Goodtimes Craft Beverages

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Tag: IPA



Northbridge Brewing Company IPA

Recently Goodtimes was invited to the launch of the new seasonal from the Northbridge Brewing Company (NBC). The 7% Indian Pale Ale (IPA) had been on tap for a week and this was a great chance to learn more about it from Head Brewer Ken Arrowsmith.

The third floor Sky Deck was the perfect location for a couple of hours of hop-head heaven. As the sun set Ken worked the crowd with  the history and brewing techniques that centred around hops.  This included a flight of seven beers finishing with the new NBC IPA.


The sun sets on the Northbridge Brewing Company Skydeck.

The first beer tasted was Tuatara’s ‘Pilsner’ which showcases the New Zealand Pacific Jade, Motueka, Riwaka, Nelson Sauvin hop varieties. This beer was included to highlight the seasonality of hop growing as well as to highlight the classic Pilsner style. Previous to establishing Southern Hemisphere hop growing regions, Northern hemisphere brewers were limited to just one harvest a year.


Master Brewer Ken Arrowsmith sharing his hop knowledge.

Mash Brewing’s English style ‘Challenger IPA’ followed showing a modern yet English leaning take on the classic style. Although recent fame has been for their ‘Copy Cat” American style IPA, this beer can certainly hold its own. In many ways it’s a more approachable beer for those new to hoppy beers.

Next up was British brewery Youngs with their ‘Special Ale’. The Special Ale was brimming with classic fruity characters from the Fuggles and Goldings hops. This fruitiness was supported by the honey and caramel from the Maris Otter and Crystal malts. I’m sure this has many fans in its homeland but I’m not one.

Before the run of modern IPA’s commenced pipping hot pizza’s, arancini balls and mini Burgers were delivered to the tables. These continued throughout the night. I’ve eaten at the NBC quite a few times and it has to be one of the best kitchens in Perth for casual dining.

Stone & Wood ‘Pacific Ale’ heralded a shift into more contemporary territory. This is a beautiful, 4.4% ABV beer that was that has it’s origins in Byron Bay on the NSW north coast. It’s unfiltered and uses the Australian Galaxy hop which creates summery passionfruit aromas. Pacific Ale is consistently rated in the top two Australian beers.

Feral Brewing’ ‘Hop Hog’ is the beer that takes the number one position. As the tasting were being handed out more than half the audience had worked out what we are about to taste. This shows not only the prevalence and respect for this beer but also the changing tastes  of Australian beer drinkers. It’s a classic.

Things stepped up from there with New Zealand brewery Epic’s ‘Hop Zombie’. Before tasting Ken noted that this was one of his favourite beers and it’s easy to see why a hop-head would love it. Hop Zombie is an 8% ABV Double IPA – that is a massively scaled up version of an IPA.  It’s inspiration comes from one of the original Double IPA’s, River River Brewing’s ‘Pliny, the Edler. Both of these beers are very balanced and drinkable, even at 8% ABV and with 80 International Bitterness Units.

Finally it was time for the new Northbridge Brewing Company IPA to be sampled. Ken had a few words to say about it but really wanted to let the beer do the talking. The IPA uses classic American hops (Cascade, Centennial & Chinook) with an addition of Galaxy hops. This is then dry-hopped with the resinous Amarillo & Centennial hops.

With its assertive bitterness and solid malt backbone, Ken has created a wonderful expression of a classic beer style. This will be quite a step up for the novice beer drinker from a Pale Ale or even the less assertive ‘Hop Hog’.  Given this is a one-off anyone wanting to try it is advised to get to the Northbridge Brewing Company soon.


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This spring a hop hungry monster strides out of the dark forests of Margaret River into the city to wreak havoc with the palates of beer drinkers. They call it Ryezilla!

The award winning Bootleg Brewing has collaborated with Belmont based award winning Mane Liquor for the next installment of their ‘One-off’ specialty series. Their creation is a Rye India Pale Ale (IPA) using the newly released Enigma hop.

