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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

I Hardcore You & Mince Pies

Christmas seems to get earlier every year. My girlfriend has started buying presents and making lists already, people at work are booking time off and my Mum is asking how many to expect for the big dinner. I was in the supermarket at the weekend and they had mince pies for sale, mince pies for sale in September! Madness you’ll agree, but it did trigger a thought in the back of my mind …

I Hardcore You is a collaborative effort between Scottish brewers Brewdog and Danish cuckoo(1) Mikkeller. It’s a blend of two beers (Hardcore IPA and I Beat yoU) that’s been dry hopped once more for luck and bottled as a one off limited edition. Put simply, it’s a whole that’s better than the sum of its parts, and those parts are pretty damn good to start with.

At 9.5 percent it’s a big beer. Incredible sweetness, incredible bitterness, incredible balance. The sweetness greets you with juicy citrus fruits and bucket loads of pine before a bitterness sweeps in and smothers your whole palate. The two work in stunning harmony; duelling it out to achieve dominance but never quite getting there. Despite a slight warming sensation on the way down, I refuse to believe this beer is 9.5 percent ABV, there must’ve been a mistake when it was bottled. Effortlessly quaffable, it drinks almost as well as an American Pale Ale.

Christmas wouldn’t be right without a mince pie. Those in the picture above might be a stock supermarket offering, but just think of them as a preseason friendly, a precursor to the luscious, deep-filled, indulgent little treats that will be on offer nearer the big day. The sticky dried fruit, pith and peel find a perfect partner in the jammy-citrus hops. The sweet, buttery pastry is amplified by the sweetness of the beer until the brutal bitter bite stomps on in and washes everything away. A whole that’s better than the sum of its parts.

Happy New Year?

I Hardcore You can be difficult to find now, I'm sure this pairing would work equally well with a different Double IPA.

(1)A cuckoo brewer is one that uses free space at other breweries rather than brewing from their own dedicated brewery. Sometimes referred to as nomadic brewing.


ZakAvery said...

Is the phrase 'gypsy brewer' no longer acceptable?

Mark said...

I think so! Lately I just seem to hear "Cuckoo" used more often than anything else. De facto standard?

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