Weird Beard Mariana Trench (330ml, 5.3% ABV)
Beer is exploding. Not in that “Who shook up my bottle of stout?” kind of way, but in the number of people who are brewing it.
In 2012 there were 24 breweries in London. Four short years later, the number has more than tripled, and the Weird Beard Brewing Co are part of the renaissance. Founded in 2013 in West London, they aim to make hoppy beers with plenty of flavour, and to perform the occasional strange beer experiment of their own devising.
The artwork on their bottles and website looks like a tribute to Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Skulls everywhere, often with hops for eyes! The bottle caps feature a grinning Beelzebub. Could there be a clearer warning?
Mariana Trench is described as a “Transpacific” Pale Ale – it uses hops from the US and New Zealand, and plenty of them. It pours a yellowy gold with a modest head. Like many of the best bottled beers, it’s bottle conditioned, so it’s best to pour slowly and halt before the gunk goes in the glass (it won’t do any harm, but it will affect the flavour and make the beer hazy).
A quick sniff gives a strong – and delicious – odour of mangoes. But beer’s all about the taste, right? I’ve drunk Mariana Trench once before and remember it being halfway towards an India Pale Ale (IPA), but on this second encounter I’ve changed my mind. There’s a great wallop of hoppy goodness, true, but it’s not as bitter as most IPAs. A soft fruitiness and a solid foundation of alcohol means it’s a long way from being a one-dimensional hop monster. It also glides down very easily. The aftertaste is long and satisfying – a tropical tango tripping across your tongue.
Not so scary after all!
By Richard Salsbury