“What’s that?” My partner Dianne is slumped on the sofa after getting home from work, and I’m meandering through our living room, glass of beer in one hand, artfully decorated bright yellow can in the other.
“It’s from Ora Brewing, I’m reviewing it for HB&B,” I answer.
“Oh, not that lemon one, I hope,” she replies. “I don’t like that at all.”
I smile to myself and hand her the glass. “Take a sip and make sure,” I say.
Somewhat begrudgingly, she takes the glass from my outstretched hand and goes in for a taste. I notice her eyes widen and the sides of her mouth curve gently upwards. “That is delightful,” she exclaims. I have to ask twice for the now half-full glass back.
I’m a firm believer in second chances, and I think a lot of British breweries that started a few years ago often deserve repeated appraisal. Ora is a fine example, as my first experience with this brewery’s beer was a bottle of its balsamic vinegar aged vanilla milk stout. Let’s just say at the time it wasn’t for me.
Unlike Dianne, however, I had tasted Ora’s Limoncello IPA recently, and I knew I was in for a treat. Since settling into its permanent home in Tottenham, North London and the appointment of head brewer Julia Huber, Ora has come on in leaps and bounds, tempering the passion it had when it was first set up in 2016 by founders Daniele, Pietro and Emanuele in Modena, Italy, into a brewery of flair and substance.
Limoncello has the best qualities of a soft and juicy New England-style IPA, with a pillowy body and sharp, yet not overbearing citrus-hop character. These flavours are enhanced by the addition of lemon purée and zest that’s never overbearing, and always delectably tart and refreshing. The brewery describes this beer as “fresh lemon tart in a glass” and I’m inclined to agree wholeheartedly. I’m glad I gave myself the opportunity to return to this beer.
In fact, taking my own advice, it’s probably time I returned to that Balsamic Porter and gave it another go, too. I urge you to do the same and give this stunning IPA a try. Well, what are you waiting for? Allora!
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 every month plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen...