|Malka Cold IPA:|
Crisp and clean like a lager;
hop-forward like an ale.
(Photo: Mike Horton)
The Malka Brewery in the Tefen Industrial Area has released the first Israeli version of a pretty new (as yet unrecognized) beer style -- Cold IPA. Its called Malka Cold IPA.
Before I tasted this beer (with my drinking partner and photographer Mike Horton), I wanted to find out more about this new style for you, my dear readers.
Cold IPA was developed back in the U.S. not more than four years ago. The aim of these pioneer brewers was a beer that combined the light crispness of a lager with the intense hop flavors of an IPA. Since the name "Cold" doesn't mean that you should drink it cold (you should), you might think that it's brewed or fermented at a cold temperature. But the opposite is true. It's brewed with lager yeast, yet fermented at a higher temperature associated with ales. Around 20°C (68°F). So in my way of thinking, I would have called the new style a Hot IPA, but no one asked me.
By turning up the heat on the lager yeast, they eat more of the sugars, produce more alcohol, and don't leave behind any bothersome fermentation flavors such as esters. The flavors come from the dry-hopping with aromatic hop varieties. The result should be a hop-forward beer with bold flavors, light bitterness, and a clean, light body.
There are those who compare Cold IPA to India Pale Lager or even Brut IPA, since the three styles are very similar. But the experts say there are definite differences in the tastes and characteristics. If your tongue can detect these, more power to you.
Getting back to Malka Cold IPA, it shares the brewing method described above, but also adds rice flakes to the barley malt to create more fermentable sugars and lighten the body even further. The hops used are Ahtanum, Sabro and Amarillo. The alcohol by volume is 5.7%.
The beer pours out a cloudy orange color with a thin white head, more like a halo. Mike called the color, "bucolic."
Like the description says, you get lots of citrus aroma, more specifically white grapefruit. The taste is also dominantly citrus. It's not overly full of different flavors, but it spotlights the one it has very well.
The taste is mid-bitter and the finish is dry enough to make you want to keep drinking.
Mike averred that this Cold IPA would go very well with an arak chaser, and would be an excellent complement to a sweet dessert such as cheesecake.
"It's a drinkable beer," said he, "but I don't think I would have more than one or two bottles." I told Mike that we're not teenagers anymore.
I enjoyed every drop, but my search for unique Cold IPA descriptors was less than successful. The taste is indeed hoppy and intense, and the finish is "dry and crisp," but so are a lot of other beers I've had.
So if you're looking for a flavorful, crisp and dry IPA, Malka Cold will satisfy you. If you want a new beer style experience, you may have to wait a little longer.