Quarter-final time. Croatia have certainly been one of the most entertaining teams of the competition. Russia, the host nation, were the lowest ranked team when this competition began. Arguably each has smashed expectations, and both came through the previous round by winning on penalties… Russia have played with their entire country behind them and have relished the football spotlight. Two favourable results at this point could see the host nation being in the FINAL! Could it happen? Surely not!
Mandatory “Citrus IPA” Facts
- Untappd Rating: 3.65 (at time of writing)
- Country of Origin: Croatia
- Brewery: The Garden Brewery
- ABV: 7.2%
- IBU: 65
- Style: IPA
- Serving: Can, 330ml
The Garden Brewery is absolutely phenomenal. The can designs are aesthetically pleasing, and I’ve already had a couple of brilliant beers from this brewery this year. They recently had an experimental series, which contained a stunning “Milkshake IPA”. On the front of this can, it stated “transformed by orange, fresh grapefruit and lime”: these are exactly the kind of accents I desire in a summer IPA. We had guests over, so I decided to enjoy this beer whilst playing Pathfinder Munchkin outside in the back garden!
The beer poured a deep amber colour, with a highly aeriated white foam head. Orange was the main aroma, with some slight tropical notes too. On sampling I got every single flavour note that The Garden Brewery have used to enhance this beer. Orange started at the forefront of the beer, but then quickly transitioned into a slightly sour grapefruit note, before being rounded off with a brilliantly sweet, yet sour, citrus-lime. Remember the days of old, when you would have a wedge of lime in the neck of a cerveza bottle? That’s exactly what the lime brought to this beer, except this beer base was far superior to a typical Spanish or Mexican lager. As the lime notes cleared, there was a light bitter finish to this wonderful beer. Even after I’d finished each sip, the flavour lingered on my palate.
Rating: 4.0/5. “Citrus IPA” means that The Garden Brewery have nailed another beer. This is a beautiful summer beer that I could easily drink a few glasses of. It provides an exceptional balance of lightness, with a moderate alcohol percentage and a complex flavour profile.
Mandatory “Baltika No.7” Facts
- Untappd Rating:04 (at time of writing)
- Country of Origin: Russia
- Brewery: Baltika Breweries
- Style: Lager
- Serving: Bottle, 500ml
I’d saved this beer ‘til the last possible moment. This bottle had a really nice shape to it, with a slightly concave base that sharply turned into a tall neck. Atop sat a strange cap – a cross between a ring-pull and a typical bottle cap. The beer poured a transparent yellow, with medium carbonation. There was a row of bubbles creating a film layer on top – I don’t think I could really justify calling it a head.
Little aroma came from the beer: taste followed suit, so there wasn’t much to shout home about. It was a typical mass-produced lager. There wasn’t a huge amount to describe, other than it being light, crisp and clean. It washed the palate clean and each taste was refreshing on a hot night: don’t confuse “refreshing” with “good” though.
Rating: 2.25/5. “Baltika No.7” was nice given that it was light and went down easily. Nothing tastes bad about this beer, but there’s no excitement when drinking it. Generic mass-produced lagers like this don’t even score halfway marks for me now, as they lack the complexity and depth that I strive for in a beer.
Football: Russia hallucinations. Incredible run so far. Croation held on in spite of a rough-ride from a Russian-heavy crowd and an injured keeper during penalties! Well-deserved wins with regards to both football and beer.