Andwell Red IPA (500ml bottle, 4.5% ABV)
I’ve written before about the widespread use of IPA for beers that aren’t pale, or strong, or even particularly hoppy.
But what if you make a hoppy ale and it happens to be red? Calling it an India Red Ale might seem like a good idea, until you give it five seconds’ thought. And what qualifies as ‘strong’ anyway? According to the BJCP Style Guidelines, English strong bitter can be as low as 4.6% alcohol, a piffling amount next to a barley wine or a Belgian tripel.
Maybe I need to ponder these philosophical questions and relax my ideas about what an IPA is. Best done with a beer, I think. Andwell’s Red IPA seems ideal for the purpose.
The aroma, strangely, reminds me of limes. The taste is a beguiling combination of firm, peppery bitterness, pink grapefruit, and berries. The 4.5% alcohol makes for a light and easy-drinking brew, but the long, spicy bitterness means there’s no danger of mistaking this for a light, insipid beer. It’s got some welly.
Perhaps in the end there are only two categories of beer that really matter: good and bad. The only problem is that no-one can agree which beer should go in which category. But for what it’s worth, I think this is one of the good ones.
Written by Richard Salsbury