This year’s NZIPA pilgrimage has led me to some interesting places, and with this final (or maybe not?) entry for the year I find myself drinking in the frontier with this new showcase of the latest trial hop from the NZ Hops Ltd’s Bract Brewing Program. Encore is actually Sprig + Fern’s second outing with these hops, being tweaked and refined from their earlier release Headliner.
My immediate thought when first nosing this was that this is a hop that very much takes inspiration from Nelson Sauvin (which certainly isn’t a bad thing). That pronounced grape and gooseberry are on full display, along with prickly citrus and tinned fruit salad. As much as the nose might have Sauvin vibes, this drinks quite a bit differently. It’s got a fabulously juicy bounce, but it’s superbly clean at the same time. Lime citrus reigns, with a background of ripe tropicals and gentle florals (daphne specifically). Light bodied and nimble, with just enough bitterness to keep it on the ground. A highly-drinkable summer-specced IPA that more than demonstrates promise of this upcoming new hop. Now NZH-106 it just needs a decent name (the last commercial release, Superdelic, was not a winner in my book!).