"The downfall of being a great beer lover and enthusiast is a tendency to hoard. Nobody I know is as guilty of this as I. As such, I’ve come to realise in recent months that I really need to start working through my already sizeable bottle stock before purchasing anything else this year, if for no other reason than to try the beers I’ve spent my money on whilst they’re still at their best. Added to this is the realisation over the last few months – based on certain depressive life situations – that life is too short not to drink the great beers I have available to me. I also need to find new encouragement and inspiration to write again. I have never wanted this to be a beer review blog (with the exception of Advent) but all the above factors have led me to begin a series of “Stock Clearance” posts where I drink beers within my hoard that really need drinking for reasons that will be explained."
"I shall further clarify that my beer hoard started to grow around the turn of the year between 2011 and 2012. To that point, most of my enjoyment of beer was spent within the confines of the pub or on a Saturday night in when the beer to be drunk in the evening was bought in the morning of the same day. The only beers that entered into “storage” were a bottle of Brewdog’s Abstrakt:02 (that I think was eventually drunk sometime in 2012) and a Fuller’s Vintage 2008, purchased in 2009 and that is still in my hoard to this day."
Beer number two, as I continue debilitating my stock, isn’t a particularly old war horse in the beer hoard. In relative terms to my online beer orders, it’s a newcomer. However, I can’t be sure how long it has been sat in Beers of Europe’s warehouse, as they seem to have struggled to sell beers from Hoppin’ Frog brewery, perhaps due to their fairly large pricing. I, myself, have only tried a couple of offerings from the brewery: B.O.R.I.S the Crusher, Hoppin’ to Heaven and their Amager collaboration, Frog Hops from Amager. I expect D.O.R.I.S. the Destroyer may appear in this Stock Clearance blog soon enough. There is no “bottled-on” date for reference on this bottle of Gangster Frog IPA but I couldn’t resist buying a beer that features a frog dressed in early 20th century gangster attire.
"If I act like an animal – ain’t nothing to it – gangster frog made me do it."
As such, this speciality American IPA was actually only purchased in November 2013. However, I had long intended to try and drink it as fresh as possible and that was 5 months ago now. I’d spoken to somebody who had bought the Hop Dam Triple IPA from the same website, only to find the hops had sadly died a death. So this acquisition was a risk but one I hope has paid off.
Hoppin’ Frog Gangster Frog IPA 7.5%
Pouring a Pantone shade with frothy three finger head, this beer is dominated gratefully by that grapefruit bouquet we are all so familiar (perhaps Cascade?). Perhaps grapefruit is the obvious description but this is like freshly carved grapefruit attached to the end of your nose in comedic fashion. It’s lively, fresh, citrusy, punchy; like drinking the waters of a Bahamian beach (metaphorically speaking.) There’s a near perfect marriage of zesty bitterness and tongue melting smoothness that create an orange nectar that flows down your throat, creating smiles and delight. The body is full and textured but simple enough to not be over-thought; just enjoyed. The finish is ever lasting and leaves you in disappointment that your glass is empty. I wanted to wittingly write tasting notes with many James Cagney style references, but it just isn'tnecessary. An exceptional beer and one of the best American IPAs I have in a long time - much better than the Hoppin' to Heaven - that leaves one obvious question:
What the hell is this beer like fresh?