Hoppy Xmas Countdown – 11 Dec

I found this awesome gift pack at Checkers Liquor the other day, it contains Darling’s Thunderbird IPA done 4 ways. The original IPA and then 3 other versions using different hop varieties. I’m super excited to taste the other ones, but today we’re looking at the original for our Advent Calendar.

Name: Thunderbird IPA
Brewery: Darling Brew
Country: Darling, South Africa
Style: IPA
Rating: 3.5 / 5

Don’t you love Darling’s animal themed labels? I really do and the fact that some proceeds go to conservation of that animal (last I heard) is awesome. This one is after the Ground Hornbill. Have you seen those dudes before? They’re so cool. Anyway, back to the beer.


The beer pours a golden-copper colour with plenty of carbonation and head. The head is fairly creamy which I really enjoy. I was a little surprised to find that there wasn’t a bunch of hop aromas there. It was mostly bready and biscuity actually. The flavours smack a little of the promised hops but I wouldn’t say it’s bitter or hoppy enough to be called an IPA. I’d guess that it’s more of a Pale Ale although it does give a lingering bitterness. Even at 6.5% it’s seriously sessionable and I could see myself drinking a fair amount of these easily.

If you go to Checkers Liquor, try and pick up the gift pack. I’m very interested to see how the other hops will affect the beer (especially the aroma).


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