The crazy growth of craft beer is certainly not limited to the U.S. Here we have a beer made with malt and hops grown exclusively in
Mordor New Zealand. To give a misleading, overly broad, and probably deathly wrong summary of geographic hop characters, European hops tend to be earthy, herbal, spicy and pungent. American hops have a citrus and pine character that is quite different (even U.S. grown European hop varieties - like Fuggle - tend to have more citrus than their European counterparts). Well, the Kiwi hops used here are apparently also quite citrusy, but while American varieties tend towards grapefruit, NZ hops seem to be more tropical. On their website, they say: "Passion fruit, limes, oranges and Sauvignon Blanc grapes to name but a few. A local Marlborough winemaker even said it smelled like gooseberries... Gooseberries? When did you last actually smell a gooseberry??"
IPAs do tend to get a bit on the samey side sometimes, so it's really refreshing to try a beer like this that has distinct and unique flavors, while still conforming to the general idea of the style:
8 Wired Hopwired IPA - Pours a clear, deep golden orange color with a finger or two of white head that leaves plenty of lacing as I drink. Smells strongly of fruity, bright and citrusy hops, with maybe a bit of a floral component as well (this becomes more prominent as it warms). The taste is quite sweet, plenty of light malts here, with a bracing hop bitterness emerging towards the finish. That fruity, floral hop flavor makes its way into the taste as well, and as mentioned above, it's distinct from that grapefruit and pine character of American hops - more tropical, I guess. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with tiny bubbled carbonation, and a relatively dry finish. Overall, this is quite a nice change of pace, and I'm really glad I got to try some of this stuff. B+
Beer Nerd Details: 7.3% ABV bottled (500 ml capped). Drank out of a tulip on 5/5/12. IBUs: 70. Hops: Southern Cross, Motueka, Nelson Sauvin.
A good first showing from these
hobbits brewers of NZ, and I'll almost certainly be checking out some of their other stuff. If I can find it!