Around a decade ago, while in Washington DC to give a presentation at the US Craft Brewers Conference, I jumped on one of the official brewery tours. When we stopped at Flying Dog, we learned that when they wanted to showcase new hop varieties in a single hop beer, they did so with 10 percent ABV IIPAs. It felt suitably Flying Dog, suitably American craft beer at the time, and acted as a reminder of how much further down the path they were than Australia, where brewers embarking on single hop series tended to do so with far more restrained beers.
It was an experience that came to mind when this new trio arrived from Hargreaves Hill, not so much because one is called Team America [Resist temptation to quote the movie, James...] but because here they're looking to showcase the distinction between hops within 6.7 percent ABV hazy IPAs. They've taken a somewhat different direction too: these aren't single hop beers but instead feature two well-known varieties from three key hop-growing nations: the US, Australia and New Zealand.
Going through them in alphabetical order (because why not?), Team America stars Citra and Amarillo, which encased amid the oat-driven haze and no doubt altered by bio-valmorification with the yeast means they’re not as obviously citrusy as they can be. They present as fluffy stone fruit as much as anything but also deliver an earthiness absent in the others.
For Team Australia, it's big-hitters Galaxy and Vic Secret going to work, and they explode out of the glass by comparison to their Stateside peers: passionfruit, mango and pineapple curd swirl amid a real creaminess of flavour and texture. That said, they come with the most noticeable prickly bitterness too.
Which brings us to the skip across The Ditch for a meeting of Moteuka and Nectaron in Team New Zealand. Juicy lime leads the way before a ripe, fleshy stonefruit flavour, seemingly with a hint of coconut, appears. Close your eyes, add an umbrella, and it could pass for a Caribbean beachside cocktail.
This trio is also something of an appetiser; maybe the Hargreaves team also visited Flying Dog back in the day as there's a Team World Double IPA coming soon too...
Published April 7, 2023 2023-04-07 00:00:00