Session IPAs. When they first started becoming a beer trend over here in the antipodes (i.e. Australia/New Zealand) I rolled my eyes “Session IPA?! Isn’t that just a Pale Ale?” however since those heady days of December 2014 when I first tried BrewCult’s Hop Zone I have grown to accept the burgeoning of these Session IPAs, I mean every brewer who brews a Session IPA also brews a good-old fashioned IPA so where’s the harm? The latest jumper-on-the-band wagon are those likable chaps from across the Tasman: Epic. Now I hear tell that this is one of their best beers from a certain purveyor of beer the palate of whom I respect greatly.
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Clear amber body with a large 3 cm almost-white head that aint going nowhere… I’m impressed with this head but I want to drink this beer eventually bro… nice spider web lace in the glass… good proteins… *taps fingers on desk* 7/10.
S: As par for the course for an NZ IPA – smells awesome! Plenty of big piney/earthy/mango/herbal/citrus hops assaulting the olfactory senses. Big points here. In fact this is most likely the hoppiest aroma I’ve smelled at a 4.7% ABV so I’m really looking forward to the taste. 10/10.
T: Annnnd once again we have an NZ IPA that is all hop aroma with a dialled back hop flavour, dammit I wanted the hop flavour to be as intense as the aroma – Epic are a big bunch of hop teases. In fact the overall flavour is quite bland given the expectation, with notes of the above hops (piney/earthy/mango/herbal/citrus) coming out a little in the aftertaste but not much else, with an almost non-existent caramel malt base… this is a lacklustre flavour even for a Session IPA – the right notes/balance is there however you need to be a supertaster to pick up on it (lucky I am one – I did a test online aka “the bastion of accuracy”). 6/10.
M: At least the body is good: Almost medium, with a light UK pub-like carbonation. 7/10.
D: This is the third Epic brew to wow me with hop aroma but leave me wanting in the flavour. One would almost think that Epic had some secret hop aroma intensifying solution that they’re adding to their beers before bottling if it wasn’t something that I’ve found endemic to NZ – Awesome hop aromas, muted hop flavours – maybe it’s the hops they grow there? Some sort of Hobbit-Hops™? Who knows. Disappointed. Colour me. 7/10.
Food match: Some lighter Asian cuisine could work with this (Bánh Xèo perhaps?).