Emerson: 1812: Hoppy Pale Ale/IPA (New Zealand: IPA: 5% ABV)

Visual: Reddy red with an off white bubbled head.

Nose: Earthy hops. Malt drink. Nettles. Slight fruitcake character underneath.

Body: Solid bitterness. Tart crab apples and yet quiet earthy. Slight toffee. Cinnamon. Quite a slick texture. Red and white grapes.

Finish: Earth, hops and bitterness. Quite crisp. Slight white grapes. Lemon. Touch of spice over time.

Conclusion: The name of this beer has been changed from IPA to Hoppy Pale Ale, but from all the notes and research I have done this is definitely the same beer, one that no less that Michael Jackson recommended.

It’s a beer that could almost be mistaken for a UK IPA as it has a good chunk of earthy hop character to it. However it’s backed by a grape like freshness and fruitiness that is combined with a slick body and crisp finish to give something that bit different.  It provides a very refreshing character to a hop style that is normally quite heavy and can occasionally be leaden.

Oddly it has a grape fruitiness, rather than,erm, grapefruitiness which is the more common style for a NZ IPA.  This makes it fresh but not tart, and really helps balance the flavour as well. It is like they took a UK IPA and restyled it for refreshing drinking in the sun rather than a wet UK summer.

Heavily earthy beers and I don’t always get along, and every now and then the earthiness gets a bit over present here, but for the most part it is an excellent refreshing IPA and doubly interesting for going against the usual NZ style.

More for casual drinking and thirst quenching than examination, but it doesn’t lack for flavour despite that. Nicely done.

Background: Brought back from New Zealand by my sister, for which I thank her. Its great being part of a travelling beer fan family. There are a few more NZ beers from that trip still awaiting sampling.  I’m a big fan of New Zealand hops, which tend towards the citrus and tart.  As mentioned in the Hop Zombie review, since getting fresh highly hopped beers from New Zealand are so rare, I’m trying them as quick as I can to enjoy while they are still fresh.