Fish Key Red IPA (500ml, 4.9% ABV)

In her seminal 1818 novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley imagines a creature brought to life from the parts of dead people. And she seemed like such a nice, sensible girl. I blame it on the influence of that Lord Byron …

Fish Key Breweries are much in the habit of Frankensteining these days, welding together styles without a care in the world for tradition or categories. More power to ’em! Without innovation new styles would never be born. After all, an old ale is historically a mixture of strong beer aged for a considerable period and freshly brewed, lighter ale; the German Dunkelweizen is a fusion of wheat beer and dark lager.

The Fish Key Brewing Company is based in the harbour town of Looe, Cornwall, with views over the river. They’re a very new brewery, and their Red IPA is so fresh from the fermenter that their website still lists it as ‘coming soon’.

Their Red IPA, or RIPA, is part IPA, part ruby ale, and to my mind, part brown ale too. It has a nutty odour, which carries on over to the taste, where it’s joined by the citrus and grapefruit of a traditional IPA, but fused with the full and fruity taste of red berries. It’s unusually creamy for the style, and finishes with the expected hoppy bitterness.

An unusual combination it might be, but it all works together with certain heretical harmony. This one’s taken on a life of its own.

Written by Richard Salsbury


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