Unfurling of the Hooks and Don’t Tell Gus are both DIPAs from Cornwall brewery Verdant. Unfurling of the Hooks is bitter and resinous with piles of grapefruit and sediment. Don’t Tell Gus is a pillowy, sweet East Coast IPA with pineapple and mango balancing gingerbread spice. Both beers are vegan-friendly.
I suffer from a particularly acute manifestation of the Baader Meinhof Phenomenon.
You know that strange, almost déjà vu feeling you experience after you see something for the first time and shortly after start noticing it everywhere. It happened to me when I learnt there were rotating knobs under pedestrian crossings to let visually impaired people know when to cross the road. It happened when I discovered the band Two Steps from Hell, who apparently provide the background music for 95% of all films made since 2010. And it happened last week with Verdant.
In the space of seven days I went from never having heard of this Cornish craft brewer to seeing it pop up everywhere. So, when I stumbled across The Experiment, a joint taproom Verdant operates with Pressure Drop in Clapton, I couldn’t resist. I stashed away a double act of double IPAs for a side-by-side comparison. Plus they had the prettiest labels for my scrapbook.
A scrapbook, you ask? Yes, I’ve finally gone full beer nerd.
Unfurling of the Hooks
I’d pick up this beer for the overly dramatic name alone. Add to that a beautiful can label adorned with fishing lures, and before you know it I’m already back in 2013 watching the first season of Hannibal.
Hooks has an orange, translucent body with a shock of white head. I say translucent – bits of it are. I’m a little taken aback by the amount of sediment floating around in there.
The aroma is pine resin with orange zest and a little grapefruit. First impressions are very West Coast, given that crisp, resin aroma profile and the see-through body. More resin follows on the palate, backed up by passion fruit, bitter grapefruit, kiwi, and a little raw alcoholic warmth. The finish is long and, surprisingly enough, piney.
The flavours are nice enough but, sadly, the mouthfeel leaves me wanting: it’s thin, watery, not satisfying in the way I’m hoping for with a DIPA. Having to strain out chunks of sediment through my teeth isn’t great either.
Don’t Tell Gus!
One of my schoolmates was named Gus. Angus, really, but everyone went through around a dozen nicknames before we settled on anything. I was always disappointed that “Lozenger” never caught on with me.
As far as I can remember, Gus was far more into wine than beer back at age 18, so there’s no temptation here for me to inform him about this juicy little number.
Don’t Tell Gus pours a vibrant, tropical orange with a loose, lively head. This looks startlingly similar to the “Is this an NEIPA?” meme glasses I’ve seen knocking about the place recently.
The aroma is heavy on the fruit: pineapple and mango. That juicy fruit flavour follows through on the palate. There’s a little resiny spiciness in there too, a hint of ginger from the Mosaic. The texture is thick and luxurious, the finish a dark, sugary sweet biscuit malt.
Now this is what I expect from a double IPA: strength harnessed to deliver intense, fruit-laden aroma and flavour with a jammy mouthfeel. This hides its strength well, by contrast to the fishing hooks from earlier. I’d attempt to drink this all night, which means I’d have two before someone has to cart me off to bed.