I’m excited to see the return of the dynamic trio that is Boxcar, Duration and Unity. For my money, these are three of the most exciting breweries to have emerged on the UK scene during the past couple of years.
They’ve got form too, as previously they collaborated on a tart and refreshing farmhouse-style IPA called From the Ground Up, back in 2018. The result of this collaboration was a lasting bond forming between the founding brewers of these exciting beer makers. Boxcar’s Sam Dickison, Duration’s Derek Bates (or just Bates, if you please) and Jimmy Hatherley of Unity have remained fast friends ever since. It’s a brilliant example of the importance of collaboration, and how small, independent breweries need to stick together to offer the very best experience (and great beer) to the drinkers that enjoy their beers.
This latest three-way, Root Down, is another quirky style of the genre-spanning IPA. Dubbed a “no coast” IPA, the intention here was to develop a beer that didn’t adhere to either the citrusy-heavy, bitter beers of the American West Coast or the opaquely juicy equivalents that emerged on the East Coast some years later.
To achieve this, they took a blend of highly aromatic modern hop varieties, laid them over a delicate yet structured base of pale malts and then threw convention out of the window and fermented it with the Voss strain of Kveik – a recently discovered (and now commercially available from major suppliers, which, if I’m being honest, feels somewhat counter to its origins) strain of yeast that previously was being used exclusively by Norweigian farmhouse brewers.
The emergence of these yeast strains has been extremely well documented by beer writer Lars Marius Garshol (seek out his research on his blog). Kveik was also reported on in a typically excellent fashion by our own Claire Bullen for Good Beer Hunting. If you want to learn a little more about this fascinating yeast, then be sure to take a few minutes out to read her piece.
Kveik is interesting because it ferments very quickly, and can withstand much higher temperatures than conventional brewer’s yeast. For me it also has a profound effect on this beer, throwing out curious flavours not unlike a strawberry Petit Filous yoghurt. It’s something quite unusual, but also very enjoyable, and definitely not a beer that conforms to the conventions of the West or East Coast styles.
If you're curious to try something a bit different, Root Down certainly fits the bill.
Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. To be first to read articles from Matt and our food writer Claire Bullen every month, why not subscribe to our All Killer No Filler subscription box?