Epic Hop Zombie R (440ml Can)
One morning 10 years ago (2010) Luke woke up early and drove to pick up a fellow brewer for a brew day. It was tough to get up that morning as the night before he had been to the Faith No More concert and had been backstage drinking Epic Armageddon IPA (which had only been out 18 months) with the band. They had talked about how it may have been the song “Epic” that could have influenced the naming of our company today. It was an influential year and I had just discovered craft beer.
That morning Luke was picking up a NZer who had been brewing in the UK. He was back in NZ for a wedding. The year before Luke had been to the UK and done the very first NZ international collaboration brew at Thornbridge Brewery where he worked. Now it was time to do the first international collaboration brew in New Zealand. It was with our now good friend Kelly Ryan. Kelly eventually moved back to New Zealand and worked for Epic for a while (obviously after we drove around NZ and visited all those breweries and created the online series NZCraftBeer.TV). One of the beers we made together was Hop Zombie.
Hop Zombie has gone on to be one of NZ’s most iconic craft beers and one of NZ’s best exports. So when we started talking about brewing together again it was “what should we brew”. It was a discussion that started with “well it has to be an IPA”, then “it has to be bigger” and then the master of naming beer came up with it has to be “Zombier”. Because it is bigger than Hop Zombie. Plus it is a cool play/use/inclusion of the word “bier”.
Everything just seemed right. So Luke and his trusty international assistant brewer (making his first domestic assistant brewing appearance) Sten “Thor” Hansen headed to Wellington and met Kelly at his double award winning Small Brewery of the Year brewery - Fork Brewing.
The plan was we would make the same beer. One batch at the Fork which was to be sold in kegs and one brewed in Auckland which has been canned in 440ml cans. As always when you are collaborating and each brewer pushes the other brewer a little bit more and vis a versa, something doesn’t go as planned. The one little glitch in this particular collaboration has been that the keg version of the beer is 12% but the canned version is 10%.
Out of the can there is that familiar aroma of the guava and passionfruit aroma. On tasting though you will find there is a noticeable difference compared to Hop Zombie. It seems that the balance of the beer is noticeably greater. This leads to an unfortunately high level of drinkability. I’m sure there will be people that think having two cans is a good idea cause it tastes so good, and so easy to drink.
All we can say is beware, and respect the Zombie, it bites.
Imperial IPA, Double IPA or DIPA is a strong, often sweet, intensely hoppy version of the traditional India Pale Ale. Bitterness units range upward of 100 IBUs and alcohol begins at 7.5% but is more commonly in the 8.5-10% range. The flavour profile is intense all-round. Unlike barley wines, the balance is heavily towards the hops, with crystal and other malts providing support.