Ryezilla as launched recently at Mane Liquor and 5ive Bar, Mt Lawley. Needless to say both venues were heaving with ‘hop heads’ keen to try this collaboration.


The beer originated from a conversation between Mane’s Elliot Moore and Josh Daley with Bootleg Brewery’s Head Brewer Ryan Nilsson-Linne. They discussed working together and the release of a new hop variety from Hop Products Australia was the perfect opportunity.

This is one of the first commercial expressions of the new Enigma hop. As such the team created a Single Hop beer to allow it to shine. The Enigma hop brings strong tropical fruit characters to Ryezilla contrasting the spicy malt base.

On their website, Hop Product Australia describe Enigma’s the initial testing’s as having characters like ‘Pinot Gris’, ‘Raspberries’ and ‘light tropical fruit’. This is certainly an enigmatical mix.

As for the malt bill, Bootleg Brewer Ryan says 15% Rye Malt was added to Pale Malt with a small amount of Wheat Malt used for body and head retention.

This recipe produces a lovely off-golden colour and spicy base for the Enigma hops to shine. The estimated 80 IBU’s are present but doesn’t overwhelm the malt base.

As the ‘One-off’ series name suggests this is a limited release beer. Get this monster while you can  from Mane Liquor and Bootleg Brewing.


Ryezilla Bottle


Rye IPA with Enigma hops
6.1% ABV
Liberal use of the new Enigma hop create aroma’s of light fruit salad, Passionfruit and berries.
Tasting shows some initial malt sweetness before spiciness from the Rye counterpoints this, coming through mid-palate and leading to a dry finish. There is lightness to this IPA that’s really enjoyable.
Delicious stuff!


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International IPA Day

Big. Flavourful. Bitter.
The India Pale Ale (IPA) style of beer delivers all of these characters through its celebration of the hop cone.
Just as these characters are celebrated they also scare off those new to Craft beer. After drinking milder beer styles like Lagers the step into larger flavors can be a challenge. It can also be a challenge to understand why they are so celebrated.

The first Thursday in August marks International IPA Day.  It’s a great chance to reflect on this iconic beer style and it could be an even better chance to try one for the first time.
My own experience in pushing my palete came through drinking what was at the time was a massively bitter and fruity beer. It was a struggle to get through the pint but there was something there. This curiosity was enough that I ordered another and pushed on, falling in love with the India Pale Ale.
The origins of the IPA are from English beers that were comparatively highly hopped and higher in alcohol to help preserve them on the long sea voyage to India from the English brewing capital of Burton-On-Trent.
Hundreds of years later the American Craft Beer revolution was kick started in the 1970’s by the short lived New Albion Brewing Company and the Anchor Brewing Company. Anchor’s ‘Liberty Ale’ is considered to be the first new world IPA although in 1975 the style name was not used yet.


ANCHOR - Liberty Ale
In essence this beer was Pale Ale (also a term that was not used yet) that used a high hop regime and was also ‘dry hopped’, a process involving the addition of hops after the brew for extra aroma and flavour. It’s a beautiful beer that is mild by today’s IPA standards.
It’s also a drinkable history lesson that’s an easy entry point for those new to IPA’s.
From there Sierra Nevada took these rediscovered brewing techniques and produced their classic Pale Ale, an inspiration for many early Craft Brewers.
These developments were centred in the USA and drew bold on new American hop varieties. The aim of the early Anchor and Sierra Nevada beers was to reference classic English beers styles but put an American stamp on them.
This was done by using only American hops, in particular the Cascade variety which had been released for use in 1972 by the USDA. The Cascade hop is synonymous with Grapefruit like aromas.
It is one of four hop varieties that are regarded as the 4 C’s. They are Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus.
All of these have played a large part in the evolution of IPA. In fact many of the world’s great IPA’s use only these hops either for flavour or aroma.


