At Steve's Past Masters tasting, we had a few other beers that were new to me so I figure I should mention them here as they were all bloody good beers.
From two of my favourite breweries comes Pond Hopper, a collaboration beer with Thornbridge and Odell. This 8.9% double IPA is brewed by Odell using English malt and American hops, brewed at the Odell plant by both brewers. It's a staggeringly beautiful beer and perfect for sharing in its 750ml bottle. And share we did. Pond Hopper starts off bitter before the residual sweetness comes to the fore and then comes the fruit. Tropical fruits and lemons with some grapefruit and then a long lingering bitter finish. The whole beer just comes together perfectly and is immensely drinkable. At €16 a bottle, it's not cheap though and it's the type of beer that will lose a lot of hop character if you age it. Still, it just might be worth the money to be honest.
My last encounter with Fyne Ales was good but they were the easy drinking sessionable kind. Sublime Stout is anything but sessionable at 6.8%. I don't think that would stop me drinking it like a session stout though. It's lovely stuff. Rather bitter for a stout, I'm reminded of Porterhouse Wrasslers XXXX level of bittering. There's some fruit and then some earthy citrus hop character. A little vanilla and then back to the hops. Calling it sublime stout might sound a little pretentious but that's exactly what it is. Sublime!
The other special 750ml Fyne Ale we had was Superior IPA. This does not come across as a 7.1% IPA, it's far too drinkable. No where near as complex as Pond Hopper, it's still a very good beer. Bitter orange and a caramel backbone dominate with hints of cat from the citra which does not spoil the beer.