S43 Brewery

I know that one shouldn’t judge a beer by the label, but it is hard not to be swayed by this set of beers. The entire range has the most colourful can designs that I’ve seen in quite some time: they are striking and jump off the shelf, encouraging any passer-by to have a closer look… Then, upon further inspection, each beer has a playful synopsis, giving the beer a depth of character, even before sampling! These cans are bright, fun and inviting and the entire range is vegan-friendly.  Many thanks to S43 for reaching out to me and sending this complimentary selection (though this will not impact my diagnosis)!

 

Mandatory “Go Go Juice” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 4.01 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 6.5%
  • IBU: 30
  • Style: NEIPA
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

The lovely blue can with purple, burgundy and green accents reminded me of the sea, with coral reef creeping in from the sides. It poured a thick, hazy, orange and produced a tall bubbly foam head, tinted a slight yellow. On the nose, a creamy, dominant mango aroma and general citrus scents came through. On sampling, the mouthfeel reflected this, with a fullness and richness that enhanced the experience. The citrus and tropical elements were subtle in this beer, but they slowly built upon repetitive tasting until mango and pineapple flavours lingered. A gentle bitterness with resinous pine finished it off, whilst the boozy 6.5% ABV crept up as the beer disappeared.

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Diagnosis: 3.25/5. “Go Go Juice” is a nice, easy-drinking beer, but could be a bit bolder in its base flavours.

 

Mandatory “Get Snozzed” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.95 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 7.3%
  • IBU: 30
  • Style: DIPA
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

From a bright orange can came a similarly coloured, hazy brew. It had a bright white bubbly foam head and looked immediately inviting. It had big tropical aromas; more so than those of  Go Go Juice. As soon as the orange liquid graced my lips, a tropical juice bomb exploded onto my palate. I got bursts of mango and stone fruit, which finished with a warming resinous fresh pine. It was a full-bodied beer, with a rich mouthfeel and minimal carbonation. It was neither particularly sweet nor bitter; it remained on the fence, trying to please all of my taste buds. It was definitely juicy and if this was what the factitious “Snozzleberry” tasted of, I’d have been ordering these by the bucket.

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Diagnosis: 4.25/5. “Get Snozzed” is very similar in style to some of the beers produced by the best breweries in the country e.g. Verdant and Cloudwater. This is definitely a winner. At 7.2%, I’d advise stopping after a 440ml can; however, this could prove difficult if, like me, you enjoy a delightful meld of resinous, tropical and stone fruit flavours.

 

 

Mandatory “Big Dank” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 4.12 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 7.0%
  • Style: IPA
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

Finally, I came to S43’s core IPA. A predominantly black can had contrasting bright pink and blue colours. I noticed immediately that this IPA had an ABV of 7%, meaning that the double was only a tiny bit stronger at 7.2%! The beer was once more a bright orange colour, though it was potentially the brightest of the quartet, with a soft white foam head. The olfactory senses picked up subtle scents of mango, passionfruit and citrus. On sampling, these citrus flavours came through initially, but they were quickly replaced by a dominant resinous and bittering pine. Again, the beer had a full-bodied mouthfeel with a thick and rich texture. The word “dank” came to mind: describing herbaceous tones that can be created from hop-filled beers (some people think it resembles marijuana!). Dank not only featured in the name of this beer but was undeniably present upon drinking. It was very herbaceous and had a gentle funk twist, which complemented its 7% ABV.

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Diagnosis: 4.0/5. “Big Dank” is big? Yes. Dank? Definitely! Personally, I would prefer a little more citrus, but this certainly delivers on the name without detracting from the beer itself.

 

Mandatory “Fat White” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 4.01 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 6.0%
  • Style: Milkshake IPA
  • Serving: Can, 440ml

My final beer from Sonnet 43 continued the theme of colourful can designs, with a baby blue and pink label. It poured a light orange colour with a small foam head that had a slight pink hue. Mango and tropical juicy tones dominated the aromas of this beer and were enhanced by softly swirling the glass. This additional disruption of the liquid allowed some subtle vanilla notes to come through. I sampled the beer slowly, treasuring it as it was my last from the brewery. It had the creamiest nature of the quartet. As the creamy texture dissipated, it left the flavours of mango and pine. The tasting profile was quite gentle – less than what I was expecting. Once the warming, boozy tone at the end of the drink faded, a sweet vanilla touch lingered.

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Diagnosis: 3.5/5. “Fat White” has an amazing texture and I love the fading vanilla. Nonetheless, I think it would be enhanced if the mango and pine were to be more pronounced!

 

To finish this series, I had a vodka chaser… Not my usual style; however, this vodka was a bit different. Hophead vodka uses hops during the distilling process. My fiancée got a miniature sample as part of a birthday present of tasting drams from the website Masters of Malt (LINK). It smelled like the booziest of IPAs, with herbaceous, resinous and grassy tones. On sampling, it definitely had hoppy characteristics, featuring a mild citrus and resinous tasting profile. There was a typical warming boozy vodka finish. It was effective to drink it as a chaser following a good beer. I could imagine it would be popular during a beer tasting event.

 

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