Fundamentals #138 - Two Flints Sonic Muse West Coast IPA

Long time readers of this column will know that I have, for a long time, asserted the fact that the West Coast is indeed the best coast. The reason for this is because I love the taste of beer.

I know this sounds like a gross generalisation (what is “beer flavoured”, anyway?), but please hear me out. For me, the two most glorious things you can find in a beer are the twin tenets of balance and drinkability. One cannot exist without the other: for a beer to be truly drinkable, its flavours must attain harmony, with no bum notes, and no shrill frequencies putting doubt in the mind. You know when a beer has truly achieved both of these objectives, because when you finish your glass you immediately want another.

What I also love in beer though, are bold, bombastic flavours. I love malt, so I want to taste it in all its sticky, honeysweet glory. But I also love hops, which I want to present themselves as they do when they are fresh off the bine: dank and resinous, with a bitterness that hits like the power chords in the opening bars of Money For Nothing. That’s what West Coast IPA is for me. It’s Mark Knopfler yeeting a Fender Stratocaster, amplified by an overdriven Marshall JTM45. And yes, that is Sting on backing vocals. Balance and drinkability, loud, distorted, yet in perfect harmony. I want my MTV.

It’s incredibly satisfying, then, to see a brewery that’s completely new to me nail this style seemingly out of the gate. Based in Windsor, Two Flints brewery began life in 2022 (proving that, even in a cost of living crisis, the desire to make tasty beer will override all rational thought).

Sonic Muse is a West Coast-style IPA that takes inspiration from both new and old brewing trends. Those with an old school mentality like myself will deeply appreciate the bitter, grapefruit and pine character imbued by Simcoe and Centennial hops, while those newer to IPA will appreciate the hefty dose of tropical fruit provided by Idaho 7, with Talus adding subtle savoury lemongrass into the mix. It all works exceptionally well, proving that there’s plenty of mileage in West Coast IPAs yet. What’s particularly satisfying about this beer is the healthy dose of speciality malt, giving the beer that tell-tale amber hue and the ideal amount of sweetness to balance out all of those bitter, citrus and tropical fruit notes. That’s the way you do it.

Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this one every month, plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen.