Jumping on the IPA bandwagon

speights empire ipa
Speight's Empire: Lion's attempt at an Indian Pale Ale

The New Zealand craft beer market is going crazy for big hoppy beers and IPAs (Indian Pale Ales) are becoming more and more popular. So it wasn’t going to be long before the big boys of the NZ beer market tried to get a piece of that action. DB must have been too busy defending their Radler because Lion have got in their first (to the best of my knowledge).

Yes, I was surprised as anyone to walk into Auckland’s Cardrona Speights Alehouse and see a new tap with ‘Empire: Indian Pale Ale’ sprawled across it. With only minutes before the Warriors game kicked off, I absently thought “well, might as well grab a jug of that”. I’ve made worse decisions, I’m sure, but this was certainly no high point.

For the next 40 minutes, the boys and I struggled through something I wouldn’t call an IPA’s rear-end. Now I’m no beer reviewer or connoisseur, but I do know what I like. Raising the glass to my face, I was assaulted with some funky aromas that made the next step a little daunting. And with good reason, I won’t attempt to describe the flavours but I can assure you there was no tropical fruits, no grapefruit and no citrus zing. In fact it tasted a lot like a pint of disappointment.

Obviously I was expecting a lot more, Speight’s craft beer range has usually been pretty reliable, and admittedly the jug of Pilsener we had after tasted great in comparison. It sort of makes you think that Lion just made a half-ass attempt at an IPA, failed miserably, but because they made a huge tank of it they might as well try to sell it under that moniker anyway, fair play I guess.

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