For as much as I’m a champion of fresh hop beers, I’ll be the first to admit they tend to fall into a pretty staid and narrow group of styles.  There’s always good ones and bad ones, but the field itself is typically composed of modern IPAs and pilsners sporting fresh additions of go-to hops such as Riwaka, Nelson Sauvin and Motueka.

But Christchurch brewers Two Thumb have pulled a double divergence here by releasing not just an English style IPA, but one fresh-hopped with the legendary (and legendarily unfashionable) Green Bullet hops.  These earthy, spicy and strongly bitter hops are the principal component in Steinlager Classic but see scant little application in the near exclusively fruit driven flavour profiles of popular craft beer.

Here they find their element sublimely, conveying spice, dried apricot and a subtle, complex earthy aromatic that I can only describe as the smell of an autumnal deciduous forest after rain.  Beneath the aroma, the broad malt backbone and gripping bitterness present a beer with a flavour and finish that vastly outdoes its (comparatively) tiny 4.8%abv.  Delicious and daringly different.

Two Thumb Green Bullet