Verdant x Barth Haas, Reading Colour

Reading Colour is a collaboration between brewers Verdant and brewing suppliers Barth Haas, which uses an experimental new dry-hopping agent. It’s a pillowy, juicy IPA filled with mango and pineapple flavours and a strong malt backbone. Reading Colour is vegan-friendly but contains gluten.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

We all have our regrets. Earlier this year, having just moved to Bethnal Green, I made the mistake of holding back from popping around the corner to visit Kill the Cat. “There’s no rush,” I thought to myself. “It’ll still be there in a couple of weeks.”

One frustrating lockdown later, and I’ve learned my lesson. Never again will I hold back from popping out to that trendy beer shop around the corner.

It’s a delight whenever we pop in. The cat killers are a friendly, knowledgeable bunch, happy to talk us through the finer nuances of what they have in stock without making us feel overwhelmed or intimidated. There’s beers on draft to sip as we peruse the dizzying rainbow of bottles and cans on the shelves, then a couple of tables out in front where we can review our haul in the afternoon sun.

On this occasion, I was smitten by a beautiful can from Falmouth brewery Verdant and brewers’ supplier Barth Haas. It looks like a blot of ink inching its way across wet paper.

Verdant Barth Haas Reading Colour IPA beer

Reading Colour pours a vibrant orange, putting it around halfway across the colour gradient on the can label. It has the consistency and colour of a Mango & Passion Fruit J2O that hasn’t been shaken up properly.

Allegedly this beer makes use of an experimental, off-market dry hopping agent. So, while I’d normally expect a mix of orange and mango from the Mosaic and Citra hops they’ve used on the “cold side”, as Verdant puts it, I’m quietly hopeful we’ll come across something exciting and new here.

As it turns out, the aroma is heavy on mango and pineapple – so not terribly different from what you’d expect from the hops they’ve used. I’m also picking up notes of lemon zest and honeysuckle. The aroma is seriously intense, however. This beer gives a lot of bang for its buck.

On the palate it’s soft and pillowy. It starts off very sweet and thick, but as the beer warms in the mouth the icing sugar and peach fuzz give way to a slightly deeper, more complex tropical fruit salad with a little malt. It’s a juice bomb, but there’s enough malt in there to remind you it’s a beer. The finish is sweet but leaves my mouth watering.

I have no idea what that experimental new dry hopping method is, but I think I’d like some more of it please.

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