This post was going to be a wrap-up of the Archive’s Little Creatures IPA launch event. ammo and I were going to spend our Monday night excitedly trying the newest addition to the Little Creatures lineup. Unbeknownst to me, but hardly surprising given Lion’s trend of not matching marketing to distribution, the IPA was actually available – widely available – the week before. We managed to get our hands on some last Thursday and by the Friday, it was available at my local bottleshop. When you’ve already had two and a bit bottles of the beer, attending the launch event seemed redundant.
Nonetheless, the IPA is an exciting prospect on paper. Little Creatures’ Pale Ale is my go-to craft beer to take to a party (sometimes it’s 4 Pines Kolsch) and Feral’s Hop Hog is in a class of it’s own in the IPA stakes. The Little Creatures IPA has a lot of work to do to get ahead of those two.
Little Creatures describes the IPA as:
Sitting alongside our Pale Ale, the IPA will deliver the big, rugged hop flavours and the citrusy nose that you would expect. However you’ll also detect aniseed and savoury notes, balanced out with a long firm bitterness to finish.
Or you can watch the mildly irritating Youtube clip (yep, getting my money’s worth for the Videopress plugin):
“For when you want a little more”…than the Pale Ale being the unspoken words on the tagline. Clearly, the IPA is positioned as the next step for the aspiring beer geek to take on the road to infinite beer complexity nirvana.
To that end, the IPA has a very similar look to the non-Indianised pale ale (which seems like the most racist way to say that). According to the website, it’s 30 on the EBC scale, putting it halfway between the Pale Ale and Rogers. There’s a bit of head but nothing spectacular; a regular fluffy white pillow adorning the top of your beer.
There’s a sensible amount of hop aroma coming off the top. By the somewhat resinous, somewhat cat piss, somewhat fruity mix of smells, there’s a melange of hops available, which Crafty confirms are Victoria’s Secret, East Kent Goldings, Amarillo and Southern Cross. Served correctly, the aroma is quite intriguing and not overpowering.
Considering that’s four varieties, you’d expect a hop bomb. The IPA is actually quite subdued. There’s some honey sweetness and some fruitiness and…that’s about it. The copy is right that there’s a firm, lasting bitterness but it’s not staggering. At 60 IBUs – noting that my palate is not calibrated to measure IBUs – I was expecting more but I’m left with a pleasant, measured and, yes, balanced beer. The restraint is a stark contrast to a beer like Murray’s Icon 2IPA, which is ostensibly in the same category but with wildly different products.
In any case, the IPA is not a brave new step out into the wilderness from the perspective of a beer geek. There’s been no risks taken which is why few reading this will find the IPA exciting beyond the initial rush of having something new. However, it is worth noting that this is the strongest beer that Lion brew regularly and the only American IPA in their portfolio (to my knowledge – correct me if I’m wrong), so it is a step out into the wilderness for the corporate decision-makers who presumably hold Little Creatures’ purse strings. I suspect it’s a gamble that will pay decent dividends.
- Genre: IPA
- Regionality: Fremantle, WA
- Strength: 6.4%
- Rating: 2 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 3.5 / 5
- Plus: Nice to see a new Little Creatures regular
- Minus: But it’s no Hop Hog