It was already shaping up to be a pretty good year for New Zealand IPAs — and Hop Federation have nudged it a little closer to a great one with this new limited release, Hold The Line.  Powered by Southern Cross, Taiheke and Nectaron, all of which should be found growing just about over the fence from this newly-relocated Motueka brewery, this IPA blends big tropical notes with an equally expressive green herbal punch. Mango and pineapple lead the nose, with pungently green gooseberry and crushed blackcurrant leaf further in.  So far so NZIPA, but it’s on the palate that Hold The Line really stands apart.  There’s a crisp, dry quality here that is very uncommon in full strength (6.3% here) NZIPA.  The malt base is fastened down incredibly tight, still adding the necessary weight, but lending only the merest hint of sweetness to the overall flavour — and that’s almost immediately swept along by the very firm bitterness.  The result is an exceptionally focused and strongly hop-driven IPA that drinks more like a West Coast style than a typical NZ example.  Crisp, dry and rampantly drinkable.

hop federation hold the line