Hoppy Xmas countdown – 4 Dec

Oh man, do I have a treat for you today. Remember Harambe? The gorilla tragically shot dead earlier this year? Well, not only is there a beer named after him, but it went viral on 9gag and spawned it’s own hashtag – #hopsoutforharambe. It’s also brewed right here!

Name: Harambe Gorilla Ale
Brewery: The 400
Country: Jozi, South Africa (Brewery in Jhb, but brewed in Cape Town)
Style: Imperial Black IPA
Rating: 4.75 / 5

Guys, I’m so proud of The 400. They went from their Frost Hammer (Yellow Ale) which is an easy going, sessionable light ale to this crazy bastard of an imperial black IPA. Seriously, there couldn’t be a larger jump in style. But also, if you check out the link above, I’ve spoken about the sense of humour that goes with these guys before. It’s irrepressible. I must be the first geek to “like” every one of their statuses. All the time. I swear.

Regardless, that strange sense of humour is back (after the yellow ale – yellow snow reference) with this “Gorilla Ale” named after the internet’s favourite hero. No, it’s not a real style of beer, but it is one hell of a beer.

No, I don’t care that I don’t have a picture in my frame. It only comes out once a year :-p

When pouring this beer, do it slowly at first then speed up to the finish. The hops will hit you like a jackhammer and you need to pretty much just sit and appreciate that for a second. OK then the crazy beige head will settle a little and you take a sip of the dark, opaque goodness. At first I get a serious hit of strong espresso and it’s a little odd because with that hop aroma the last thing you expect is the serious coffee notes that typically come with a stout. But that is the beauty of a black IPA. The roasted malts give it serious body (and colour of course) that somehow just marry well. The darker malts are not necessarily meant to be as prominent as the hops, but in this case I think it’s a winner.

So you’ve got two levels of bitterness here: the “coffee” and the “hops”. It’s fabulous. That being said, it’s also sweet and dessert like at the same time. It’s got all the right sorts of sweetness, like plums and a little cherry in there. The only criticism I can really give this beer is that it has quite an alcoholic, sherry-like, warming ending. It’s not unexpected from an 8.5% beer, but it’s the one silly thing that detracts from it.

Ok here’s the big question: Where can you get it? That answer is a little tricky because there were only 2000 bottles (and they’re numbered!) produced. There are a few scattered around the country*.

Cape Town:
Liquor City Claremont
Roeland Street Liquors in Cape Town.
Biggest Little Beer Shop in Willowbridge

Hillcrest Tops

Proof, Rosebank (Cnr Bolton and Jan Smuts)
Loco Liq, Crowthorne
The Tap Room, Modderfontein (cases only).

Get there quick guys, it’s limited edition and will be the best Christmas gift you can give yourself.

*Please don’t kill me if they’re not there, stock is so limited, that it may not be 100% accurate at time of publishing. Your best bet is to contact the brewery on Facebook.

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