Food & drink

Craft Beer: Fresh taste of New Zealand

Paul McConville

Session IPA

BEATING New Zealand at rugby is always great fun, especially considering it doesn't happen all too often.

Ireland's victory over the All Blacks was one to savour, even more so if you were one of the tens of thousands of spectators crammed into the Aviva Stadium.

Full sports stadiums have come to symbolise some form of a return to normality, although New Zealand were filling them up a fair bit earlier than the rest of us given their model response to the pandemic.

The Kiwis normally produce some rugby to savour too, although it was the men in green who staged the impressive display of dominance on this occasion.

When it comes to beer, we've also taken a lead or two from our Antipodean friends.

The New Zealand terrain is fertile ground for hops, although they have come relatively late to the party.

Still, New Zealand has rapidly become a major influence on IPAs on this side of the world in particular. The Nelson Sauvin hop kicked the door down for Kiwi hops and many have flooded through it.

Sweet As, Brew

Of the many Irish brewers 'hopping' onto the New Zealand train is Mourne Mountains. Their Sweet As, Brew is billed as a NZ IPA.

A pretty self-explanatory style, NZ IPA uses hops from that part of the world, specifically in this case Motueka, Riwaka and Rakau.

The result is a murky IPA which has the look of a New England IPA, but lacks the tangy dankness of one.

Instead, you get a sweet, fruity and floral brew which is dangerously drinkable considering the 7 per cent abv. It's bursting with tropical flavours, with some refreshing citrus vibes and sweet passionfruit and mango popping up.

One abiding feeling I get when drinking a New Zealand IPA is freshness and although the hops have a fair bit to travel, this one is vibrant and zesty.

It's drinkability is up there with a session IPA. In fact, right after downing this one, I opened a can of Mourne Mountain's Session IPA.

Clocking in at 3.8 per cent, it was very hard to discern which of the two beers was greater in strength.

The Session IPA did have a nice softness to it with the juicy and tropical flavours less intense.

However, both beers slip down as quickly as a James Lowe sidestep.

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