In a way, it feels like it’s been building to this. Over the past few years, 4 Pines has turned out a conveyor belt of IPA variants: American, imperial, double, double black, black, white, triple, rye – if it’s big on hops, they’ve had a go. And underpinning them all has been a steady pursuance and promotion of the "fresh is best"; you’ll find that, when first released, many of these beers will be tapped at local venues within hours – sometimes within the hour – of being packaged at the brewery so that drinkers can smell and taste the relative merits of a truly fresh, hoppy beer. The brewery's latest release – and the eighth to be added to the core range – takes a somewhat natural step further.
It’s called the In Season IPA and, as the name suggests, it uses hops that are in season. Now, considering hops are an annually harvested crop, the time between harvests can mean hops are not exactly at their freshest for those brews put through just before the next harvest is due to roll around. So, rather than wed themselves to a particular hop variety for In Season, 4 Pines has decided to tie the recipe to the freshest hops it can get. In a practical sense that will mean for six months of the year they’ll be using hops from the Southern Hemisphere harvest and for the other six it’ll be hops from the Northern Hemisphere harvest.
As a part of the core range and therefore available more or less year round, it’s the only regular 4 Pines beer you can expect could, or even should, taste quite different from batch to batch. The malt base will be the same (in as much as you can count on malt being the same brew to brew) but the ultimate fate of the beer rests on what hops they can get and how fresh they are. As for how it tastes, well, that depends on which one you get. They’ll be brewing it in smallish batches so as to keep supplies fresh and if you want to know which hemisphere you're drinking and the specific hop varieties, look for the batch number on the bottom of your can and click here.