A little while ago Little Creatures was bought out by Lion Nathan. At the time I was concerned that it would mean the slow death of Little Creatures, that the takeover by the corporate giant would change the brewery’s focus. Lion didn’t, at the time, have a great track record for pushing their craft beers.
But Lion, to their credit, have let Little Creatures run their own race, and have not played with the fantastic Little Creatures Pale Ale at all. In fact things seem to be going so well at the WA brewery that they have added a new full time addition to their line up, an Indian Pale Ale (IPA).
The beer itself has taken a fair while to become available at my local, and still only seems to be only available at the larger Woolies or Coles bottleos or your local independent bottleshop, where I finally sourced mine from. I did notice that my local independent bottle-o got them before Dan’s did too, which may might point toward fresher stock in the months to come.
The IPA style of beer is one that dates back to the early 1800’s when beer was being shipped from England to India. Traditionally the beer is very hoppy, and was slightly more alcoholic than the other pale ales of the time. It’s commonly thought that they were brewed in this style to survive the shipping; however the stouts and porters of the time survived the trip, so no one is truly sure of why this style was developed.
Today the beer is found worldwide in varying degrees of hop, malt and alcohol levels. In the last twenty or so years, there has been a shift in styles though, to an English traditional style, and the American highly hopped style.
The Little Creatures IPA is a little lost on where it wants to be, it has the aromas that point towards the American style, and yet the taste isn’t where an American IPA would be. It’s got strong pine and citrus hop aromas that linger quite long on the nose, along with touches of a biscuity cheesecake style base.
The flavours on the tongue are nowhere near as strong as the aromas are though. The hops are there, aggressive and bitter with a slight herbal, astringency to it. There is that undeniable “Little Creatures” late on the tongue too. The full gamut of aromas doesn’t follow through onto the tongue as well as they could.
It’s a decent enough beer, but it doesn’t hold up to the standards the Little Creatures have set so high for themselves with their Pale Ale, or even their always fantastic single batch brews. Little Creatures showed with their Pale Ale how you could give an American style Pale Ale an Aussie twist, yet there is nothing really that “new” or Aussie with their IPA. If they could match the aromas to the taste and body, then this would probably take up more space than food in my fridge.
All said and done, it’s probably not a great beer for the IPA loving hop heads out there. However it’s probably a great beer for those out there looking for something that they can venture into craft beers on.
Three great IPA’s:
Feral Hop Hog Indian Pale Ale– boy oh boy, what a smell. Best out of the glass, where you can enjoy the aromas of pine and citrus, which come from a huge dose of hops during the boil and late in the fermenting stage. The taste is clean and crisp, earthy hoppiness and light citrus to it, a brisk bitter and dry finish that makes it hugely refreshing and sessionable.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA – this is one of those times when words fail to explain how good beer can be. It may not be the perfect beer for everyone, but it’s as perfect as I think I’m ever going to see. Nice rich hoppy aromas, with citrus on the tongue and a lovely malty biscuit backbone. Not cheap, but at 7.2% alcohol you won’t be having too many in a session anyway.
Burleigh Brewing Figjam IPA – another big 7% beer here, however this one doesn’t taste like it’s so high in alcohol. Five malts and five hops gives a beer that has a creamy feel in the mouth, light easy going malty toffiness and summer fruits to it. I found this extremely sessionable, very thirst quenching, but trust me, that 7% can sneak up on you.