Simtra – a Triple India Pale Ale

As if Back of the Ferry’s great friend, Rachel, hadn’t done enough introducing BotF to Pliny the Elder she goes and calmly announces that she has brough back another beer from her evening with the high falutin’, high finance types. It turns out she’d spent the evening at a place called City Beer, which is in Folsom St, San Francisco. From what I can tell from the website, this is a bottlo that allow you to sip whilst you browse. “We wanted to create a friendly neighborhood spot to sip a beer while you browse the shelves.” There’s got to be an idea in that for an Aussie bottlo.

SImtra – drunk fresh at Freshwater

In addition to the wondrous Pliny, Rachel brought back another superstrong IPA of which the label screams out – “Enjoy This Triple Fresh”. Simtra is a “Triple India Pale Ale” that comes from Knee Deep Brewing Co. – a brewer from Lincoln near Sacramento, California. Unlike the Pliny the Elder, which is available all year round (though hard to get), this looks like a limited release. So what is a “Triple India Pale Ale”? Well, according to the Wisden of beer – Beer Advocate – there is no such style. A home brewing site said it is the half way house between a Double IPA and an American Barleywine. Naturally Americans make Triple IPAs. India Pale Ale has its origins in the UK – the Yanks dial it up. Barleywine has its origins in the UK – the yanks have again ratcheted it up. It’s like chilli sauce – the Americans give us Insane Dave’s XXX chilli sauce – or speakers – Spinal Tap’s speaker that goes to 11. (Yes, a “pom” dials up the speaker – but it was the US side of Nigel Tufnell (Christopher Guest) that went above 10.) This IPA is 11.25% ABV and comes in at an eye-watering 131 IBU (international bitterness units). This is bigger than Texas in a truly American way.

A beautiful hue

I shared the Simtra with Rachel on a glorious Sunday in Sydney. I’d never actually shared one of the beers Rachel has brought back with Rachel, so this was a first. We poured a couple of glasses and got into it. What an experience. The colour was wonderful – a deep orange. The first sip was an assault. I watched Rachel’s face and it was like seeing someone stare into the sun without sunglasses – this was a squinter. Apparently isn’t possible to exceed 100 IBU – but the Simtra is 131 IBU. Rachel’s reaction was “Phwaah”. This is a chewy, piney, resiny beer. I loved it – Rachel wasn’t so sure. Simtra is meaty and one to sip slowly and carefully. It coats the mouth with a pervasive oilyness and you can have 5 minute intervals without losing the impact of the previous sip. Bitter, bitter, better. The 11.25% ABV is omnipresent and it’s not possible to do this fast. A wonderful experience. Apparently Pliny the Younger is also a Triple IPA. It’d be nice to compare. Thanks, Rachel. Please travel again.