05 August 2009

Hops over the top, but not the price by Geoff Griggs

Last week, I wrote of how, in an attempt to mimic the arduous six-week sea voyage endured by the original India Pale Ales, Auckland brewer Luke Nicholas recently filled two oak casks with his new beer, Epic Armageddon IPA, and sent them criss-crossing Cook Strait on the inter-island ferry.

Although those barrels will not be tapped until next month's Beervana tastings in Wellington, the bottled version of Epic Armageddon IPA is now available at selected outlets around the country and, I'm glad to say, a few cases have made it to Blenheim.

Armageddon pours a bright amber colour with a deep off-white head. Hopped exclusively with American varieties, the beer almost jumps out of the glass as it assaults the nose with a massive hit of citrus zest and sweet, lollyish, tropical-fruit hop aromas.

A first sip confirms the intensity of the hop attack and, despite some cushioning sweet maltiness, in the end, the inside of the mouth is left dry with a coating of hop resin. After a glass, you'll likely end up with a fixed hop grin.

Armageddon isn't quite the end of the world, but it is certainly brash, intimidating, full on and over the top in other words, just as an American IPA should be. I love it.

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