In my experience, hazy IPAs are one of the worst offenders when it comes to losing balance as they are scaled up into the imperial spectrum. Too many oats, too much lactose or just too little bitterness too often leads to a flabby, oversweet flavour blowout. So, when I approached Chop, a whopping nine-percenter from Pacific Coast up in Mangawhai, I did so with my usual dose of suspicion…
Happily, I can report that my fears were (in this case) unfounded. Not only does Chop maintain its balance, it manages more structure and focus than plenty of hazies half its strength.
Huell Melon hops lead the aroma, with rockmelon and ultra-ripe gooseberry backed up by a sharper, pithy citrus and a lingering pungency from the curious addition of dehydrated feijoa. The palate is as full and sweet as one would anticipate from a hazy of this magnitude, but a fine balance and sharp hop focus keeps that strong malt character strung tight until the satisfyingly bitter finish comes in to take up the slack.
Focused, full-on, and hugely drinkable. This is a hazy with the sensibilities of a West Coast-style bright IPA and will appeal to those drinkers just as well.