Anyone who has even glanced at my blog will probably know that my favourite style of beer by far is the IPA. Unfortunately, quality IPA’s are hard to come by in your average Queensland bottle shop; there’s a handful available, but nearly all of these are US imports. It’s very rare that we see a quality Australian craft IPA, and when we do it’s in short supply. That’s all about to change though, thanks to the Burleigh Brewing Company and their new FIGJAM IPA.
It’s through their ‘A bit on the Side’ project, which has brought us the likes of Fannie Gertrudes Bickie Beer and the Zarafas coffee infused Black Giraffe. Now they’re unleashing a big bad IPA to carry the Queensland craft beer flag! And as a born and bred Queenslander, I’m just a bit excited. The Burleigh range of beers has a strong presence in bottle shops and bars around my local Brisbane area, so hopefully this means that I’ll be able to get a fresh, locally produced IPA whenever I want!
The bottle says:
The bottle is cool. FIGJAM IPA in big letters surrounded by pictures of hops, barley and a skateboarding Indian elephant…it looks like a kid has gone mad on a chalk board. The bottle is packed full of info too: there’s a brief history of the IPA style, a basic rundown of what’s in (and what’s not in) this particular brew, and even a suggested serving temperature and food pairing options (which includes figs). There’s also an AR code that can be scanned by your phone, allowing you to hear a message from head brewer Brennan Fielding.
The one thing it doesn’t outline is the reason behind the name. I’m sure most people remember the old FIGJAM slogan – F*ck I’m Good, Just Ask Me – so perhaps this beer is just ultra-confident?
When the bottle opened there was a quick sweet malt hit followed by a strong aroma of tropical fruit, reminiscent of another famous Aussie ale brewed near the Pacific. It’s a clear golden yellow colour, quite light for an IPA, with a nice white head and just a sprinkling of bubbles travelling up the glass. The aromas are awesome; it’s the type of beer that I could smell all day. When I say tropical fruit, I’m talking everything – there’s citrus, passionfruit, lychee, mango, pineapple…it truly is a cup full of fruit. The taste is a light yet solid malt that finishes with a bitterness that closes in and sits on a single point in the middle of the tongue, alerting you to its existence without trying to bash your tastebuds.
It’s a lighter bodied IPA, which I’m not usually a big fan of…but it works here, giving the beer a light, fresh quality that works beautifully with the tropical aromas and the light malt.
It’s been nice so far, but once it warms a little, it really starts to shine. The aroma and the taste start to bleed into one another, adding a nice malt to the tropical aroma and some citrus flavours to the slightly sweeter malt and bitterness (this is definitely a beer to drink towards the top end of its suggested serving temp) The bitterness also becomes more prominent, moving from its camp in the centre of the tongue to whirl around the entire mouth. There’s still nothing aggressive about it, allowing you to enjoy the bitter finish while having another smell of the aroma. The final few sips have some orange marmalade in there, and there’s a slight alcohol flavour that joins the bitterness.
It’s quite possible that I’ve found my summer beer for this season. I admit that I may be blinded by the fact that this beer is proudly made in Queensland, but quite frankly I don’t care…this is a cracking brew perfectly designed for the Australian summer. It has all of the flavours you want in a great American IPA without mauling your tastebuds with a barrage of bitterness. If you’re chasing a hop bomb, look elsewhere. If you’re after an ale that has the balance of an elephant riding a skateboard (you’ll need to buy a bottle to get that reference) then FIGJAM IPA is the ale that you want to be drinking…with or without figs.