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August 3, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

The (hoppy) end


Armageddon is coming! Oh wait, it’s already here. And it’s tasty.

You may know Epic brewing company for their lager (six hops per bottle) or pale ale (15 hops per bottle). Epic beer is renowned for their gratuitous usage of hops—their last seasonal release, Mayhem, had 26 hops per bottle. Armageddon is the latest from Epic brewing company, an IPA with just a few hops, 42 per bottle.

This number might not mean much to many people, so to put it in context, an average mega brewery beer will have about 1 hop per bottle…

The generous hopping stems from company founder/impish brewer Luke Nicholas’ experiences of American micro brewery beer. These breweries started the trend of using more hops to create more flavour, and let me tell you, it works.

It turns out that using an ‘add more hops’ philosophy make Epic Armageddon (6.66%) a beast of a beer.

As expected, a huge hoppy aroma assaults your nose with big piny hops and a lot of citrusy passionfruit.

Surprisingly, bitterness is mild in the taste, but hops still dominate the flavour. A good amount of bready malt flavour comes through and the hops don’t coat your mouth… too much. The hops cut through the malt and leave a peppery flavour in the finish.

Armageddon is available at good supermarkets and Regional Wines and Spirits now.

In a tribute to the origin of the IPA (see my Tui IPA column), Luke has filled two 20l oak barrels with Armageddon and arranged for these to travel for six weeks on the Interislander Ferry Aratere. This is designed to simulate the voyage taken in the 1880s from England to India and will impart a strong oak flavour to the beer, due to the small size of the virgin barrels.

If you’d like to taste the fruit of this epic journey, you’ll need to come to New Zealand’s premier beer festival: Beervana. The two barrels will be tapped and their contents made available to taste for those in the know.

Beervana will be held on 28 and 29 August at Wellington Town hall, and will cost $25 for entry.

Get your tickets from ticketek now and see how it all ends.

If you have any questions about this week’s beers or any comments, please e-mail me at


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