Beervana Preview 3 – Monsters from Marlborough

It’s been a monster winter for New Zealand beer lovers. We’ve had a sudden rush of new, high alcohol beers, often pushing loads of New Zealand hops.

Perhaps the biggest of the monsters is MPA Imperial India Pale Ale from the Renaissance Brewing Company in Blenheim. The label tells you all you need to know about this one – “An explosion of Rakau Hops”.

This is a single-hop beer – the Rakau hop has to provide bitterness, flavour and aroma, a big call. Most hops can provide two out those three characteristics, but single-hop beers I have tried in judging sessions usually have something lacking. This isn’t the case here – MPA IIPA has masses of hops from first scent, to a lingering finish. Renaissance says its uses 21kg of Rakau hops in a 2000 litre batch of MPA IIPA, so it’s no wonder you notice them.

MPA IIPA pours golden brown and has an obvious citrus/summer fruit aroma. Some have detected sweaty notes there too – perhaps not surprising with the masses of hops. That fruit theme continues in the flavour, carried by a very hefty 8.5% alcohol. This is no session beer. Try serving it in a wine glass – with its complex citrus tones, a single-hop recipe and Marlborough origins, this one could convert sauvignon blanc fans. Despite the Imperial India Pale Ale label, Renaissance has entered MPA in the Barley Wine category at BrewNZ.

MPA IIPA has been released this week at Hamilton’s House on Hood, Wellington’s Hashigo Zake, Christchurch’s Pomeroys and the Free House in Nelson. It will be available at the Renaissance stand at Beervana.

Moa Brewing Company has always had strong links to wine production techniques, including secondary fermentation and bottle conditioning. Moa’s Beervana surprise is yet another big-hopped, high -alcohol pale ale – Moa Imperial Pale Ale.

Moa says this 7.2% Imperial Pale Ale has a robust 75 International Bitterness Units from local Cascade and Sauvin hops. Its tasting notes say it has an “extremely high bitterness” with “bright passion fruit flavours” and “flinty and mineralistic characters”.

I have to admit I haven’t opened my sample bottle yet – I’m waiting to have a taste-off with MPA IIPA, Yakima Monster, Motueka Monster and No.8 Wired Hopwired. Want to join me?

So if you are looking for a theme for Beervana 2010, how about an IIPA-themed monster hunt? Here’s a few to look out for:
Moa Imperial Pale Ale
Renaissance MPA
Thornbridge Halcyon IIPA
No.8 Wired’s Hopwired IPA
Epic Barrel Aged Armageddon

There will be other IIPA-influenced beers there too – happy hunting.

I’m off to Beervana on Friday – if you see me say Happy Birthday. Cheers!

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©Martin Craig. Reproduction with permission only.

9 Responses to “Beervana Preview 3 – Monsters from Marlborough”

  1. Martin liebt mildes Ale und ist für den sonderbaren tui teilweise


  2. “is partial to Tui” Web translators eh?


  3. Oh yeah. New beer. Overall, not surprising. Beer is constantly being improved. There will be new varieties and types. But I still can not wait to try this new beer. I\’m going to you.


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