Cydonia. The ancient Grecian city, a region on Mars and, more importantly for this post, the Latin name for quince.
‘What the heck is quince?’ I hear you ask, as did I when this bottle dropped into our possession from our local beer shop - Beer Central. We asked Team Toxic via instagram about the name and they mentioned that there is also a tenuous railway connection for ‘aficionados of classic BR diesel locomotives’. So, there you go.
It’s basically a kind-of-pear, they’re from the same family and look similar, but the quince of more famed for being made into preserves. In this case though Team Toxic have added it to an IPA - well, a membrillo form of it - and made it into a delicious if a little unusual, beer.
Empress of Cydonia: Taste Test
There’s a sweetness to the aroma which is subtle, but the first taste of the beer is actually quite bitter. Very much like a pear or an apple, that sharp bitterness is balanced out by the hops and the delicate sweetness that’s present in the background.
As the beer develops (and the bottle empties) the sweetness becomes more obvious and the bitterness is less aggressive, mellowing it out and giving it a sweet smoothness that is very pleasant indeed. Don’t be fooled by the sweetness though because there’s a tartness that runs through the taste right through to the aftertaste, which helps add a kick to the sweetness.
The sweet smoothness could also be down to the lactose that’s used in the brew, making it technically a ‘milkshake IPA’ by name, but this is like no milkshake IPA i’ve had before; there’s something much more rugged about it and that’s not a bad thing.
Empress of Cydonia: Bottle Notes
If a renaissance artist wanted to draw a quince on the tree, this is what it would look like.
Bright blue sky, large green leaves and dark branches surrounding the chunky, ugly-looking quince on the branch, with a half quince at the side for good measure. A solid, medieval England style of font really adds some atmosphere to the name of the beer and puts you in mind of taverns and knights.
Buy Empress of Cydonia IPA
Ours was from Beer Central, but you can get your quince-hit by going to Beer Haul’s shop, where you can pick up a bottle of this for £4.25.
That’s dead cheap for royalty, whichever way you slice it.