This beer was brought back from Belgium for me by serial beer traveller Martin Ridge aka @6TownsMart not too long ago. I’ll give him a mention up front because as well being as good mate who lugged this bottle several hundred miles, he generally spreads the good word about beer, actively seeking it out all over the continent. As such is worth a twitter follow to see what he’s up to and of course is a great source of information on great beer and where to find it.
Shark Pants IPA is a collaborative effort featuring the collective brewing skills of 3Floyds from Indiana USA and Struise from Oostvleteren in Belgium. After researching, it seems the beer has a history tinged with sadness as this message on the 3Floyds website explains:
“Shark Pants! -This beer is the combined effort of Urbain from De Struise Brouwers and Three Floyds Brewing Co. On the 3rd of May Urbain came to our Indiana brewery and we created an 8.7% abv ale using the Struise house yeast with some medium crystal malts and a portion of oats at a calculated 260 IBUs. Urbain will brew the same beer at Struise when the Three Floyds crew travels to Belgium at the end of this month. Although it was a great time and a honor to brew with Urbain, there is a somber note to this beer. Our friend and employee Rich Sheppard passed away on April 11, 2011. This beer is made to honor his memory with a portion of the proceeds going to his family. Always remember, live a Rich life.”
The beer pours a delicious looking blood-orange red and has an incredibly boozy nose. The next thing that hits you is a rich caramel note, a little like the brittle top of a crème brûlée as you crack through to luscious vanilla, marmalade citrus finishes the aroma party in the nasal cavities.
The taste is a full on resinous attack, burnt caramelised orange clinging to your teeth desperate to keep up the hop onslaught on every corner of your mouth.
Coming in at a hefty 300 IBUs (second Struise brewing) it’s definitely bitter, but masks it really well through a malted heavy body that just oozes molten Seville orange marmalade. Marvellous!