Rainbow Project 2017
It's that time of year again: Rainbow Project time! After enjoying the box last year, I decided to do the sensible thing and pick up the 2017 incarnation. It came in a rather fetching yellow box this time. As well as the 7 beers, you also get a branded glass and a booklet much like last year.
For the uninitiated: 7 UK breweries collaborate with 7 international breweries to brew 7 beers based on the 7 colours of the rainbow. Seven.
This year the international breweries are from the U S of A, harking back to the 2015 Rainbow Project. On top of this, each brewery partnership for this year have also designed a barrel-aged beer for next year also (to give the beer time to age, obviously), which should result in some excellent beers in 2018.
Anyway, as per last year, the super imaginatively titled 'Expectations vs. Reality' theme makes a comeback where I will detail each beer, what I'm hoping from the beer and what the cold, hard reality is. There are some cracking sounding beers here so I hope they don't disappoint.
Mojito - Kettle Soured Tart IPA 6% // Hawkshead x Modern Times
What the booklet says: Inspired by the colour green, MOJITO is a collaboration between HAWKSHEAD & MODERN TIMES of San Diego, Ca.
It’s a refreshingly tart, kettle-soured IPA. Dry hopped with aromatic new world hops – Cascade and Motueka, then further aged post fermentation on fresh mint, lime zest and oak rum cubes from Appleton rum estate.
Aromas of lemon and lime, enhancing the flavours of mint and fresh lime zest blended with very subtle oak rum notes, this tart IPA will have you rushing for the nearest beach lounger or hammock. Sit back and enjoy our take on the classic cocktail, Mojito.
Expectations: I do like a mojito now and then so I reckon I'll enjoy this. Kettle sours don't tend to be too overpowering in their sourness so combining that with the mint and lime should result in a well balanced refreshing beer. If only the sun was shining.
Reality: Another bit of a let down. This genuinely tastes like drinking an IPA after cleaning your teeth. I'm failing to really get any sourness from it because the mint is so strong and overpowering the taste of anything else. There's a very subtle hint of lime once it has settled on the palate but overall this just doesn't really work. Shame.
Santo del Frio - Dry Hopped American Lager 5.2% // Siren Craft Brew x Sante Adairius
What the booklet says: We drew the colour blue for this year’s Rainbow Project, and set to work on the challenge, keeping our barrel aged beer in mind for 2018. We decided to go an entirely different route this time out and brew a lager with our new friends at Sante Adairius. It’s fermented cold and the theme follows through; we added heaps of cryogenically frozen hops! We’ve used an American lager yeast sourced close to Sante Adairius’ home in California. We’ve also taken some Mexican influence, with blue corn tortillas in the mash and blue agave syrup in the boil – which we aged in Tequila barrels beforehand for an extra flourish. We hope you enjoy Santo del Frio – Saint of the Cold!
Expectations: I'm partial to a lager now and then - especially in the summer but I struggle to get excited by lager in a box such as this. The added flair to this lager may help elevate it but it's not massively exciting, is it?
Reality: Redemption after the green disaster above comes this lager, or India Pale Lager which I am apparently a big fan of after having this and Beavertown's Westside Beavo earlier this year. I can't say I can taste any tequila or agave syrup in this but it is a very refreshing lager. I'd love to pick up a crate of this to enjoy at a barbecue. Pleasantly surprised by this one.
A bit of a mixed bag this year. Whilst I enjoyed some of the beers (red, yellow and blue - primary colours, how weird) the majority were a bit rubbish. Even the ones I enjoyed I am not in a massive hurry to try again. I get that the whole point of this box is experimentation but I this year has definitely been a miss. Hopefully 2018 can bring better results.