Words - Matthew Curtis | Photos - Dianne Tanner
I'm not sure how or where it originated but over in the United States they call Bucks Fizz a Mimosa. Replacing the sparkling wine with beer gives you a beer-mosa, a near perfect way to take the harsh edge off the morning after the night before. In Germany they have a similar concept, mixing beer with fruit juice to create a Radler, a sweeter, lower alcohol alternative to a lager or weisse bier.
In my hand is a can of Sixpoint Rad, a 3.2% beer blended with grapefruit juice. It's cloudy orange in colour and unsurprisingly smells of grapefruit with an ester-y almost bubblegum like note lingering in the background. I'm not sure if I like it at first but soon my hangover is softened and I begin to feel a bit more capable of taking on the day. In the end I quite enjoy it and could see why other people might too but can't fully envision it taking off in the UK, at least maybe not right at this moment.
Earlier in the year I wrote a piece about Sixpoint Hi-Res, a limited edition triple IPA from the well known Brooklyn based brewery. I remarked on how I enjoyed the beer but tasted a distinct barley wine character and didn't quite receive the aroma hop battering I had been told to expect. Shortly after I had published the post I was contacted by the owner/founder of Sixpoint Shane Welch who very kindly said that he enjoyed the article but the beer must've been about four months old and past its best. He then went on to offer to send me some freshly canned beers, direct from the brewery. Despite any misgivings you may have about bloggers getting free beer I certainly wasn't going to deny myself the opportunity to try these beers in almost their freshest state.
More importantly though this gave me an opportunity to discuss with Shane his plans for Sixpoint and his ongoing business relationship with pub chain J. D. Wetherspoon. The very fact that he had taken the time to read my blog and offered to send me some beer is clear evidence that the UK is a very important part of his plans and that the Wetherspoon relationship is most definitely not some fly-by-night affair. He assured me that things were running smoothly and that their beers had been very well received, he also mentioned that some of their beers may be made available on cask in the not too distant future. There has been a lot of rumour and hearsay flying around about this partnership but for now it seems that all is well. Regardless of your opinion on this you cannot deny that Sixpoint's UK profile has increased massively and we can be confident that their beer will be available over here for a long while to come.
So what of the beer I received? It was nice to see Bengali all dressed up in its updated packaging and it was packed full of the bittersweet tangerine flavour that makes it so damn drinkable. Resin, their double IPA was a borderline religious experience, especially when as fresh as this. The aroma that was expelled from the can itself was dripping with pine sap and mango. It was intense, chewy and practically glued itself to the roof of my mouth but had a bitter finish big enough to strip the palate clean afterwards. The real treat though was The Crisp. A lot can be said for fresh IPA but as I mentioned last week lately I just can't get enough fresh pils down my throat. It's almost too easy to drink and the cascade of grassy, herbal bitterness in the finish is incredibly satisfying.
I'm still not sure if Rad is my thing but what was apparent was that all these beers were dialled in, rock solid and as well presented as they are well made. Let's put that into context. Sixpoint were founded in 2004 in an urban borough of the USA's largest city. In just a decade they've grown to become a brand that is recognised by beer fans globally and has been incredibly successful at integrating itself within its own market and those abroad. Now let's turn our gaze to London, where fledgling breweries are taking that next step, expanding production, moving into export and getting their core recipes so dialled in that they've got beer to rival the best in the world. Sixpoint are a wonderful example of all we have got to look forward to in the UK and living proof that craft beer is neither a bubble or a fad.
I was sent this beer for free but I don't think that affected my opinion of it.