When it became apparent that another month or two of compulsory evenings in was on the cards, we went mad and ordered mixed cases from a handful of breweries on the advice of our Patreon subscribers.
One of the boxes we ended up with was from Elusive, founded by award-winning home-brewer Andy Parker in Berkshire in 2016.
This gave us six beers to taste, which we worked our way through in approximate order of strength, low to high.
We’ve had Plan-B a few times before and always enjoyed it. It’s a Belgian-inspired pale ale at 4.2% and the characterful, spicy, spiky yeast adds a welcome layer of complexity. It has the body and depth of a much stronger beer, with banana and citrus balanced by snappy bitterness. Why aren’t more breweries doing this? It’s £3.75 for a 440ml can.
Memphis Mephisto is a pale ale with Mosaic hops and probably all the review you need is Ray’s gut reaction on first sip: “Oh, wow, that’s absolutely brilliant.” At 4%, it’s clear, clean and fruity – hefty without being sickly, bitter enough to earn its sugars. Even Jess, who can’t really being doing with Mosaic, agreed that it was a cut above. This was also £3.75 for 440ml.
Overdrive American pale ale at 5.5% and Level-Up American red at 5% are clearly siblings. Both resembled drinkable strawberry jam overlaid with a fairly intense grassy, herbal hop character. We suspect we’d have enjoyed them more if we’d left them to mellow for six months but, as it is, they got drunk without complaint. We think these were both £3 for 330ml, bottled.
The final round included Lord Nelson, a 6.8% saison originally brewed in collaboration with Weird Beard, and Spellbinder coffee porter, at 6%. These were also £3 each.
The former inspired more oohing and aahing – it’s a really exciting beer. Think Dupont (classical) but with a sharp melon-grape-gooseberry note from New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops. Each sip reminded us of something different: Hopfenweisse? Tokaj? Japanese gummy sweets? We wonder how it might have fared in our saison contest of a few years back.
Finally, Spellbinder was a very decent porter that, frankly, probably would have been more to our taste without the coffee. Adding coffee to beer is a distinctly homebrew habit – it seems as if it’ll be fun, doesn’t it, so why not? – but generally ends up reminding us of the cold dregs from an hour-old cup of instant. This was good, though, and, again, got drunk without grumbling.
If you like well made beers with distinct flavours in styles other than hazy yellow IPA, give Elusive’s mix-and-match offer a go. At worst, the beer will be properly made and decent tasting; and at best, it’ll make you swoon.