Thursday, 21 December 2017

It's not NEIPA, it's me

It feels like it's speak-your-branes time on NEIPA as a beer style, so here we go: I'm still basically unconvinced. I try them, when I'm in the mood and there's a reputable example on hand, and I can tell that they're well brewed and I sort of enjoy them, but I never really feel the need to rush back immediately for more.

I think that for me the issue is that I love all those big whooshy tropical fruit flavours in a beer but I love them as part of a package that's light, fresh and refreshing. Whereas most NEIPA isn't light, fresh and refreshing - for all the talk about drinkability, they're still big, sweet, mouth-filling beers. I get cognitive dissonance - do I sip at this, like a big sweet stout, or swig it, like a hoppy pale ale? Should this beer be challenging? Comforting? Refreshing? What? Maybe a lot of people don't get this and enjoy appreciatively sipping their way through a pale and fruity beer. Maybe people with sweeter teeth and stronger livers than me are knocking it back like juice. Either way, I personally don't really get enough out of the experience to justify the price tag that often, let alone the sort of planning and queuing that seems to be involved in getting hold of the most sought-after examples.

Something that I have enjoyed a lot is beers at the "Session NEIPA" end of the Juicy Banger spectrum - similar hop whoosh and marshmallowy softness but in a package that's light enough to happily knock back. Another thing that sounds right up my street, but which I've yet to see in the wild, is the "Tart NEIPA" - still big sweet and fruity, but with a light kettle souring to balance it without adding bitterness. Yes please!

For now, though, I'm just going to enjoy the amount of FOMO I'm saved by not being overexcited by the currently trendy beer style.

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