Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Tap Room IPA


This particular beer is brewed for Sainsbury by the Tap Room brewing company from Rochester in the good old US of A and then imported all the way over here to little old us.

If I didn’t know any better (and believe me, I don’t) I’d guess that one of the three hops in this beer are Simcoe. It’s got such a subtle, peppery, almost catty aroma. This is not a bad thing, believe me. Simcoe catty aroma is a very good thing.

What you get from the first sip of Tap Room IPA is an alka-seltzer like effervescence, which quickly parts to reveal a startling bitterness; probably over 50IBU…this sounds almost too high…but it’s not, this level of bitterness is both thirst quenching, and actually also prompts you to drink more – a strange, yet pleasing dichotomy.

After the initial bitterness, a beautifully solid toasty caramel-like maltiness sets in, punctuated by intensely hoppy assaults on your taste buds; then you swallow, and as the last of the hoppiness pops and crackles on your tongue, you find yourself adrift on a sea of satisfying and pervasive bitterness.

There’s not really much that could be improved in this beer…I suppose if I had to change it, I’d dry hop it to death with something a bit more floral like Cascade or Centennial, just to push the aroma to stratospheric levels – as that’s where I feel it’s lacking a tiny bit…but that’s just me.!

If I were you I’d get some of this while it’s still on offer…at £1.50 for a 330ml bottle of 6.3%, more than decent, American IPA, it’s a bit of a billy bargain.

As it’s Taste The Difference, you can only get this at Saino’s…but it’s worth mentioning that other own brand aspirational beers are available at other Temples of Mammon throughout the land.

…and no, I’ve no idea whether you can still get Co-Op Countryman bitter, either, so don’t ask!

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