I was recommended the Tiny Rebel beers by a personal friend who happens to work at an award-winning local brewery. How could I not trust him, considering I really like all his beers, and some I even love? Well, at the time, the shop I work at had Full Nelson, FUBAR (which is an acronym for something I’d best not say in polite company…) and, of course, Urban IPA. I tried them all on separate nights (as the first drink so my palate was fresh! 🙂 ), but the latter is really a very interesting brew. It uses an intercontinental blend of hops, marking it out from more traditional IPAs. Based on the previous two, I wasn’t particularly excited, but sometimes you can’t judge a beer by another…
- 5.5% ABV
- Available in 9 Gal casks, Kegs and 330ml bottles
- Brewed in Newport, South Wales
- 60 IBU
- Hops: from Germany, Slovenia and the U.S.
Look It comes in a distinctive black ‘n’ red labelled bottle with the Tiny Rebel teddy bear. Stands out nicely on the shelf, no doubt.
In the glass it looks like a reasonably dark burnished orangey-brown colour. Judging by the darkness, you’d think it’d be harsher and more bitter than it is, so it’s intriguing in that respect. 8/10
Aroma There’s a nice orangey citricity that’s balanced with a creamy maltiness. You get a crisp, hoppy smell, of course, one of those typically inviting ones (especially if you love hops as much as me!). There are hints of exotic florality, but I wouldn’t say as much as usual. It’s more like potpourri, a delicate and quite sweet aromaticness, rather than the more stinging bitterness. 8/10
Taste Lovely and expressive oranges. It’s nice and hoppy, but not too bitter. Not too sweet either, in fact it’s very nicely balanced indeed. There’s a bit of spiciness too, which I put down to a kind of citrus-rind sharpness of flavour. I don’t know what malt they used, but it has made it very smooth and creamier than most I’m familiar with.
It really is gorgeous, and the more I drink the more I realise it. There’s a good amount of fizz, making it refreshing, and not too heavy either. I get something nutty or squashy from it… Not this big grapefruit bang, like you usually get with more traditional IPAs, but raspberry? Banana? Cherry? A real taste adventure, too much for me to pick out distinctly, but let me tell you that there’s a great deal to enjoy and mull over here. 9/10
Value I paid £2.99 for a 330ml bottle. This may sound a lot, but I’d consider £4 a pint to be very reasonable for something so expressive and well-crafted, so it’s not so far off. Herein lies the problem though, because 330ml really isn’t enough – I want more, but how much more can I afford? 7/10
Session At 5.5% ABV you need to be careful, but in a nice, easy-going social setting it’s great to sup, and even better to talk about (I know most people don’t think that’s very cool, but give this to a doubter and they’ll be turned around). The flavours develop really well as you drink on, the main problem for me would be price. While I’m here, maybe I should ask them what their price is for a keg… 😛 7/10
What can I say? For taste alone I recommend you give this a go, whoever you are. You’ll know I love really bombastic hoppy drinks, but this is actually much more subtle than some other IPAs out there. The way it develops on the tongue is magical, and it’s one I’d use to interest ‘outsiders’ (like lager drinkers haha!) or simply share with like-minded ale-lovers.
Final Score: 78%