Monday, October 13, 2014

A Greene King IPA

Quite some time ago, just a few months after I started this blog, I found myself sat in a pub in England. It was Christmas day, the last time myself and my three brothers were all together, dinner was done, and things were winding down toward the evening. My eldest brother and I took a stroll to the pub at the end of his then street for a pint or two. Stood at the bar, the options were somewhat limited, so I ordered a pint of Greene King IPA. Said pint didn't last but a mouthful or two, the smell of rubber carpet underlay was so strong that I gave it up for a pint of Guinness.

A couple of weekends ago, bimbling around our local Trader Joe's, I came across bottles of The King's English IPA, which according to the label is brewed and bottled by the very same Greene King. I hadn't bothered with the back label until Mrs V and I had got home, decided we were in for the day, and I figured it was time for a pint. I had bought two bottles, and polished them off with gusto, so when Mrs V and I were at our weekly shop yesterday I got another pair to see if it would become a regular in the cellar.

As for the beer itself, it pours a deep amber, bordering on red, topped off with a firm ivory head which lingered for the duration. The dominant aroma was toffee, laced with traces of cocoa, and just a hint of spicy hop aroma floating around in the background. Tastewise, the beer is a complex balance of bready malts, which come straight to the fore, only to give way to a sweet orange bite of hops. Balance really is the key word here, balance and a drinkability that belies the 6% abv.

As I savoured the last half pint of the latest pair of bottles I wondered at that pint of Greene King IPA in the English pub, as well as the Guinness that replaced it, and thought about the fantastic beers that bigger brewers are more than able of making. This Greene King IPA is like the Foreign Extra Stout to regular Guinness, something that makes you wonder why they bother with their uninspiring flagship.

Needless to say, The King's English will indeed be something of a regular in my cellar.


  1. Never heard of that stuff. I actually quite like regular Greene King IPA. I don't think it's amazing, but I find it quite pleasant.

  2. Chris,

    Looking at the reviews on RateBeer, it seems to only be available at Trader Joe's, at least on this side of the Pond. I'd never seen it in any other bottle shop, and have never seen it on tap at all, admittedly I've only been aware of it for a month or so though.

    With the IPA I had in that English pub all those years ago, I wouldn't be all that surprised if it a poorly handled cask, so next time I am in Greene King country, I'll try it again and hopefully it will smell/taste more like beer than carpet underlay.

  3. King's English really looks good; still I really don't mind a Greene King IPA if you ask me. I guess my local offer might have something to do with it. It is clear that the big brands are capable of brewing great stuff. It is good for consumers that they begin to have some concerns about the little piece of market they lose to microbreweries. Nice posting with the personal insight. Cheers!