After spending 2022 releasing a series of beers that explored New Zealand, the Balter team are now taking punters on a Mouth Holiday (capitalised because that’s actually the name of the series) of the United States. Three collaboration beers with three bangin’ American breweries.
Balter’s head brewer Scott Hargrave says: “This is a chance to really pick the brains of world-class brewers we’ve been friends with for years. A chance to mix our way of doing things to create something we’d never dream up alone.”
Stop one on the itinerary is Seattle: a collab with Steve Luke of Cloudburst Brewing. Steve is very much a "beer first, and worry about everything else later" kind of brewer; he describes his little taproom in the centre of the city (less than a mile from the Space Needle!) as "derelict chic" and "kind of crusty". But no one’s ever thought of his beers as crusty. And this hazy IPA is no exception.
Scotty and Steve had a ball throwing this beer together in Balter’s brewery; see them frolicking in the brewhouse in this video. Scotty came up with the combo of HBC586, Strata, Mosaic and Loral – all Pacific Northwest hop varieties with vibrant personalities. Steve pitched in his secret weapon for hazy IPAs: using the ancient grain spelt in the mash. Together, they made a hazy that shows off a little bit of each of their breweries, but is also something new.
From the first sniff of this beer you’re positively showered with big fresh hop character. I mean don’t mean the subtle intricacies of the flavour wheel; I mean a double handful of hop pellets shoved in your face. It takes a few breaths before the sheer hopfulness opens up to allow for more nuanced aromas: sweet orange mango juice soaks you to the skin, and the tropical fruits pour down in sheets. I also got a drizzle of passionfruit tang, which I found surprising and delightful in very American IPA.
Pop on a beanie and your grungiest album and pretend it’s raining 156 days of the year, as it is in Cloudburst’s hometown… then thank Balter and Queensland for hazy IPAs in the sunshine.
Published May 10, 2023 2023-05-10 00:00:00