I’ve mentioned before some of the pitfalls of chasing down beers from the epic list; specifically the fact that sometimes I’ll stumble across one during a drinking session that’s left me in a state of inebriation. Usually when I consume a beer under this influence, it’s very easy to see all the positives about it and then write a glowing review. But this isn’t what occurred when I found the Thornbridge Jaipur during a mini bar crawl the other day. Instead I was left feeling confused, angry, disappointed, and a little hungry.
Thankfully I managed to capture all of my thoughts on my trusty iPhone. So here’s my less-than-lucid account of beer number 152 from the epic list, the Thornbridge Jaipur.
What’s on the bottle
The label has a retro-psychedelic kick to it, with bright purple statue of a naked lady in front of shimmering waves of bright orange – I guess that’s what going to a museum on acid would be like. The label is gilded in gold, which also covers the neck of the bottle which always catches my attention. The rear label also has a spiel that describes what to expect from the beer, which turned out to be part of the problem I had with it…
What’s in the bottle
Thornbridge Jaipur is an IPA, which was perfect – I’d already tried a gang of fantastic hoppy beers that day (props to the Riverside ‘77’ IPA, the Cavalier Pale and ‘Can’t Fight the Funk’ from BrewCult) and I was keen to continue the trend. This was another part of the problem; I was now both expecting and craving a hop bomb. Anyway, here’s a (relatively) unedited recap of my drunken thoughts:
Pour it into the glass…it looks so much lighter than you’d expect an IPA to look, all fluffy and yellow like a Pacific Ale…check the label – yep, it definitely says it’s an IPA. Smell it…some really light citrus, no massive hoppy notes, some candy sweetness, a little bit Gobstopper-ish…check the label again – yep, still says it’s an IPA. Taste it…the flavours are ridiculously light for an IPA…Light malt, light hops….Light and florally…I just….nope, I need to check the label one more time to make sure I’m not mistaken – yep, defs says it’s an IPA. Some typically English apricot comes in at the end, but even that isn’t all that intense. There’s a light bitterness at the end as well. The rear label actually goes as far as to say that the beer is “soft and smooth but builds to a crescendo of massive hoppiness”…ummm, I’m missing something here. Specifically, I’m missing the MASSIVE hoppiness. And food, I think it’s time for some food as well. But forget that…this beer is ok. I guess. But it’s not an IPA.
I even managed to write down a drunken Final Thought!:
It’s good because it’s not doing anything wrong…but it calls itself an IPA, and there’s just not that much there. It’s a bit so-so. I don’t get it
This actually sums things up pretty well. I’d been drinking hops all day, I wanted more of that, and the label on this beer promised that. But it simply didn’t deliver on that promise. If someone had told me “look, the Jaipur isn’t your typical IPA, so be prepared for a smoother experience” then I would have approached the beer differently, and probably would have enjoyed it a lot more. It’s only fair that I revisit it one day, while sober, and with much, much lower expectations.
Fact from the book…
Jaipur is named after the Indian city, which is famous for its ‘pink’ walls (I think this had more of a link to the previous label). The brewery also recommends to drink this beer young so that the “succulent hop notes can be savoured”. So maybe mine was a little older than it should’ve been?