Total Score: 6.6/10
Yet another American Pale Ale has entered the already over bloated Aussie craft beer market. So what do I care? I love a good APA… actually I’m more an IPA/DIPA man these days (NEIPAs to be precise)… who are these Black Hops peeps anyway? And what have they done with this Black Hops Pale Ale to differentialize it from the [hyperbole alert!] gazillion other APAs out there? Well I guess we’re about to find out. I will say one thing the marketing is spot on for drawing in the hipster market – the black can, the nice flat logo and cursive writing: Pure hipster bait, not unlike Balter’s marketing in that respect. I see this is also from the Gold Coast, when did GC get so hipster?! I’ll have to pay it a visit sometime… FOR I AM THE HIPSTER KING!
Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.
A: Nice and hazy Gamboge body with a wispy white head that drops back leaving a thin lace blanket on top… this looks a bit like a NEIPA – quite a pale body… I think I’ve got NEIPAs on the brain atm. A solid 8/10.
S: Prominent passionfruit hop character – you’ve shown your hand early Mr. Galaxy Hops! Touch of grain and dry cracker from the malt. Hint of stone fruit as well. Not bad, a bit of a commonplace aroma these days though. 7/10.
T: Stone fruit up front (think peaches), then follows through with some grassy passionfruit character, an unwanted grainy presence, and finishes with cracker dryness and a fairly innocuous bitter note. Hmmm, flavour is a letdown because of that grainy character. I have a personal disdain for Pale Ales where the malt gets in the way, and the only reason this is the case here is due to a lack of hops. Needs more hops (dry hopped hops that is). Bring us more Mr. Galaxy Hops please! 6/10.
M: Mid to light bodied, a touch more watery than it needs to be though, with a medium (slightly burpy) carbonation. 7/10.
D: So it’s another Aussie Pale Ale ala S&W Pacific Ale then. I’ll add it to the list: S&W PA, Balter XPA, Fortitude Drifter, Burleigh Twisted Palm, Gage Roads Single Fin, Green Beacon 3 Bolt, and now Black Hops PA… that list keeps growing, and interestingly most of them come from the same SE Queensland/northern NSW region… what is with that region and S&W PA knock-offs? I’m going to group them into a new category and call them “Surfy Pale Ales” or “SPAs”, sound good? Good. S&W PA is still the best SPA around (unless S&W has changed the recipe those rapscallions). 7/10.
Food match: What do these surfy types eat? Seafood? Sounds like a plan.