An evening of IPA at The Needle and Pin, Loughborough

IPA is a broad church. This delightful little evening at our delightful little micro pub, The Needle & Pin, was set up by Sean to showcase just that fact. I was doubly happy that I was able to make it, because the original date clashed with something else.

We went on a tour of beers from the pale ale category, whilst Sean entertained us with some of the history of IPA. The tour kicked off with Siren Craft Brew’s Vermont Tea Party, a “loose leaf pale ale with Earl Grey tea & lemon zest.” I’d actually had this for the first time in Manchester just last month, it’s perfumed but well balanced, bitterness, lemon and a hint of #keepittea – tasty! A nice gentle start to the evening.

Gentle is not a word for the next brew, a collaboration  between Northern Monk and the Plant Room, and the first thing I’ve seen from Northern Monk that’s not in a can. They took 50 kilos of apricots and 40 kilos of peaches and pulverised them into this “peach & apricot IPA”. There’s a lot of fruit in it. There’s a lot of pulp in it. You can just see some floating in suspension in the glass. Fruit beer yes. IPA no.

We move on to India Pale Ale Citra Summit from The Kernel Brewery. This is an absolutely classic, textbook IPA. Complex like a good wine. Super citra flavours, piney goodness. It’s a close call between this and the next one for beer of the night.

That next one is Magic Rock’s Cannonball. They describe it as an “India Pale Ale in the true tradition, high in alcohol and massively hopped to survive a long sea voyage. Tropically fruity, resinous hops compete against a sweet malty backbone, while a rasping bitterness builds to a mouth puckering crescendo.”

It’s certainly full of happy hoppiness. I could have sworn that I’ve had this but Untappd said no, so it must still be in stock somewhere.

The tasting finished off with Black Betty by Beavertown. A black IPA. A big fat contradiction, jet black but light and hoppy. Heavy-handed use of columbus, chinook and citra hops, with some German malt mixed in. Bam a lam! Stop. Hop hammer time. Definitely getting lavender on the finish. Very interesting stuff. A classy IPA and a great end to another great night at the N&P. I’m already looking forward to the next one, and yes, there will be a review.

There was time for a bit of shopping. There always is when you are at the N&P. This weekend we are holding a mini beer festival (edit: it became known as The Summer House beer festival) concentrating on stouts and porters and this will be part of my contribution.

There was also another intriguing beer that I just had to have. Voodoo Doughnut Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale from Rogue Ales & Spirits, an intriguing lemony treat.

Look for a report next month some time.

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