Beer Me! Epic Brewing’s Hop Zombie


To continue my journey down under, I sink my gullet next into the tres fashionable Epic Brewing from Auckland, NZ. This is the Imperial IPA of the moment, garnering more social media activity over a “regular brew” than most seasonal or one-off launches. Perhaps the greater availability and freshness has caused this NZ-slide.

Hop Zombie is their BIG IPA. Not a beer for pansies. Apparently. I found it to be more than pleasant.

A delightful caramel warmth and sweetness starts within your olfactory with tropical fruits, pineapple and mango, giving a “Man from Del Monte” kiss to you. It smells of Um Bongo.

You pour and a light fizz gives way to more juiciness, you sip and there’s no overarching bitter kick, it’s a surprise for a beer shouting about how hoppy it is – but NZ hops aren’t there for kicking your tastebuds into touch, they’re there to caress you with juicy tenderness. Oo-err missus.


It’s so perfectly balanced I can’t quite believe it – it’s reasonable fresh, fantastically so given the distance it’s travelled, peachy and fuzzy.

An amber orange delight, but rather than containing dino-blood sucking mozzies, we have all the hops singing in harmony, not at the expense of your palate and it’s detriment into over bitter pucking mouthdom.

It passes my “wife test” for an IPA – whereas most garner a bit of a gurning “sucking lips inwards” face, this make a small smile happen with a “woah” to add. Fantastic beer, that will be sought after on all future shopping trips – this is a cosmic event of an IPA.

DISCLAIMER: I work for BrewDog and sell BrewDog, Mikkeller and Stone Brewing Co beers into the “North” of England.


Beer Me! Jaipur vs. Jaipur X – Clash of the Thornbridge Titans?

Jaipur1After the self-harm that was playing the recently released Bloodborne, I needed some form of beery respite to calm the goddamn hell down, and to stop me looking uneasily into every shadow.

Thankfully i’d left a couple of lovely beers in the fridge to top off an incredible Sunday roast dinner (Pork joint, awesome roasties, and proper homemade Yorkshire puddings, just in-case you were wondering….sorry).

An interesting one this – Thornbridge’s 10 year anniversary is upon us, and to celebrate they have brewed an anniversary edition of their first beer – the delight that is Jaipur. Reletively little introduction is needed to Thornbridge, they were one of the first to really kick the UK craft beer scene into action, so they are rightly held with some high regard. I thought it would provide a good opportunity to revisit the classic, and give the “X” a good go, having missed it on draught on release.


First up is the classic, Jaipur, clocking in at 5.9%. The instant you pour the light flax-like beer, it froths into it’s beautiful cream-ale style head, chilled to perfection.

Quickly, and without having to go near it, your head swims with passionfruit, pomegranate seeds and a hit of lime. There’s this light spiced ale aroma to it, reminding me of a passage from an old Star Wars novel (sorry, nerdcore) where Han orders from a dive bar – amazing memories. It’s Wit-like, but with a bigger bready malt quality, without the coriander.

It slips down the throat too easily – citrus juice explodes like taking a bite out of a breakfast grapefruit, with every part of the pucking aftertaste, big lemony undertones, overplaying the lime aroma.

It’s just made my cat do her typical “Ahmergherd, Alcohol” face. I have not yet posted a cat picture. I may yet. I am thankful she isn’t into beer, for it’s my one vestige of defence of food and drink that she won’t steal. FInally a small alcoholic hit dissolves into the juicy aftertaste and it’s done. Too easy drinking really.

Round 2 – ding ding.


Onto the “X”. It pours a little darker, as expected, but is unexpectedly light bodied for a 10% beer. It retains a light froth, clinging to the glass like fine lace – beer clean glass? Yes, Sir.

There’s a huge alcoholic punchiness on the nose, yet there’s no denying it’s roots. A lot more strong lime, almost a cordial element – with a weird touch of liquorice that might just be me going crazy.

The first taste overwhelms, and gives a huge toasty caramel sweetness, almost giving a berry tartness. Syrupy. The sweetness is massively overplaying the classic Jaipur bitterness, giving a mandarin or orange squash (from concentrate, natch) swirl to the palate.

There’s no huge aftertaste, but there ‘s more juice in this fruit. The alcoholic warmth is there, only.

“If it ain’t broke” applies to this situation, but as a beer in it’s own right, its…fine? Glowing Endorsement as that is.

DISCLAIMER: I work for BrewDog and sell BrewDog, Mikkeller and Stone Brewing Co beers into the “North” of England.

Beer me! Stone Brewing Co’s Japanese Green Tea IPA (2015)

So it’s been a while…

I used to write a lot, now I mainly tweet. I believe time and a lackadaisical attitude to social media will do that to a person, but it’s been too long and I feel the need to do so once again.

I’m a passionate beer drinker, in fact I believe friends and colleagues alike would say i’m Mr. Enthusiasm, but my growing fascination with beer has developed into first geekery, and then a job. I’m pretty pleased with how it all worked out to be honest, and it’s opened my eyes to an ocean of possibility regarding beer and beer styles. I still recognise my knowledge of beer is low, but i’m hoping through doing this and beavering away studying for Certified Cicerone, it’ll work wonders!

My geekery of beer has certainly stepped up a gear recently, where I am now purchasing specialised glassware, purposefully designed to impart more aroma and experience to the pallet as possible – I grin every time I use it. It also has the added benefit of looking slightly rude. Hur hur hur.

I guess this will be my first proper attempt at getting down and dirty with discussing a beer – and I’ve brought something rather special to the opening party – the updated version of Stone Brewing Co‘s Japanese Green Tea IPA.GTIPA_1

This is a collaboration brew, not only with Baird Brewery’s Bryan Baird, but with Toshi Ishii, a former brewer at Stone, and now founder of Guam’s Ishii Brewing Co. Lovely to have the story written there on the back for you to see, I love that about the beer industry, the collaborative, and in some cases, weirdly incestual nature of where people work and work with.

Sooo, first impressions: Looks a little hazy. That’ll be all the sexy flavour in there.


Smells of musty hay, belgian yeast-like but with higher notes to it, obviously green tea, avocado? Avocado maki sushi rolls! Awesome. Really light aroma considering its 10.1% abv.

Tastes bright and herbaceous as the guff on the back states, but they’re absolutely right, more botanical/tropical bright hop vibes. It tastes like a visit to a Botanical garden – inhaling the warm air as you rove through the vibrant plants and rainbow-hued insects.

I know this sounds poncey. Sorry.

Long aftertaste where the bitterness really kicks in and you get green grass and pine – but not too dry which makes a change for this “style”.

It barely tastes 5% let alone 10. This is instantly quaffable, so i’m incredibly glad I bought two bottles, the second being saved for my next ADVENTURE IN BEER (read: getting sozzled) with a good friend.

Final word: Nom.

DISCLAIMER: I work for BrewDog and sell BrewDog, Mikkeller and Stone Brewing Co beers into the “North” of England.