Beer of the Week

Five Things About … Bridge Road Brewers’ Hop Rain

1) Let me talk about bottling dates for a minute. Here’s what I don’t want – I don’t want dates printed on a brown bottle in dark ink in some unspecified place on the bottle so it’s utterly impossible to find while browsing in the bottle shop. I don’t want a use by date either because that’s the brewery’s way of trying to hide just how long their stock sits on the shelf. When I tweeted a New Zealand brewery asking how much they put on their IPA use by dates, they told me “12 months”. So I don’t buy that beer any more.

2) What I want is dates clearly printed on the label itself in an obvious, easy-to-find location. And I want a “bottled on” date too. That way I can decide for myself whether the beer is worth buying, whether it’s still going to be sufficiency fresh as to still be enjoyable and tasty.

3) So it’s a massive, massive hat tip to Bridge Road Brewers who have done exactly that. So I know the bottle of Hop Rain I reviewed here was bottled on the 24/4/18, which makes it less than a month old when I drank it (these beer reviews are usually written quite some time ahead of their publication date – I’m just organised that way).

4) And that bottled on date is very important when you’re dealing with a wet hop beer (which is what Hop Rain is). I’m not sure if this replaces the annual Hop Harvest beer or not; there seems to be little information about it online. The fresher you get a wet hop beer, the better it is. And this beer is very bloody special indeed.  Made with Galaxy hop cones, it’s an IPA that pours a deep ruby colour and comes with lovely passionfruit aromas. The flavours are of passionfruit and mango with some bitterness that hangs around at the background and lets the fruit flavours take centre stage. Jeez, it’s great.

5) And a word about the alcohol count. It’s a big 7 per cent but I don’t believe them for a second. There is just no way on Earth there is that much alcohol in Hop Rain. I was into the second beer before I saw the alcohol count – I’d figured it was a 4-5 per center for sure. Incredible.

Free or paid for?: I bought a four-pack from Dan Murphy’s. And have since bought more. So gooooood.

6 replies »

  1. Stockade BB dates are like that, Impossible to find. got home wiht a 8 pack of 8bit and very disappointed to find it was 6 months old.

  2. I have a couple of issues with this article. Points one and two are not about the beer as stated in the title… But my major gripe is.. “When I tweeted a New Zealand brewery asking how much they put on their IPA use by dates, they told me “12 months”. So I don’t buy that beer any more”….. Perhaps a better approach would have been to use this knowledge and only buy this beer within 11 months of their used by dates. Give breweries a bit of a break. I’m all for having as much info as possible but don’t forget not everyone (in fact probably the majority) cares, and breweries need to make money. Why not use your knowledge to share with others for the good of breweries rather than encouraging boycotts? It doesn’t help anyone.

    • So, if I think a practice results in sub-par beer being sold to consumers, I should just shut up about it?
      That’s a strange thing to say.
      And if others don’t care about that, then that’s their prerogative. They can drink an IPA that’s 11 months old.
      Me? I’m not touching that stuff.

      • Certainly didn’t mean to suggest you shut up about it. I just think it’s a little short sighted to write off a brewery (especially one that took the time to respond to you) for having a 1 year used by date. Breweries are mandated by law to have a used by date. They also need to consider distribution time,(exporting time also by the sounds of this brewery) and sale time. They also need to be mindful that some retailers would be pissed off if their used by dates are short meaning they have limited time to sell. Also need to keep in mind that breweries don’t only brew beer for us beer nerds, they also brew it for Joe public, who perhaps don’t care/realise.

        I’m all for bottled on dates, which your article focuses on and is really more the issue here. I just think you’ll miss out on good beer by writing off a brewery who took the time to provide the info you asked for instead of using that info to pick which of their beers you choose to drink. Up to you though

  3. I nearly grabbed a 4pack a few hours ago and deferred to a mixed bag of stouts and porters instead. I’ll try it now. Cheers Glen.

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