I received some beer from the lovely people at O'Hara's recently. It was the next in their Hop Adventure series featuring Galaxy hops. It's basically a beer brewed to try and showcase specific hops. The first one was Sorachi Ace and you can read my thoughts here.
What you need to understand here is that these are hop showcasing beers. They are not trying to make the best IPA. It's a similar concept to the Brewdog: IPA is dead series. They don't use as many speciality malts as their regular pale ale.
This release is all about Galaxy hops. Beer geeks love Galaxy hops. The aroma is clean with some citrus. It's not in your face hops though. There are hint of tropical fruits and some malt sweetness but otherwise, it's a very clean aroma. On tasting, the clean theme continues, It's similar to the normal IPA, much more so than the Sorachi Ace release. There is a far more pronounced bitterness that lingers and coats the mouth though. If I was disappointed, it was because there's not a major amount of hop favours coming through and I think it's because it has been filtered too much. The tropical fruits and citrus are a little muted.
Again, this beer is only to showcase the hop variety. The secret is in the numbers. Both Galaxy and Sorachi Ace were hopped to 38 IBU (bitterness units). In contrast, the regular IPA is 50 IBU. Get a bottle of this and try it alongside the regular IPA and you will probably notice the hop difference. There's more going on in the regular IPA due to different hops but the Galaxy brings its own characteristics to the beer. Galaxy hops have a pretty high alpha acid (what makes it bitter) of 12-16% and it does show in the rounded and persistent bitterness. Despite the lower IBU, I found this more bitter than the regular IPA because there are no other distractions to the beer.
Single hop beers are rarely great because hops are better blended to bring their respective characteristics out. In the same way that single malt beers are rarely as good as their mixed malt counterparts.
If this was a regular beer, I would say it needs more hops (and less filtering) but for what it is, I think they hit the nail on the head here.
I'm looking forward to the next edition. I vote for Polaris but in my last article, I suggested Mosaic so I will be happy with that too.