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Friday, 19 November 2010

Lovibonds Brewery - 69 IPA Launch

Lovibonds is an exciting brewery because they aren’t afraid to do things a bit differently. They make good beer and they like to experiment.

They launched the bottled version of their rebranded IPA (69 IPA) to unanimous acclaim on Monday night at The Rake, Borough. An American IPA at 6.9 % that’s dry hopped with centennial and columbus hops. Dry hopped using Robinson-esque equipment, dreamt up by founding brewer Jeff Rosenmeier. Think Sierra Nevada Torpedo; a vessel packed with fresh hops, purged of oxygen with carbon dioxide, fed by a constant stream of newly fermented beer. Every drop filtered through those hops, forced to make contact with them, over and over again.

It must look like Frankenstein’s laboratory in that brewery; the shinning metallic bodies of the fermenters, the mechanical whir of the pump – like the rhythmic beating of a heart, artery and vein replaced by meters of plastic piping. A circulatory system crafted from a patchwork of odds and ends. Capable of producing beer with massive hop presence; like the smell left on your hands after handling fresh hops.

Bitter, light, cold, refreshing and acutely hoppy. Citrus fruits from the centennial and dank, leafy, resinous, near-vegetal notes from the columbus. That 69 is a fantastic IPA.

Then there was Sour Grapes. Ah, Sour grapes, such a beautiful disaster. An unwanted infection souring, quite literally, a batch of beer and the moods of two brewers. Seven hundred litres down the drain, only to discover that the infection had forced a wonderful transformation. A sample keg at the brewery tap flew out the door and the accidental became the intentional. The beer is now brewed and soured on purpose. It’s labelled as a gueuze but, being unblended, I guess it’s technically a lambic. Whatever. It was the first beer to run dry on the night and that says it all.

Dark Reserve was a seamless blend of bourbon and beer. The beer bringing a roast malt character, dark chocolate and bitterness; the bourbon bringing creamy vanilla, woody oak and velvety alcohol warmth. It’s easy for a beer to be consumed by the barrel it’s aged in, dominated by the bigger flavours and reduced to a cameo role. With Dark Reserve though, one silently sweeps into the next, leaving both parts intact but producing a new whole that’s better than the sum of its parts.

Lovibonds are something of a well-kept secret at the moment. Their beer doesn’t travel far and they don’t put anything in a cask. If you see their stuff around, give it a try!

6 comments:

Mark said...

Nice write up! They are great beers. I hope that Sour Grapes gets put into 750ml bottles... I'd certainly buy a few!

James said...

These guys do some really amazing beers. I've been immersed in some Colorado micro brews lately and nothing has impressed me like Lovibonds.

Jason Stevenson said...

Mark,

Thanks for your very kind words about our brewery and beers. One of the greatest rewards for us is when we make a beer that get's such rave reviews.

We are really surprised how well the Sour Grapes went down, as we know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but is a style of beer that both Jeff and I are big fans of.

The reason we call it a "Homage to Gueuze" rather than a Lambic is it is a blend of beer going into the barrel.

As for the Dark Reserve, (LDR2) that was an awesome beer going into the barrel, even if we say so ourselves very drinkable, we knew anything coming out would be special and we were not disappointed.

James, again thanks for your kind words.

Regards, Jason.

Leigh said...

what a shame about the Sour Grapes. So unusual to see a gueze or Lambic from these shores.

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Mark said...

James: You're in a lucky position if you're getting easy access to the best from Lovibonds AND the best from Colorado micros! :P Nice one.

Jason: Thanks for the clarification, I understand where you're coming from. Style aside, it tasted great, and that's the important thing.

Leigh: Exactly! Have you managed to try it yet?

Grande: Bit of a language problem there im afraid. :P