I breathe deeply and feel the warm breeze caress my face. All around me are balloons of every colour and pattern floating gently through the sky. The people and houses below are just a couple of hundred metres below, but they feel like they’re a million miles away.
Sadly, we are still in lockdown. The only warm breezes in my flat are coming from my partner, who is making me regret stockpiling so many tins of beans. In such desperate times, we have to find escapism wherever we can (pun intended).
Hemisphere represents the bounty of my latest expedition to the exotic destination of “big Sainsbury’s”. You’d think I’d have learned by now to pick up more than four cans each shop. Sadly I’m also expected to pick up food on these trips.
It pours a pale straw with a loose, pure white head. It’s fluffy and airy, like the balloons on the label. Very slightly cloudy too.
The aroma is strong initially with grapefruit, orange zest, and pineapple tartness. But after fizzing gently in the glass for a couple of minutes the intensity wanes. This may be a beer best enjoyed in the tin, or at least without faffing around for five minutes with a camera before drinking.
The palate leads with bitterness: underripe pineapple, citrus pith, and a slick, dextrose component to the mouthfeel. The bitterness remains as the beer warms in the mouth. There’s little residual sweetness here; it’s a properly dry, west coast style IPA. It’s not quite flavoursome enough to leave much in the way of finish; my mouth is dry, but not thirsty for more.
Perhaps my expectations for body are unreasonably high now following a winter of chewy stouts and an early spring filled with juice-bomb NEIPAs, but Hemisphere feels lightweight to me. It definitely fits the bill as a session beer in that sense; I feel like I’m drinking sparkling water. And having drunk four pints of sparkling water at a time, I wouldn’t recommend it. Not unless your partner particularly enjoys a warm breeze.