It is not often Fuggles turns down a Mikkeller beer, but I found myself with a conundrum earlier this week. My favourite pub, Cask Pub & Kitchen, had laid on a "meet the brewer" event with Alex from Revelation Cat. He'd brought with him, all the way from Italy, a number of beers that I probably wouldn't get to try again for some time, if ever, and mostly in the range of 6 - 9 % ABV. Wisely sold by the half pint, I wasn't convinced I'd get through everything even so, and had to limit myself.
Revelation Cat focuses on two main styles (as it happens, two of my favourite styles). The sour lambics, often with a twist - such as maturing in whisky or rum barrels - and west coast style IPAs. So, pacing myself not quite the forefront of my mind, I started with the Laphroaig Lambic. This 9% beer (matured, as you might have worked out, in Laphroaig casks) captured the character of the whisky casks better than any other example I've seen. The nose was amazing - such powerful peatiness, it was like sniffing the whisky. This was followed through by a quite astrigent palate with a very strong whisky taste. Less impressive (not helped but rapidly following the former) was the Martinique Rum, which had only a light overtone of rum notes floating over the top of the palate, and left me slightly wanting by comparison.
The brilliantly named "Mad Walloper" was the cloudy dark chestnut beer pictured below. A very unusual beer, with a rich warming fruity nose that reminded me very strongly of sherbert. But it took you by surprise when you drank it as it tasted neither dark nor sweet. Still fruity, but very sour and almost woody. I still haven't quite made my mind up on it, but for me it had more potential than the Martinique.
Top of the pops for me on the West coasters was the West Coast Double IPA - a rich mellow IPA, packing a punch at 9% with slight citrus on the nose and a rich fruity body on the palate. The Creamy bitter was also great - fresh and zesty hops singing out.
I really like what Rev Cat are doing, taking great edgy styles and pushing the boundaries a little bit further. These boundaries may or may not be to your taste, but experimentation is often the precursor to greatness, and they should be admired for their boldness. More please!
Oh, and I might have let myself just have a little taste of Mikkeller's Sorachi Ace (after the hops) at the end of the night - well worth breaking my own rules for!