pity because it is the sort of beer I could drink pints of, if it were a little easier going. The level of hop character, rich malt, outright bitterness and alcohol content puts it in the IPA style as far as I'm concerned. However the Speakeasy Brewery do produce an IPA by the name of Big Daddy which overlaps with Prohibition somewhat because the hop character and bitterness do not stand out enough to set it apart from its stablemate. It is lighter in colour and slightly crisper, but the hop character is damn near identical, perhaps a tad more bitter, with a similar malt profile that is a little less full. What I'm getting at is Prohibition is a perfectly good example of an IPA with all the strength and flavour intensity we expect. I'm not complaining. They are both outstanding ales that satisfy the hop lover in me. Perhaps the people at Speakeasy brewed Prohibition first, fully embracing the explosion of flavour that the American craft brewing industry fostered, but then realised that they couldn't pack much more flavour into an ale when they brewed Big Daddy. Still, lets hope they keep trying.