As the modern IPA style evolved the passion to push the hop boundaries of drinkers lead to the development of the Double IPA or Imperial IPA.  Californian brewer Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing fame is credited with developing this style in the early 1990’s.
Double IPA’s take these bold flavours and turn them up to eleven with massive resinous bitterness and alcohol contents reaching towards 10% ABV.


Russian River - Pliny, the Elder

As with most things the pendulum does swing back the other way and there has been a recent trend towards the “Session IPA”.
These, as the name suggests, are more like a Craft mid-strength beer with a high hop rate.

A very creative example of this is from New Zealand brewery 8 Wired whose very well regarded 8.8% ABV Double IPA “Superconductor” spawned a ‘half’ sibling in the 4.4% ABV Session IPA “Semi-conductor”.

While the modern IPA revolution has had an American focus brewers in the UK have been well aware of its heritage.
Alastair Hook of the Meantime Brewing Company has been producing what are considered to be some of the most faithful recreations of classic beers styles including the IPA.
The UK revival also comes from brash Scottish brewers BrewDog whose ‘Punk IPA’ created a storm when released in 2007.

In the their flagship beer, Punk IPA, BrewDog have focused on new world hops like New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin to create Tropical flavours and aromas to ride over the bitterness.
These bold flavours and audacious packaging have seen BrewDog become champions of the UK Craft Beer movement and respected internationally.

Brewdog - Punk IPA

Locally, Australian beer interest in the IPA has taken much longer but the big flavour train has really gathered momentum in the last few years.
In Australia the American IPA (AIPA) style is driving this growth however some Australian brewers are using only Australian varieties of hops creating an Australian IPA style.
Feral Brewing’s “Hop Hog” American IPA is an icon of Australian IPA Brewing.  It ‘s an American IPA style that has won the Critic’s Choice of Australia’s Best Beer for the last three years running.
From a little further up the road in the Swan Valley, Mash Brewing has won the Champion Beer 2014 award at the Australian Beer Awards with their “Copycat” American IPA.

MASH - Copycat AIPA

While some of this piece focuses on the modern American take on the India Pale Ale style there have been further developments and sub-groups over time . So here is a quick recap on the variations on the style:

ENGLISH IPA: The origin of the style focuses on lots of fruit characters of a bed of sweet malts with a mild bitterness for the style.

AMERICAN IPA: The modern resurrection of the style with a bold hop bitterness, floral or citrus aromas and a caramel base.

SESSION IPA: Essentially a hoppy Pale Ale and easy entry point for those new to the IPA.

BLACK IPA: The marriage of a Robust Porter (another classic beer style) and a hoppy IPA. Imagine coffee or chocolate malt characters with a ramped up bitterness and Citrus or Tropical notes.
The Goodtimes Eagle Bay BIPA post in “Beer Favourites” is a good local example.

A massive example of the Black IPA is Arbor’s 2014 “Freestyle Fridays #44”.

This would rate as the most bitter beer I have ever tasted.
Beer bitterness is graded by the Internal Bitterness Units (IBU) standard. The easiest way to understand this is from some examples.

CORONA is about 15 IBU

FERAL Hop Hog is about 50 IBU

RUSSIAN RIVER Pliny, the Elder Double IPA is about 100 IBU

ARBOR Freestyle Friday #44 2014 is about 1200 IBU

This is a HUGE beer that will challenge the most seasoned beer drinker!

ARBOR - Freestyle Friday #44 2014

So where does the new Craft Beer drinker go with all of this?

I believe it’s all about expectation. If you understand and expect bigger flavours from your beer then you’ll have much more chance of enjoying or at least respecting them.

Unfortunately being blindsided by massive flavours, bitterness and a passionate Craft beer friend may not be the best way to start with this style.

From my experience, treat this style with respect and it will give it back to you in spades.

Some suggested staring points for IPA’s would be:


Cheers to the India Pale Ale!


Drink better. Be good.