|Rainbow Project 2017 photo bombed by a rainbow!|
It’s that time of year again for the Rainbow Project launch! Now in it’s fifth year, this event brings together breweries from other countries and the UK to create beers inspired by the seven colours of the Rainbow. The project started in 2013 but it was 2014 that was the most memorable. This was the year that the partnership of Omnipollo and Buxton were born with their Yellow Belly which still is produced today. This has lead them to go on to collaborate on the growing range of ice cream ales! Last year the UK were teamed up with seven New Zealand breweries however these didn’t quite live up to the hype as the previous years had. Although the descriptions sounded amazing the tastes fell a little flat. That being said one did stand out to me – Black & Blue by Wild Beer and 8 Wired. This has some great spice from the peppercorns used in the brew and real lip puckering sourness. I do love a Rainbow a Project so of course I had to get a case and this year the project headed back to the US for some inspiration. I noticed from the descriptions that a few of the beers had a Mexican theme running through them. With that in mind my boyfriend cooked up some fiery soft tacos to accompany this Rainbow Project.
Sours are usually predominate styles within the Rainbow Project so it makes a change to see an American lager. Brewed using cryogenically frozen hops this beer has a crisp taste as well as light finish. The breweries put a lot of thought into the ingredients to give it a Mexican finish by adding blue corn tortillas and blue agave (barrel aged in tequila barrels) to the brew. I didn’t really get much of the tequila but the overall finish of the beer was good. A very easy drinking lager perfect with spicy tacos!
This has some complex flavours running through it. The first flavours that you get are spice from the chilli and cinnamon followed up with some citrus notes. These flavours are all balanced with the sweetness of hibiscus which I suspect have also given this beer it’s colour. This sour was a great way to finish our Mexican meal but one can was enough.
Green- Mojito by Hawkshead and Modern Times
Quite a murky looking beer from the pour and the most dominant flavour is mint. On the back of the throat I got a familiar rum warmth. I quite like this beer as I do enjoy a mojito and I think it stays true to the flavours of this popular cocktail. My boyfriend in the other hand didn’t feel it was for him, “a bit too much like toothpaste” he commented!
This beer is a bit more savoury in flavour from the rosemary, it reminds me of Walkers Roast Chicken crisps! For me though I feel this herb has overpowered the other notes listed in the beer description, honey and Texas dried lemons. I do like that Jester King have had their own culture shipped in from the US so that this beer truly had a piece added to it from both sides of the pond.
Orange – West Fork by Partizan and New Belgium
I don’t think there is anything groundbreaking about this beer but it is highly drinkable. I really like the background of the beer from my Rainbow Project leaflet. It tells a four year old story of wild fires destroying a beautiful area of Colorado where spruce tips grew. Despite the spruces not yet being ready for this brew the story is inspired by the Phoenix, rising from the ashes and being reborn. This is a really nice saison, pure and simple.
Indigo – Indigo by Wild Beer and Side ProjectThis beer pours a pretty purple colour and smells like it is full of berry flavours. Unfortunately it doesn’t live up to its promise and the taste is a little weak. The mild sourness is not something I would expect from Wild Beer so it is a little disappointing. Particularly as I am such a huge fan of their beers and the Black & Blue from last years Rainbow Project was my highlight. Hopefully they can bring it back next year!
This wasn’t a beer for me, I felt the flavours of the bourbon and the burgundy seemed to overpower my palate. My boyfriend however really enjoyed this white stout. He liked the balance of the burgundy and bourbon against the sweetness of the lactose. Not sure how this is linked to the colour violet but it is definitely the beer you want to finish the Rainbow Project on!
All in all I’ve really enjoyed this years Rainbow Project. I think the Red and Green will have to be my favourites as they have interested me the most. Even though there was one or two from the collection that weren’t to my tastes the Rainbow Project is all about being creative and having fun. It’s also a good way of building relations with international breweries which can only be a positive thing in this growing beery world.