Yeovil Ales YPA (500ml bottle, 7.3% ABV, vegan)
Let’s talk about finings. No, I’m not referring to that fixed penalty notice you once got for driving at 47mph in a 40 limit*, I mean the stuff that brewers use to clarify beer. Traditionally, this meant using isinglass, a substance made from the swim bladders of fish. If a brewer wanted their beer to be vegetarian/vegan, they had to use artificial equivalents (which have their own disadvantages), or accept a cloudy beer (which some drinkers still insist is proof that the beer is off).
Yeovil Ales take a third approach – stick the beer in a conditioning tank and reduce the temperature to near freezing. This helps the yeast settle out. There’s still a very slight haze, but if you’re not looking for it, you might not even notice.
YPA is styled as a ‘peachy double IPA’, and it would be difficult to come up with a more appropriate description. Golden colour? Check. High strength? Check. Peachy flavour? Yes sir.
It’s this last that really defines the beer. It has a noticeably soft fruitiness rather than the citrus hit of many modern IPAs, with peach, apricot and mellow fruitiness rising above a formidable boozy backbone. The syrupy mouthfeel gives way to a dry bitterness, but again it’s all rather relaxed for such a potent pint.
It’s the sort of beer Keats would have liked.
Another thing about Yeovil Ales – it’s taken me months to realise how clever their logo is. Keep staring, keep staring. You’ll see it eventually.