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Belt’s Beer Garden: What an Enigma

Two brews made with Enigma hops: Abbeydale’s Voyager IPA #7 & Cloudwater DDH Pale Enigma Ekuanot

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This week my trip through the United Kingdom continues as I have two beers from northern England made with Enigma hops.

Up first, Abbeydale and a new version of their seasonal IPA.

Abbeydale comes from Sheffield in northern England and was founded all the way back in 1996. They keep their staff very busy, producing over 10,000 barrels per year and releasing a new beer every week in addition to their six mainstay beers!

While in Edinburgh, I was able to find the seventh edition of their Voyager IPA.

They seem to release a new Voyager every few months that features new hops/ingredients and, as I said, I snagged their seventh variation which was made with Enigma and Sorachi Ace hops and lime zest. The 12-ounce (330 mL) can cost about $3.50 (£2.49) and has a decent 5.5% ABV.

It poured a bright orangey copper color with just over a finger of pure white head topping the beer. The moderate amount of foam didn’t stick around too long as, after just a minute or too, all that remained was a razor thin line ringing the edge of the glass and a dusting across the top.

On the nose, Voyager had a sharp, zesty aroma that really featured the lime juice and hops. The hops provided a tropical citrus blend with some piney notes and, behind the hops, the malts add a bready sweetness. The lime juice blends nicely in the background with the other components and gives off that zesty-ness you can pick up in the aroma.

My first taste began with a sharp bite of carbonation and hops that quickly fizzled out and allowed the other flavors to shine.

The hops quickly pushed the effervescence out of the way and a wave of tropical flavors danced across my palate. Mango, papaya, and melon lead the charge of flavors with that lime juice adding a light tartness in the background.

Surprisingly, the malts do well to balance the hops while not encroaching on the tropical flavors. They add a sweetness but the crackery smell that was evident in the aroma was no where to be found in the flavor.

Instead, it was all tropical fruit and citrus throughout the taste. And that made Voyager incredibly easy to drink.

As everything began to fade away there was a twinge of bitterness and a dash of dryness that sticks on my tongue but, otherwise, the brew ended very cleanly and made me want to go back for more almost immediately.

Voyager #7 was a really tasty beer filled with tropical flavors and a nice burst of zesty citrus. When I say this beer was easy to drink, I mean it. My glass was empty before I knew it and had me wishing I brought back more of these from the UK!

Really good stuff here.

From Sheffield we’ll head about 40 miles west to Manchester and Cloudwater Brew Co.

Cloudwater Brew Co. comes from, as I just said, Manchester in northwestern England and was just given a big award. They were rated as the second best brewery in the WORLD by Rate Beer for 2017!

So, when abroad, I tried a few of their beers and loved them. Naturally, I brought some back with me to share with my friends and with you all.

Cloudwater focuses on seasonal brews and changes their ingredients and beers often. The one I’m trying today is one of their newer brews and one of my favorite styles – a double dry-hopped pale ale.

DDH Pale Enigma and Ekuanot is conveniently made with Enigma and Ekuanot hops with some Simcoe hops and Pilgrim extract as well. That 16-ounce can was pretty reasonable, costing just £2.99 (or about $4.30) with the beer packing a modest 5.5% ABV.

The beer poured a bright and hazy straw color with some murky undertones that darken it towards the top of the glass. About a finger and a half of eggshell white foam topped the brew for a moment or two before faded down to a dusting across the top.

On the nose, DDH Pale dripped with resinous tropical fruits and piney hops. Up front were mango, orange, and some light peach notes with a wheaty sweetness sitting in the background. The earthy/piney hops lingering in the very back just as a reminder that this was indeed beer and not juice.

A flash of carbonated fizz starts off the sips and quickly fades, making room for the flavors to shine. And, thankfully, this beer’s flavors followed the aroma almost perfectly.

Initially there was a burst of tangy orange and lemon with the peaches and mangos following right behind, creating a fruit cocktail on my palate. As the flavors progress, the peach and mango seem to swell up and take control for the majority of the sip.

However, just after the midway point, the earthy notes start to creep into it all and provide a pop of hops that bite my taste buds and adds a resinous pine flavor. Behind the hops there is a hint of breadiness and some sweet malt but it’s the hop flavors that really shine.

As it all starts to come to a close, the hops have one more trick up their sleeve and bring a bitter citrus rind flavor that ends it all and then sits on my tongue for a couple moments after each sip. DDH Pale also ends on the dry side of things, rendering a swig of water after a few consecutive gulps.

All in all, the combination of Enigma, Ekuanot, and Simcoe have done really well to create a nice tropical brew that’s really easy to drink. It does have some sharp bitter twinges from time to time but, otherwise, it’s another very tasty DDH beer from Cloudwater.

If you have a chance to try any of their beers…don’t hesitate! There’s a reason they’re one of the top brewers in the world!