Monday, 17 March 2014

Emelisse Blond

Emelisse Blond
Style: IPA
Alcohol Content: 6.8%
From: Kamperland, The Netherlands
Purchased from: Real Ale Shop, Richmond-Upon-Thames

I love stumbling across new breweries. Every time I visit a bottle shop I will always try and buy a range of different styles from range of breweries across the globe. So upon my visit to the Real Ale shop in Richmond last February, I realised that my shopping basket was lacking a Golden Ale or Blonde. Whilst scouring the shelves I came across a beer called Emelisse Blond. Naturally with the word blond in the title I thought I was on to a winner. A few months later it was Emelisse turn to have its time to shine in my glass. As soon as I popped the cap, I realised that all was not as it seems. Rather than being a blond, this drink turned out to be a dark potent IPA. A brunette rather a blond so to speak. So let's see what this wolf in sheep's clothing has to offer. First some notes on the brewery itself.

Back in 1998, A keen home brewer by the name of Fre Buizze formed the Emelisse foundation. The foundation had one simple goal, brew a beer using locally grown malting barley. Fre approached De Halve Mann brewery in Hulst to help him in his quest. The beer was such a roaring success that by 2004 the foundation decided to strike out on its own and move to their own premises in Kamperland, Holland. Head brewmaster, Kees Bubberman is a keen innovator and often visits other brewery to share experiences and gain valuable insights. One of these successful visits to Manchester based Marble, produced a Earl Grey IPA, which I had the pleasure of trying a couple of years ago. Currently the brewery outputs around 2000 hectolitres per annum with some of their production outsourced to Proefbrouwerij in Hijfte.

Are you wearing a wig?
Colour: Pours a light chestnut brown with a thick head of foam. The foam will dissipate slightly as you drink but the remnants lace the glass beautifully. It was here that I thought to myself this is definitely not a Blond beer. This looks more like an archetypal IPA.

Aroma: Big bold tropical notes of mango, pineapple and citrus will fill your nostrils straight away. An underlining sour citrus note follows, which will initially take you back but eventually mellows as the drink warms. After a few minutes in the glass, the sourness resembles notes of blackberries mixed with a sensation of sweet caramel and crumbled biscuits. These notes are very faint and took a lot of sniffing to get to the bottom of.

Body: This beer is hopped heavily with the Nelson Sauvin hop. To me, this hop helps to create a wine like mouthfeel to every drink it's added to. It coats the back of your throat and can be quite unpleasant if you don't like wine. After you swallow the drink, your mouth will feel very sticky and dry.

Taste: After a pleasant start of notes of smooth, sweet caramel, a brutal hit of almost pure alcohol will knock you off your feet. This IPA holds no punches nor makes no attempt to mask the high ABV. The drink feels so potent that it unfortunately takes away some of the character after of this beer. My advice would be to let the drink warm in the glass for a while as this seems to mellow the alcohol slightly. The warming also changes the character slightly, as the beer becomes more Sauvignon Blanc like. Not my favourite beer, but worth trying if you want something different.

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