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Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor


SweetWater Dank Tank Magnum IP

ABV: 9%
Origin: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Dank Tank Magnum IP Imperial Pilsner

If the beers I tried from below the Mason-Dixon Line at the GABF are anything to go by, the craft breweries of the Deep South are quickly catching up with their northern colleagues — although the Dixie credentials of SweetWater brewery are challenged by the fact that Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerney, who founded it in Atlanta in 1997, originally met as students at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The Dank Tank series is their range of limited edition beers “from the dark side of our brewers’ souls”. One of them, Magnum IP, was being served in the Culinary School of the Rockies’ Farm to Table beer and food matching pavilion at the GABF alongside some roasted vegetable Napoléon on spent grain crackers with sweet onion jam and micro greens. I admit I’m not a beer and food expert but, while the food was sensational, the beer would have stood out without it.

Magnum IP typifies the American flair for taking an established European style and giving it a merciless twist. IP stands for Imperial Pilsner, for this is a blond lager beer given a turbo boost of alcohol and hops in a manner usually reserved for pale ales and stouts. The hops in question are Cascade and Sterling at 2 pounds per barrel (0.9kg per 117l or 7.7g/l). A brewery representative at the stand admitted to me that they’ve ended up having to brew it at a slightly higher temperature than is typical for lagers, but it does use a cold fermenting yeast and it is properly matured before release.

The beer looks like a classic pilsner, with a rich gold colour and a fine thick white head. A smooth and notably middle European spicy hoppy aroma — Sterling is a recognised American-grown close substitute for Žatec — leads to a wonderfully flowery and smooth palate, rich with vanilla cream offsetting the big hop bite. The finish is bitter but not excessively so, its 100 IBU hopping nicely offset by the high gravity and a creamy malt note. The beer lingers long with a peppery dry bite and a touch of spice. Ovearll it’s a really impressive beer that shows that when it comes to hop colouring, there’s lots of territory still to explore.

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