This lapse had afforded me another opportunity, however. Now that I'm back in town I can start reviewing some local beers again, as opposed to those I acquired on my travels that are often not available to the local consumer anyways. This should make my reviews more pertinent to the Island beer drinker, but may also result in the odd angry letter from a brewer...although to be honest, I do sort of enjoy those. Anyways, enough yakking, lets get down to this review.
The newest beer from Driftwood, a 9% double IPA? Ya you could say I was pretty excited when I heard about this. But shortly after I heard about it, I heard what people were saying about it, and what people were saying was not good. "Too much," they remarked. "Out of Balance," they said. "Reminds me of Shipwrecked," said a particularly venomous source. My friends weren't liking it. Other beer bloggers were tearing it a new one. It wasn't going down well it seemed. The little voice inside me that tells me to run from battles and bar fights (neither of which I condone mind you) saw an opportunity. I could prove here and now that I won't do a back flip over a beer, just because its from Driftwood, a brewery I've never given a bad review to. I could show deference to the opinions of friends and not be that jerk who thinks he's right and everyone else is wrong. I could also show solidarity with the other bloggers in town who definitely don't appear to dig this beverage. Unfortunately, that other voice, the one I listen to on a pretty regular basis and who gets me into trouble almost as regularly, also had something to say: "You like this beer," he chimed in, smuggly, "bottom line."
So risking the derision and scorn of friends and colleagues alike, i'm saying it here and now, this beer is damn good stuff. Mind you it's not exactly for the faint of heart, or anyone who isn't the most die hard fan of double IPA's in all their bitter glory. But for all you hop heads out there who love nothing more than the taste of the hop and all its unadulterated bitter goodness, this beer is what the English would call "the dog's bollocks."
Twenty Pounder has a surprisingly dark orange-amber hue and sports a tan/white head, that like many Driftwood beers, quickly fades. Its aroma is all deep grapefruit and is very appealing. From the first taste this beer's strong bitterness is evident, and is interlaced with notes of orange and the dominant taste of potent grapefruit peel. The flavour is absolutely dripping with resinous hops and is almost sticky with the tang of pine. It is strongly bitter, but not past the pleasure threshold (at least not mine anyways) and its aftertaste lasts for so long that I began to believe my tastebuds would wear out before it did. If hoppy beer is not your cup of tea then steer well clear (but I guess that should be obvious), but if piney, citrusy, grapefruit bitter intensity is your idea of a good time, you really can't go wrong.
Rating: Very Good