As I come to the end of my annual leave, I carefully choose the beer that I am going to sample next, knowing it will be my last for a few days. Unsurprisingly, the beer is from Grunting Growler, a fantastic beer shop with a chilled vibe and a fantastic owner. If you’re ever in Glasgow and want a beer, this is the place I’d recommend. It stocks beers from all over the world, encompassing a great selection of draught and bottled/canned brews, to either drink-in or take-away!
The beer sampled today was from UnBarred Brewery, founded in 2014 by a group of guys that initially started homebrewing in their tiny kitchen flat. They are one of many that have taken the daunting leap, transitioning from home-brewers to an established brewery. Instead of a core range, UnBarred base their current beers on the availability of fresh ingredients and enjoy toying with the concept of “hybrid beers”. With such variety, the world could potentially be at their fingertips if some of their results are exceptional. The first beer that I’m trying from this brewery is called ‘Tasman Sea’, which was a collaboration with ‘Villages’, brewed at ‘Missing Link Brewing’.
Mandatory “Tasman Sea” Facts
- Untappd Rating: 3.86 (at time of writing)
- ABV: 7.5%
- Style: NEIPA
- Serving: Can, 400 ml
Right, so you have to learn something before drinking. Geography lesson (don’t worry it’s a quick tutorial)… The Tasman Sea is between Australia and New Zealand. Hops are used from either side of this sea. ‘Galaxy’ and ‘Experiment AU035’ hops are used from the surfer’s paradise continent, whilst ‘Taiheke’ are used from the vast hills of New Zealand. So now that you are aware of the locations of hops and the Tasman Sea, I can tell you more about the beer!
The can design is simple and sleek. A gentle wave pattern is present in combination the dominant teal-based background. I poured the can, noting quite a strong ABV at >7%, though this is quite standard for the NEIPA variety. The beer poured a toffee colour, with a slight pearly-white foam head, reminiscent of the foam produced by waves crashing on the shoreline. This faded quickly toward the rim of the glass. Aromas were primarily citrusy and although the beer wasn’t transparent, it did have a moderately hazy appearance (albeit less than other NEIPAs that I’ve sampled).
This was a complex beer. It started as a bitter caramel, which I adored. It then transitioned into a citrus blend provided by the stunning galaxy hops. The end point of an NEIPA typically transforms into a bitter edge, but this beer differs… Instead, a slight saltiness faded onto the palate, though not overwhelmingly – just enough to heighten the flavours of this beer. This worked exceptionally well, particularly with the nautical theme. When I think about desserts in today’s world, chefs are edging away from the “sweetness” and are seasoning components with a pinch of salt to lift the dish to a greater level. This is similarly achieved within this beer, enhancing the coastal branding and adding greater complexity.
Rating 3.75/5. ‘Tasman Sea’ is a stunning beer. Bitterness, citrus and salt make an incredible tasting combination. If I was being greedy, to make this beer even better I would just want even more – both in flavour and by providing it in a 500ml can.
‘UnBarred Brewery’ have a fantastic range: I can’t wait to sample even more of their stock.
Want to find out more about UnBarred? Check out their Meet the Makers