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.
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