“Tapping the Keg” is a weekly review of craft beers brought to you by staff writer Dan Wood.
Two Roads Brewery has been putting out hit after innovative hit lately, and their seasonal brews are no exception. Locally operated in Stratford and often cheaper than your average six of craft brews, Two Roads is an easy choice for any local beer lover on a budget, and their limited release beers don’t vary much in price either.
As I have previously stated in this column, I’m a sucker for packaging, especially when a brewery breaks the mold on their usual color palate. Two Roads did exactly that with their Zero 2 Sixty Tart IPA. They chose black background labels for the first time and stuck to a strictly violet and orange motif, creating a particularly eye-catching design when shelved next to its year-round cousins. The company kept its stained glass border but features a “tartometer” on the front with the finger indicating “60” like a car’s speedometer.
Sticking with their open road theme, they inscribed this on the bottle: “Introducing a Tart IPA with big flavor that takes off the second it hits your mouth! It’s an easy-drinking IPA with a nicely balanced tart ‘chasis’ that brings out the flavor and aroma of the hops. So, start your engines and hit the Road Less Traveled.”
Let’s try this unorthodox, highway-themed beer. Out of the 12 oz. bottle this beer is very fizzy, almost to that of a fountain soda. It has little head formation or retention to reinforce the observation of the carbonation. Zero 2 Sixty has a beautiful color that is a deep gold-orange but is still relatively clear. One thing you might observe in this beer is a very fine particulate circulating around with the bubbles. I can’t say for sure what causes this aesthetic, but I would bet it has something to do with its unique “tart” qualities.
The nose of this beer is very unique. It gives off the aroma of a clean, simple blend of citrus-forward hops, sour candy and the ever so slight smell of unleaded gasoline, which personally draws me in. The top does not confirm much of the nose, only mild notes of grain and under ripened green apple. The middle then comes in with a more pronounced flavor of sour apple in the back of the tongue without overpowering the other flavors. Among them are some notes of melon and lime peel with a slight vegetal background, all while remaining remarkably smooth and easy to drink.
The finish is not typical of IPAs at all, that bitterness that most expect is replaced by a gentle tartness and notes of wheat that only linger for a few moments with a light astringency.
This beer would pair excellently with any dish that is honey-forward, due to its green apple qualities. A baklava or honey and cream over fresh fruit would be an excellent pair to this beer after a savory meal. The acidity and carbonation are sure to aid in any rigorous digestion. Zero 2 Sixty would also be great with many western German pork dishes that may or may not incorporate apples and stone fruits. The lime qualities would also make this beer excellent to drink whilst enjoying Mexican cuisine, whether it is slow cooked pork and salsa verde or a fresh ceviche.
This beer is available locally at Storrs Wine and Spirits and Village Spirit Shoppe while the distributor’s supplies last, as this is a seasonal beer to be coveted. Typically, any Two Roads six pack will cost around $10 to $11.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Dan Wood is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.