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May 6, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Beer’d – A Rainbow of IPA Across Wellington

As a barman, I see trends in the craft-beer industry come and go first-hand. Sometimes they’ll stick, other times they’ll start with a hiss and a roar, then fizzle out after a couple of months.

Within the bleeding obvious hophead trend lies another trend—brewing hoppy IPAs of any colour except their original ‘beer colour’.

During the last few years I have seen IPAs in hues of red, white and black (I’ve even made a pink one with beets)—but I can’t remember the last time a new one came out that was just an IPA.

I’m not complaining though. The added complexity of the coloured malts brewers use to achieve such colours has made for a much wider spectrum of hoppy beers to coexist in a crowded market.

Probably the first non-yellow IPA on the New Zealand market was 8 Wired ‘Tall Poppy’, debuting on tap a couple of years ago and eventually becoming part of 8 Wired’s staple range. Tall Poppy combines the fruity, zesty character of US hops, like Simcoe and Amarillo, with rich and toasty crystal and Munich malts. The end result is a beer to please both malt lovers and hopheads alike.

If you like it dark, the groovy chaps from Funk Estate have you covered with their black IPA: ‘Funk’nstein’. Originally released at six per cent in 2012 with the literal name ‘Black IPA’, the malt was beefed up in subsequent batches which saw the re-naming to Funk’nstein at seven per cent. The latest batch strikes a beautiful balance between its light, chocolatey, roast character and tropical fruit from the generous additions of Cascade and Nelson Sauvin hops. Excitingly, the guys are now bottling their funky creations—so expect to see bottled ‘Funk’nstein’ at bars and supermarkets in the next week or two.

The most misunderstood coloured IPA is the white IPA—so named because a large portion of the grain used is malted wheat, NOT because they are related to the yeast-driven Weissbier and Witbier of Europe. In fact, most white IPAs use the same yeast as normal IPAs.

Of course, there are always exceptions, and Moa ‘Southern Alps White IPA’ is one. It bucks the trend by using the spicy Belgian yeast and coriander seed of a Belgian Witbier as well as truckloads of US-grown Citra hops. The subtle coriander blends amazingly well with the insane fruit and pine of Citra, all topped off with a crisp bitterness and weighing in at only 5.8 per cent. Look out for it on tap now, bottles should come in the next month.

In the meantime, get beer-curious and try an IPA that’s got something a little different going on.

If you’ve got any questions or comments, tweet me @davethebeerguy

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