That Moon Dog's Dip-Hop-Opotamus is the first commercial release in Australia to utilise new experimental hop variety NZ101, from NZ Hops' Bract Programme, should be eye-catching enough for beer chasers around the country. But there's more to the backstory than that: the beer is the first conception-to-can project for the brewery's new signing Miro Bellini, a man who's been involved in all manner of great things in beer, not least being a founder of Good Beer Week.
Having been granted the opportunity to use the new hop at Moon Dog, he initially wanted to see it featured in a kellerbier (a pet project of his being to bring unfiltered lagers to the masses), before being told by the brewing brains at Moon Dog the hop wasn't really suited to such a beer, and would be showcased better in a dip-hopped cold IPA. As Miro tells us, on hearing "dip hop" a wag in the brewery suggested Dip-Hop-Opotamus for the name, "riffing on a moment from the Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy", which was followed by someone else with: “Dip-Hop-Opotamus, and the flavours are bottomless” in reference to the Flight of the Conchords' song Rhymenocerous vs Hiphopopotamus.
All of which brings us to this single hop, dip-hopped cold IPA featuring NZ101. The variety is said to give brewers lime and ripe mandarin, melon and tropical fruit flavours and aromas to play with, and my first impression was that, yes, there was a lot going on for a single hop beer. Aromatically, it had me thinking of Juicy Fruit gum, but only if it had been put through a Hubba Bubba machine: chewy, fruity and ripe, and no doubt aided by the specialty malts that lend it its copper colour.
Give it time and some of that more familiar white wine NZ hop character – albeit a fatter, sweeter white – makes an appearance, then is that mandarin? Either way, it's a beer that flourishes way more hop character than many tightly wound cold IPAs, finishing with a stickily fruity bitterness that's in keeping with what’s come before.
- Single Hop Cold IPA