When I think of Belgian beer, IPA does not typically come to mind.  But such beers do occasionally emerge from the region, and this one of the few readily available in New Zealand.  The hop bill looks pretty modern with Amarillo and Tomahawk along with the more traditional Saaz.  But it’s still a Belgian beer, so of course it’s 9% ABV and bottle conditioned. On the nose there’s dry grassiness, with citrus and peach further back, and alongside the hop notes there’s that delicately malty, faintly candy-floss aroma of Belgian Tripel, which will be what’s running under the hood here.  The flavour is intense, some stone fruit and smooth malt richness before a near-immediate blast of bitterness which totally grasps the palate.  But as that bitterness subsides the fruit returns and uniquely blends with the ripe Belgian yeast esters to create a complex and curious finish. Probably better described as a hoppy Tripel than an IPA, this is a fascinatingly unique fusion of traditional Belgian character rammed at high speed into super-hoppy American style IPA.

Altitude Brewing Fresh Tracks

Altitude Brewing are using the same base but hopping their beer with Nelson Sauvin hops grown in two different parts of the South Island.

Shining Peak Gung Ho! IPA

Shining Peak Gung Ho! Fresh Hop IPA sits firmly at the top of ‘Crafty’ Mark Gower’s fresh hop ratings for 2022.

Baylands Waifly 8 Fresh Hop IPA

Now in its eighth iteration, Baylands Waifly is a proven fresh hop classic and this year’s is one of the best

Parrotdog Bruce Hazy IPA

Parrotdog Bruce is everything you can hope for — nice upfront peach and tropical fruit flavours with a neat, dry finish.

Good George Cold IPA

For lager drinkers it could be way too hoppy, for IPA lovers it might be too light-bodied. But I’m starting to get Cold IPA.

Brothers Beer Modern Love West Coast IPA

Brothers Beer Modern Love IPA is one of the best showcases of focused citrus purity we’ve encountered this year.