Epoch Fresh Hop IPA
Brewed by Ground Breaker Brewing
Ground Breaker decided to double up on their fresh hop offerings this year. They kicked off their fresh hop season with this Epoch IPA (pronounced “epic” IPA), which was released at the end of September. The traditional Gayle Fresh Hop IPA followed a couple weeks behind, hitting shelves in early October.
The Epoch IPA is hopped with fresh Strata hops grown at Gosche Farms in Silverton Oregon. This particular variety of hop is a collaborative development by Oregon State University and Indie Hops. It is described as having powerful herbal and tropical fruit aroma. The Strata hop profile took 7 years to develop, and I can’t wait to see how it tastes.
Apparently Ground Breaker didn’t want to choose between an exciting new tropical fruit hop, and a well-loved classic forest hop–so they decided to brew both! They also brewed an “Estate” Fresh Hop Blonde Ale for their Gluten Free Fresh Hop Festival at the end of September.
The Taste Test
Strata Hopped Epoch IPA
The Epoch IPA poured a beautiful crystal clear amber color. I detect a very unique spiced earth characteristic in the aroma of the Epoch IPA. It smells to me a bit like fresh edible flowers taste, when you throw them on a salad or eat them as a garnish. (As you may recall, I don’t have the best sense of smell when it comes to flowers, hence my connection to the taste. haha) The tropical fruit notes are prominent as well, as would be expected with the Strata hops.
This fresh hop IPA does in fact, taste very different from the Gayle. The fruitiness really comes through in the taste for me. But it’s not fruity in a sweet way. It’s fruity in a sharp and bitter way. It’s texture is very crisp and clean. The bitterness lingers long after the sip. It’s strong and consistent, yet not overwhelming. As you move through the tasting experience, the fruit fades away but the bitterness does not.
That stubborn bitterness leaves your mouth feeling…what’s the word I’m looking for…fresh? The way that mint does. It’s both a taste and a texture really.
My friend Barb stopped by while I was reviewing this beer, so I gave her a taste and asked her what she thought. She said it’s aroma was super fruity, and the taste was smooth and tangy. Then she told me it was delicious and if I didn’t take it away from her, she would drink it all. Needless to say, I snatched it back right away…Haha
If IPAs aren’t your thing and you happen to be within visiting distance of Ground Breaker Brewery, check in with them to see if they put any of that “Estate” Fresh Hop Blonde on draft in their taproom. Maybe you’ll get lucky and get the chance to try their lighter experimental.
The Epoch IPA is available in 22 ounce bottles and should already be on the shelves where you buy your Ground Breaker beer. If it’s not, be sure to ask for it! This is an experimental that no IPA lover should miss. Let us know what you think of it!