Sunday, September 4, 2011

Review - Driftwood Twenty Pounder

This was supposed to be a post about my return to the world of homebrewing, chronicling my newest creation, an India Brown Ale that I have been pondering for many months. Unfortunately, my time in the bush has led me to forget many important elements of normal society, and not just those relating to personal hygiene. Indeed, the fact that homebrew shops are closed on Sunday escaped me until Brewday (Sunday) was at hand, and now the India Brown will have to wait.

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


  1. Welcome back mate. Listen, I love hop bombs. Hopsickle, Unearthly and Ruination are three of my favourite beers. I'm not sure what's going on with the twenty pounder. I don't know if it's all the same batch, but I am assuming it is. In that case, this is a true marmite beer. I didn't even find it that hoppy, just characterlessly bitter. I would really like to split a bomber with you and see if we could get to the bottom of it. Tomorrow would work. You can have your houblon.

  2. Lon (the man) SheehanSeptember 5, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    Perhaps it's the Phillips' 10 that I just polished off single handedly talking, but I am with you Mr. Adair. It's a blast of hops, it's totally out of balance, and it's in your face. Exactly what I would expect Jason to make for a double IPA. I don't know what else everyone else thought they were going to be drinking.
    Cheers to nuking your palette ;)

  3. This beer seems to be creating a stir, either you love it or you hate it. Monday I'm booked for dinner with the missus under pain of death, but early next week would be good... and there's always the Great IPA Night coming up at my place next week, possibly the perfect forum for a judgement on the merits/flaws of the 20 pounder... let me know.

  4. Let's do it at the Great IPA. Again, I have to stress this, in view of the estimable Lon's post — it is NOT a case of overwhelmed by the hops, it is what I perceive to be a distinctly off bitterness with an unpleasant, chemical character. The beer is far from being the hoppiest I have tried. It tasted fine on the front end, but the aftertaste was just wrong. I cannot discount bad bottles/batches at this point, as I do not believe anyone who tasted what I tasted would say it was Great.

  5. I'm with Dan, I didn't find it all that bitter. I love my hops.

    My complaint was the lack of any malt was sticky sweet with no flavour.

  6. I agree with Jono and Dan. lol I do remember telling you it reminded me of Shipwrecked. The aroma and first sip were deliciously enticing but I did not find it very hoppy/bitter in taste. I also found there was almost no aftertaste, at least not what I would expect from a hop bomb. And I, too, LOVE my hops.

    I tried it the day it came out in stores..if it isn't a different batch, maybe it's aging well? Seems strange that it is so two-sided among us.

    I'm excited to put it to the test tonight! :)