As you may have seen in our Wednesday mailer, De Molen is our brewery of the week this week and deservedly so.
The brewery set up shop in 2004 in a disused windmill, hence the name, and prides itself on an experimental approach generating original beers with a twist. It typically fares well on RateBeer, if scores are your bag, and came 22nd in the list of best breweries in the world in 2020, no mean feat when you think of the sheer number of breweries out there.
This Bergamot IPA caught my eye and I thought it would be a good place to start to get a feel for the brewery and its experimental nature.
If you’re not an obscure citrus fruit expert then you might not know that bergamot is an oily substance extracted from the rind of a dwarf variety of Seville orange. It’s most common application is in flavouring Earl Grey tea. There you go, you learn something new every day right, and are now armed with a real nugget of knowledge for next time you play trivial pursuits.
I don’t drink a lot of Earl Grey to be honest, but the aromatic citrus notes of Bergamot sound like a winning combination with hops, and a quick look around the web reveals that these guys aren't the first to make this their adjunct of choice. In fact, searching into the murky mists of my mind, I remember rather enjoying the Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta Earl Grey IPA. Those kiwi pioneers used actual Earl Grey tea, but the principle is the same. Let’s pour a cuppa and see where this one takes us…
Wow the colour is much darker and deeper orange than I had expected suggesting big malt. The nose is certainly aromatic, with big hops, orange peels, tropical fruits and big malts as the colour suggests. The bergamot is there but I think you could almost be mistaken for thinking that it’s just a big dank, piney hop expression, and there’s none of those soapy potpourri notes that you might associate with Earl Grey. The palate is great - rich, lifted, malty, hoppy, sweet, bitter, everything on point. Beautiful body too… textural and thick with some caramel sweetness right at the death.
This is a great beer IMO with clever use of an adjunct that doesn’t take over the beer and allows the IPA style to shine through - enhances it even. The Bergamot is there but, in style, this is more a cup of English Breakfast than Earl Grey… albeit one where the bag has been left in the cup for a decent spell.