Total Score: 5.75/10
I’m pretty sure I swore that I wouldn’t review another 4 Pines beer (I was pretty disappointed with their Keller Door Cherry Coconut Brown Ale which tasted nothing like a Cherry Ripe™… an understandable expectation – I’m not crazy). Then they got me again with cool label artwork and the label description “As dangerously aromatic as it is addictive, you’d sell the house with nan in it just to get your hands on a beer with hash in it”. FYI: My nan is dead. Sniff. Maybe this beer will bring back good memories of nan? It is implied after all. Just don’t f**k this one up 4 Pines, this is your last chance to win back my favour and if this beer isn’t glorious with hop goodness I’m afraid our relationship is over (unless you send me free beer).
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Clear golden body… wait, is this a Lager?! Nope, says XPA (which isn’t really a style anyway, but… shut up). 1 centimetre white cappuccino foam head that leaves some funky lace scrawl on the side of the glass. Apart from style confusion this looks average. 6/10.
S: Aroma reminds me of Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA, it has that dirty/earthy/resinous hop character to it. Let me get this clear though: it’s quite a bit more muted than Hop Hunter. Don’t want this to be unfairly compared to the excellent Hop Hunter. Not getting any stone fruit as the label describes, this is more on the piney side of the hop spectrum. Also not picking up any malt aroma… hopefully this isn’t as thin as 4 Pines In Season IPA in the flavour. 7/10.
T: Rubbery/earthy hop resin character upfront, a slight “green” hop character in the centre, following this is a dreaded grainy character. Finish is a medium herbal bitterness. Damn that grainy note – I just ranted about it in my last review – it has no place in any Pale Ale. Other than that though it’s really quite mundane, bit like the In Season IPA was. 4 Pines have lost their touch, especially with the Keller Door brews… that said I have never been hugely impressed by them as a brewer. 5/10.
M: Mid to light bodied, some hop oil slickness, and a carbonation that is a tad aggressive – this accentuates sharpness in the bitter finish. 6/10.
D: Not nearly as interesting as the label would suggest, again I’m slightly disappointed by 4 Pines… Hop Hash XPA isn’t terrible, but it’s no competition to several great Aussie Pale Ale brewers: Pirate Life, Green Beacon, Blackmans, Bacchus to name a few. Try their brews before this one. 6/10.
Food match: BBQ ribs n’ shit.