This week we’re talking Beer at Fresh Choice. Our beer aficionado, Denis Cooper, is conducting a taste off!
For all the hop-heads out there in craft beer land, Fresh Choice in association with Epic Brewery brings you the greatest taste-off since barley and hops were fermented: a taste comparison between the hugely popular ‘Epic Hop Zombie’ and the newly-created ‘Epic Stone Hammer’. Arguably two of the most hop-audacious beers in the craft kingdom.
Epic Brewery started their first brew 10 years ago with their simply-named Pale Ale and added an epidemic of amount of hops for the time, which resulted in them winning the supreme champion beer award 2006 and creating a beer with what is now of cult status. This beer has a huge amount of citrusy, grapefruity hops but is equally balanced with rich toffee malts; resulting in a beer that caters to all palates.
(They’ve celebrated their decade of brewing by brewing a celebration ale called Epic Celebration Ale 10.1%. She’s a big Barley Wine beer that tastes like port and liquid fruitcake. Buy some before she goes then bring her out for your next significant celebration, hmmmmm!)
Anywho, back to the taste-off…
Hammer time: First up was the ‘Stone Hammer’ – 7% and from first pisst of the bottle I was hopsmacked. Hit with pungent hop aromas of tangelos and orange peel wafting from the glass. The first sip then immediate tongue-curl from a bitterness that almost stripped the tastebuds from the tonsils, then a hop banging wallop of tamarillo, apricots and melons. A brash hit of hops and an aroma that lasts to the final drop, epic.
A quick Heineken to cleanse the palate then straight into the Epic Hop Zombie. This monster carries more ABV at 8.5%, so I was expecting to be mauled to death from bitter hops but instead was enlightened with a rich body, smooth mouth-feel and refined bitterness. Flavours of marmalade, green grapes and kiwifruit, all with a creaminess that belied the high alcohol. Definitely sweeter than the Hammer with smacks of that Epic Pale Ale malt coming through resulting in an unabashed elegance.
So there it is: the Brash Hammer or the Elegant Zombie? My pick is… the one that happens to be in front of me!
Hop down to Fresh Choice this Friday arvo (15th April) where I’ll be giving out free tasters of Epic proportions so you can decide your own taste-off!