Box Steam produce a range of high quality British beers and it is so it is not surprising that they have chosen to brew an IPA. The odd part is that it appears to be quite an confused IPA. On one hand it has the colour and carbonation of the stronger traditional IPA but on the other it has some of the malty and balance characterstics of “IPA” when used to refer to a breweries standard session beer.
A slight caramel in the nose and some zesty hoppyness leads into a quite malty start, the middle is a complex mix of malt flavours there is a nutty flavour early on but also some biscuity malts, this parts slowly to reveal some modest hops at the end, zesty orange and slightly resinous.
Box Steam Brewery Derail Ale is in my opinion slightly confused as to what it wants to be, on one hand there is some interesting hopping but also some complex malt textures. This does actually work and produces a refreshing beer which has both hop and malt appeal, not that it is perfectly balanced but more that it has both elements.
The zesty hoppy side of this beer could do with a little more alcoholic strength to back it up, this would make Box Steam Derail Ale quite a punchy IPA. But then the malt might feel pushed out, the malt needs this level of strength and forms a nice nutty and biscuity backbone to the beer.
I can say I do like it, it is a beer of two halves which form an interesting whole. I would like to revisit this one in the future and see what I think next time, I may also seek this out on tap to see if it has a different character to the bottled version.