Beer Review: Pondera – Thornbridge x Firestone Walker

Thornbridge’s ‘Pondera’ is a beer that I’ve been meaning to try for a long time, having seen it on their Instagram and supermarket shelves for a decent while now. The beer is a collaboration with Californian brewers Firestone Walker and together they have, naturally, brewed a West Coast IPA. In a world full of soft New England beers I always like to give some crisper more bitter beers a go. ‘Pondera’ comes in at 6.7% ABV.

The beer pours a fairly clear golden colour. It has a proper West Coast nose to it with a bold, sticky piney aroma. The hop bitterness is present, as you would expect, from start to finish. The body has those grassy and piney qualities to it but remains easy drinking and not remotely astringent. There is also a touch of juicy sweetness to the beer on the end.

A quick note on the can art: While the wrap has the classic Thornbridge pattern, I really enjoy the English lion ready to box the bear of the Californian flag. A good nod to the collaboration!

It’s been a little while since I’ve had a West Coast IPA in all honesty and this beer has reminded me that I need to not be blinded by the world of soft, hazy NEIPAs. ‘Pondera’ is crisp and refreshing while remaining faithful to the bitterness you’d expect from the style. It also does a very good job at hiding the booze which always helps particularly when you are trying to strike a balance with flavour and bitterness. I think the touch of fruitiness coming in from the Simcoe hops works really well too. I currently have one of Firestone Walker’s beers in my possession (currently available in Morrisons) and as a result of this brew I’m looking forward to trying that as well!

Score: 7.5/10

Thanks for reading! Cheers!

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Additional Information:

  • Hops: Idaho 7, Mosaic, Cashmere, El Dorado, Simcoe
  • Malt: Not Available
  • IBU: 50
  • ABV: 6.7%
  • Gluten Free: No
  • Vegan: Yes!

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