Wednesday may be a day of many things – Humps, woe, beers (shameless plug); but something it is seldom associated with is globetrotting. Enter Travel Notes, an international IPA brewed up by Lonely Planet in collaboration with Northern Monk & Fieldwork Brewing Co. This hop monster features 5 ingredients from 5 different continents – with each sip you are transported around the world.
Before we dive into the beer itself, let’s talk about how it came about. As you may already know, Lonely Planet aren’t a brewery – they’re the largest travel guide publishers in the world. They are the go to source for travel companionship, with an encyclopaedic mobile app, a plethora of online articles and a whole cavalcade of books. Having just published their Global Beer Tour book, they thought it would be incredibly fitting to cook up their very own beer. Soon enough they were bounding up to Leeds to get cracking.
“That’s mighty fine Dave, but what the hell are these 5 ingredients?” I hear you scream. Well ok, calm down and I’ll tell you. First off we’ve got malted barley and wheat from Britain & Germany, ticking off Europe’s contribution. Secondly, there are North American hops, which you would expect in any juice bomb. Not finished with the hops yet, Australian and New Zealand varieties are present to further push the fruitiness and floral notes. Finally, to really turn the fruit levels up to 11, the beer contains mangoes from Africa and Açaí berries from South America.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the incredible design this beer can boasts. Not only is it beautifully striking, but thanks to some Northern Monk ingenious trickery, there is more to this than meets the eye. For you see, the label is peelable, and on the reverse you’ll find a hidden cache of information. For a beer nerd, I really appreciate this extended background to the beverage.
The beer pours a lovely hazy orange. The head is playful and enthusiastic but not to the point of eruption. It also has good retention. Strong fruit on the nose, I was picking up mango (obviously), orange and passion fruit; like a boozy tropical punch. This IPA sits at a respectful 6.5%. For it’s strength there is a medium bitterness, enough to stop me from just knocking the whole thing back. Taste wise it’s dank and juicy – the mango especially comes through. I’d love to say so does the Açaí berries, but honestly I have no idea what these taste like!
Overall, I really rate Travel Notes – it’s a delicious IPA and a perfect midweek treat. Maybe Lonely Planet should give up the publishing; I think brewing may be their true calling.