Origin – Australia. VIC.
Size- 330mL bottle
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘Beer before wine makes you feel fine, wine before beer makes you feel queer’. Well, if it’s true it would certainly explain the somewhat odd and unconventional packaging design on the Hop Nation beers. You see, before Sam Hambour and Duncan Gibson jumped into the craft beer brewing scene in 2014, they spent the best part of their adult lives making and drinking some of the best wines from all over the world. Word has it that the transition to beer was a gradual one, starting out with years of home brewing on the side before setting up the Hop Nation label through gypsy brewing. The lads decided to go all in mid-2016 after a call from some old mates at Sawmill Brewery in NZ who were looking to off-load a brewing system to make way for an expansion. They quickly snapped it up, put it on a boat heading across the ditch and set out to find a home for it. Within a couple of months, they were welcoming patrons into their new set-up, a converted warehouse with a small bar, a few seats and some hip street art in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of Footscray that was once the site of an old 1880s whale fat candle and wax factory. With a name like Hop Nation and a motto of ‘In Hops We Trust’, it should come as no surprise that the lads are focused on hop-forward beers. The twist is that each small batch brew uses hops from a single-country, creating distinct flavour profiles. The original beer that created all the fuss back in 2014, The Fiend, contains all Aussie hops, The Buzz, a red ale, uses American hops and this new world pilsner, The Damned, has been crafted using New Zealand’s Riwaka and Motueka hops. I’m told that the name and artwork for this pilsner are a throwback to the home of the style, Pilsen in the Czech Republic, a part of the world which is also known for its gothic mythology and blood-thirsty vampires. While the use of traditional pilsner malts provides a classically light and clear appearance, it’s the distinct modern hoppy twist that ensures this is one pilsner that you can sink your fangs into. Lively lime and citrus aromas give way to flavours of citrus and pine, a subtle spiciness and solid hop bitterness. It’s remarkably well balanced, providing this sessional drop with a crisp, dry finish. When it comes to this cracker of a beer from Hop Nation …before wine, after wine, whatever, I’ll drink it anytime!