New England Brewing Company describes itself thus: “New England Brewing Company is a small craft brewery located in Woodbridge, CT right on the border of New Haven. We are proud to be brewing carefully crafted beers for local consumption. We’re one of the pioneers of putting quality craft beer in cans and has an ever growing line up of beers that offer both traditional ales and lagers as well more unique takes on existing styles.”
The company is run by Rob Leonard and Matt Westfall, both of whom have years of experience in brewing craft beer. Other partners include Bill Pastyrnak and James Warren. Unfortunately (and my pet peeve), the company’s website does not offer much about their history or the date of founding. Come on, craft brewers, we want to know this stuff! In any case, the company puts out a few extremely highly-rated beers, one of which is Gandhi-Bot Double IPA.
An Indian Pale Ale (IPA — thus the [racist?] reference to Gandhi) is a classic English ale with an unusually-large amount of hops. Hops act as a bactericide and a preservative, and they were added to ales that were being shipped to British troops in India, during the British occupation of India (before the Raj). This style of ale has become extremely popular in the USA, for its intensely bitter yet aromatic aroma and flavor. So, how does New England Brewing Gandhi-Bot Double IPA (8.8% ABV) stand up to the rest?
Everything On Tap Review: New England Brewing Gandhi-Bot Double IPA:
Bottle: Let me say that I am not sure of the origin of the name, Gandhi-Bot. It refers of course to Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian civil rights leader, as a robot. Why? I have no idea. In any case, the bottle is actually a can. Canned craft beer is becoming more and more popular, but I am still not fully on board with it. I swear that I can taste a difference, though many might disagree. This can is silver with silver-on-red lettering. The logo is — you guessed it — a robotic version of Mahatma Gandhi, with flame-like rays shooting up above him toward the top of the can.
Pour: The color is tangerine-orange-yellow-bronze. It is hazy because it is unfiltered — a plus in my book. The head is a solid two fingers thick (and I have big fingers), a calla-lily, off-white. It dissipates medium-slowly, leaving thick lacing. It is a luscious, foamy head.
Aroma: A rather pineapple-floral scent hits the nose first, quickly followed by bitter hops, with aromas of citrus fruit, grapefruit, pine needles and pine sap, and lush grass. Beautiful. However, some of the hoppy greatness in this beer is tainted with a rather odd sourness in the background. Where does this come from?
Flavor: The attack is 100% hops, bitter, grassy, piney, and citric. This is followed by a faint sweetness of apples and pears. There is a blush of malted grains, finished with hoppy bitterness. For hopheads like me, this is paradise. Even so, I like my IPAs to have more complexity than mere hops, and while the hops in this ale are great, they are not only the main feature, but almost the only feature.
Mouthfeel: The body is medium, and the feel is smooth, even silky. The oils from the hops flowers lubricate the throat in a delightful way. The carbonation is medium-to-heavy, poking at the tongue.
Structure: The mouthfeel and the unfiltered state indicate a solid, broad, strong foundation. However, the one-dimensional, hoppy flavor offsets that stability. So overall, the structure is medium, but solid.
Food Pairing: Such a hoppy, bitter IPA lends itself to very spicy food, such as Indian and Thai curries, Laotian larb moo, Thai papaya salad, or Chinese Dai minority cuisine. In terms of Western food, it would pair very well with spicy New Orleans gumbo.
Overall Rating Out of 5 Possible Beer Mugs: