The gentle strains of sitar music, courtesy of Indian music legend Ravi Shankar, are drifting out from my speakers and mingling with the scent of hops that currently fill the air. That’s because I’m hoping the music will enhance the experience of drinking Great Heck’s IPA, which they’ve named ‘Shankar’ in honour of the maestro. Not that any of their beers ever need enhancing.
Established in 2008, Great Heck hail from North Yorkshire, and we usually make a beeline for their beers on the rare occasions we see them behind a bar out here in the South West. Their cask ales have always been of a consistently high standard, but this is the first time I’ve had one of their bottles in my hand.
Much like the complex interplay of sitar plucking, this beer has an astonishing arrangement of hops working their magic, with American classics Columbus, Chinook, Cascade and Citra all going into the brew, and yet more Columbus, Cascade and Willamette getting the dry hop treatment during fermentation. It’s no wonder the flavours and aromas are hop heavy, predominantly bold and fruity with a strong, dry bitter finish bearing a touch of spice.
It’s a crystal clear, pale bronze beer with a light fizz and a slim head that quickly vanishes. It has the appearance of a summer drink, looking not too dissimilar to a glass of cider, and with the strains of Ravi reaching their gentle crescendo I’ve got a yearning for some hot, Indian sunshine. For now I’ll have to settle for a few early glimpses of spring, but when summer does arrive I’ll be sure to tune in to this IPA’s hoppy notes some more.
Brewery: Great Heck, North Yorkshire
Beer name: Shankar IPA
Hops used: columbus, chinook, cascade, citra and willamette
Beer supplied by The Other Brew