I’m not saying that this is the be all and end all of the hoppy beer lists, but it’s a pretty damn tasty line-up. Let’s dive in.
Mad Giant – Killer Hop Pale Ale
Mad Giant has made a name for themselves with big ol’ beers that are packed with flavour. Killer Hop is a favourite of many and it’s laced with plenty of green to give it a solid bitter kick for a pale ale. It’s brewed with three of America’s heavy hitter hops: Cascade, Centennial and Citra. Expect layers of tropical fruit, citrus and pine backed by a biscuit malt profile. It’s good anytime and two is always better than one.
Devil’s Peak & Mikkeller Collab – Capenhagen New England India Pale Ale
When it comes to getting juicy, fruity hop flavour into a brew, it doesn’t get much better than a New England IPA. This impressive collab is a celebration of African hops and it’s packed with Southern Promise and African Queen. The result is a fruit juice explosion of passion fruit, grapefruit and a whole bunch of other tropical fruits. New Englands are also low in bitterness so it really does taste like you’re drinking a fruit beer. It’s an incredible collab from two world-renowned breweries.
Riot Beer – Valve India Pale Ale
Riot have been tinkering with their Valve recipe for years and this is definitely the best it’s ever been. It’s got massive hop aroma and character with just enough malt body for balance. It’s a classic American West Coast style IPA with big hits of citrus and tropical fruit. Get your nose in the glass and give it a good sniff before you dive into this one. Rumour has it that it’s also dry hopped with the local Southern Passion hop to give it a unique passion fruit twist.
Amundsen Brewery – Ink & Dagger India Pale Ale
Amundsen is from Norway and they have formed a great relationship with Devil’s Peak over the last year. They now contract brew beers in the Cape and they are dangerously good. Ink & Dagger is a self-proclaimed hop bomb with enough green goodness to satisfy most hardcore lupulin junkie. It’s a skilful blend of Magnum, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe that’s bursting with pineapple and mango flavour without being overwhelmingly bitter. Ink & Dagger is easily one of the best IPAs in the country so keep an eye out for it.
Duvel Tripel Hop Citra
Duvel Tripel Hop is a titan of hoppy deliciousness and for many years they released a new version every year. It’s brewed with Saaz and Styrian Golding hops as standard and the third hop would always be different. Last year, with the help of their loyal fans, they decided that the Citra edition was the best of all time and now it’s the standard. It’s an incredible brew full of complex hop aromas and flavours with Belgian yeast characteristics. If you see it, buy it and you’ll never be disappointed.
Cape Brewing Company – Cape of Good Hops Imperial India Pale Ale
It’s hard for me to write any hoppy list without including this beer. It’s been so ridiculously tasty from the day it launched and every time I’ve drunk it since. It has a thick viscosity to it and it’s hopped to the hilt. It uses Galena and Mosaic hops and has an intense, layered fruit character. Expect big hits of citrus, tropical fruit and gooseberries. It has been one of South Africa’s best IPAs for ages and it’s always a winner in my book. If you ever do a brewery tour and the beer gods smile on you, maybe just maybe you’ll get to taste it straight from the tank.
Karl Tessendorf is one part of the duo that hosts ‘Beer Country‘, South Africa’s first TV show dedicated to beer, braai and the open road.
Once a year in the mountains of George, the SAB hop farms harvest their year’s supply of hops. by: Karl Tessenforf | 19 Mar 2018 (Images: Karl Tessenforf) For most people, this is just another month but if you’re a beergeek or homebrewer, it’s practically Christmas.