Friday, 31 August 2012

Red Fox Brewery - Foxymoron 4.5%

The name Black IPAs is here to stay it would seem, usurping Cascadian Dark as a more encompassing term for thin, dark (black!) hoppy beers, and they really have to be hoppy.I think anyone who's had Brodies Dalston Black IPA for example, as I did at this years GBBF will attest to how big, gutsy and downright fantastic they can be.

I've singled out Brodies on purpose as had their black IPA been brewed prior to 1965, before the new administrative area called Greater London swallowed up the south western-most extremes of the county, then it could have rightly claimed to have been the first commercially brewed in Essex. This honour now, however belongs to the Red Fox brewery in Coggeshall.

Red Fox was founded in some specially refurbished chicken sheds in 2008 by Russ Barnes, former head brewer at Crouch Vale. They use only East Anglian malts and produce a wide range of traditional, an some not-so-traditional beers, the Wily 'Ol Fox and Coggeshall Gold are particular favourites, and whereas the aforementioned Brodies Dalston Black is a big 7.0%, Foxymoron is a more modest 4.5%. I picked it up at a local off-licence, the Shenfield Wine Co. that has a good range of local ales as well as a surprisingly good range of German beers. Foxymoron, according to the bottle is an 'American style black IPA' brewed with American Chinook hops, and as this is a favourite of mine I have high expectations.

It pours a very very dark brown, a shade off black, with a ruby red edge and a light beige head, It has a rather pleasant sweet-shop fruity liquorice aroma with hints of aniseed and basil. Initially smooth as silk over the tongue with a light herbal wash, it leaps to the top of the mouth and back of throat with a huge crashing dryness. Flavours of liquorice mixed with tarragon and basil explode slap-bang in the middle of the tongue with a little soya milk sweetness outlining it. There's some milk chocolate in the finish drying to a sharp herbal note with some tropical fruit flavours right at the end.

Essex's first black IPA isn't half bad, certainly scoring well in the flavour stakes and while it's obviously not as in your face as higher abv examples it's one I'll looking out for again. Yet another beer that makes me proud to be an Essex boy.

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