You can al­ways de­pend on the brew­ers at Lit­tle Crea­tures to make try­ing a new beer in­ter­est­ing.

The reg­u­lar reader may re­mem­ber how im­pressed Hugh the Neigh­bour and I were with their two sea­sonal stouts some years ago – the Re­turn of the Dread and the Hotchkiss Six. Never ones to rest on their lau­rels, the team has re­leased an Ex­tra Pale Ale in time for Christ­mas fes­tiv­i­ties.

Made with six va­ri­eties of hops, this is a beer that re­ally packs a wal­lop but yet re­mains ac­ces­si­ble for those who usu­ally have as their bev­er­age some­thing more of the pil­sner/lager/kolsch end of the brew­ing spec­trum.

While it is very hoppy, it lacks the punch-in-the-face bit­ter­ness of some of the wilder IPAs from around the place, com­ing in a mod­est 30 on the IBU scale. Con­trast that to a big IPA like the Feral War Hog IPA, which comes in at 70 IBU, and you un­der­stand why I say it is ap­proach­able.

It is a very clear golden colour in the glass, and you cer­tainly get a nose full of fruit – citrus and pas­sion­fruit among oth­ers – and it does hold a white head even as your glass warms up in the hot weather.

It has a nice feel in the mouth, and HTN made the point that the taste doesn’t linger so you don’t feel the need to sip water be­tween each mouth­ful.

At 4.9 per cent ABV it is a full-strength beer without hav­ing re­ally high al­co­hol. In fact, that is the same boot as VB, not to be tri­fled with but not to be feared ei­ther.

This is a beer that would suit a Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tion – in­clu­sive enough for all to en­joy, how­ever still de­liv­ers plenty for those who like a more com­plex beer.

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