Cleverly named an I.T.A or Imperial Tequila Ale, the concept is to take an already flavour-rich Imperial Pale Ale and infuse a hint of tequila into the mix. IPA’s generally carry a thin and clean malt character, the base malts make up for most of the core maltiness with a hint of speciality grains but the focus of any IPA worth it’s weight is the hops and the I.T.A doesn’t disappoint. The hop profile is robust, with a clean bitterness taking the foreground and a reasonably strong but balanced late hop addition creating a mellow citrus overtone. I’m guessing they use American hops for that slight citrus punch, possibly of the Cascade or Centinnial variety.
My first impressions are that it’s extremely drinkable at 7% ABV, the light and dare I say ‘fruity’ nature of IPA’s are carried through perfectly in this and are complimented by the hop-attack on the top end. I was a little concerned about how tequila would affect the taste of an ale but was pleasantly surprised to see that the tequila flavours are introduced through the maturing process in Oak Tequila barrels and the outcome is sublime to say the least. You get the oak-laced taste of a tequila but without the ‘tartness’ you’d get from a shot of tequila. It’s truly a MUST for beer fans and those looking to explore new things.
Where can you get it?
I.T.A is exclusively available at HQ in Sandton. HQ is an exciting concept restaurant in terms of their menu, they keep things simple and only serve one type of food! A salad starter, a sirloin steak and served with a sauce and chips. These restaurants, cleverly called ‘Single Serving Restaurants’ are becoming very popular overseas and are gaining ground here in South Africa as we speak. The idea is that they do one dish extremely well and then put focus on an extensive wine and drinks list. Their wine list is impeccable with the odd speciality drink like the Minerva I.T.A Tequila Ale also making an appearance. So if you’re keen to try it, book a table at HQ, they serve a complimentary plate of delicious nachos with every few ITA’s ordered. Call: 011 783 0924.
If you’re looking to stock ITA’s, you can speak to the nice guys at Mexican Imports SA. They import a whole whack of really cool Mexican products from these Tequila Ales to Tortilla presses, sauces and even these really awesome Chimineas, which are basically little ovens which you can place outdoors during winter for aesthetically pleasing heating. Take a look at the Mexican Imports website for a big selection of authentic Mexican goods. You can also chat to them on theirFacebook page!
by Byron Marais
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