One Drop and the art of dropping the first beat

One Drop and the art of dropping the first beat

John ShearlockMay 26, '23
It’s always nice to catch people off guard. Lull them into a sense of security with a product they believe they know, let their defences drop and then subtly tweak or alter a key element and - boom - you’ll have their full attention.

The one drop rhythm which is famously used in reggae music works on this exact principle.

Here, we find the drums working to a classic four four on the high hat, which is then cleverly offset with the snare and the bass drum atypically hitting on the third beat.

We’re not used to this sort of syncopation - this dropping of the first beat (hence the name) - and the effect is intriguing, jarring and wondrous all at the same time.

The world of modern brewing uses this approach too. Unusual hops popping up here, crazy adjuncts there - and the effect is one that keeps us on our toes, providing welcome variation to the norm.

And so the naming of One Drop beer - a brewing outfit from Sydney Australia - who you may have noticed recently hitting the shelves at Beer Cellar, seems totally apt.

These guys produce a fantastically diverse range of beers and are certainly the masters at dropping that first beat to make things interesting. Their ensemble brings together an eclectic crew of individuals; rock melon candy sour ales with edible glitter, imperial pastry stouts and single hop double IPAs to name but a few. This is an exciting lineup.

I’ve grabbed a can of the Nu Nu West Coast IPA which, although sounding like one of the more mainstream, beautifully proves the point once you delve under the hood.

Of course, this an unashamedly hoppy style, but here it’s been taken to the next level thanks to a Citra and Sultana dip-hop charge at the start of fermentation, followed by the deployment of some proprietary R&D in the form of something called clean fusion. This is essentially the removal of unwanted yeast and hop particulates, once after fermentation, and then also following another massive dry hopping.

If our reggae analogy was appropriate earlier - then I’m guessing we’re moving into heavy dub now. Let’s see what eventuates when we get it out of the can…

Pours a deep golden orange with a substantial white head. The nose is the perfect combo of tropicalia and dank pine - like you’re ambling through a pine forest that is somehow oozing resinous sap onto tropical fruits that are impossibly growing from the branches. The palate is big and yes, clean and crisp, as per the clean fusion - with sweet malt and those same tropical fruits in the mid palate, giving way to a long bitter finish. An ace drop that keeps it crisp and fresh whilst being big and bold.

It’s hard to know where to start with the eclectic One Drop range, but following my first foray into their lineup, my advice is grab one of each and get stuck in. You’ll be rocking to that one drop beat in no time…