Friday, 18 July 2008

Beer O'Clock: Hop Heavyweights

Hop aboard the heavyweight hop express with your robust conductor Stu from SOBA.

pc_Hop Heavyweights This week I sidestep the wheat beer article I promised in my last Beer O'Clock post – because either a) I left it at home, or b) the dog at my homework (pick one) – and tell you about Hallertau Maximum Humulus Lupulus and Epic Armageddon… the two hoppiest beers ever available in New Zealand.

Fresh from a trip to the World Beer Cup in San Diego, with tongues still numb from an excessive amount of hoppy American-style India Pale Ales (IPA), Luke Nicholas of Epic and Stephen Plowman of Hallertau hatched the plan to brew up a heavyweight IPA challenge.

This hop heavy battle is more than just brewery versus brewery, it is New Zealand versus the world. Hallertau’s Maximum Humulus Lupulus uses New Zealand malt and hops exclusively, while Epic Armageddon uses English malt and American hops. No matter where the ingredients come from, both beers promise to be ridiculously hoppy.

These beers will not be cheap. If you think the price of petrol has risen dramatically, you should be glad you are not buying American hops. 'Peak hops' is hitting much harder than 'peak oil' [especially considering one of these is bogus - Ed.], with brewers paying up to nine times what they were paying a year ago for hops.

Added to that, the price of European malt is also on a strong rise. Armageddon looks to be the beer equivalent of purchasing a Liebherr T 282B to drive to work in – hedonistically fun but hideously expensive. Both beers weigh in around 7% and, as such, their price tag also contains a stupefying amount of excise tax.

The beers are both on tap at The Malthouse right now. They’ll soon be on tap at Hallertau in Auckland, and the word on the street is they might be at Galbraith’s too. If you can’t get to any of these places, you’ll have to travel to San Diego to find beers this hoppy … good luck.

Slainte mhath, Stu


  1. My mouth just waters at the thought of Epic Armageddon. Can it possibly beat Epic Mayhem? I'll have to get down to the Malthouse... might sample the Hallertau too :-)

  2. Well, after a hard afternoon slaving over a mill, mash tun and hot kettle, the members of FLAWHB (Freedom-Loving Association of Wellington Home Brewers) visited the Malthouse to sample the Epic Armageddon. And the Hallertau.

    They had run out of Armageddon. We all had the Hallertau instead. Opinions varied. I mean, it wasn't bad, it just... it wasn't epic. Drinkable, hoppy yet well-balanced, but unexciting, and it didn't quite live up to the name "Maximus Humulus Lupulus".

  3. Armageddon was Epic. Reminded my of Sierra Nevada Celebration.

    I think the Maximus was prtty tidy - perhaps even more drinkable than the Armageddon - but it suffered a little for the slightly flabby NZ malt... I hope they do it again sometime, because I think Hallertau will really come out swinging.


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