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Rise of the hoppy red

July 20, 2017

The spectrum of red, hoppy beers currently proving popular with drinkers owe their origins to the convergence of two modern American craft beer styles.

The American amber or red ale was a twist on the American pale ale, with a more caramel malty flavour and a copper to amber hue, with low to moderate hop aroma.

The American IPA meanwhile was a US interpretation of India pale ale, higher in alcohol and bitterness, with hop aroma tending towards citrus, pine and tropical notes, courtesy of generous New World hop additions.

Recent years have seen the amber ale largely transformed by American drinkers’ obsession with aromatic hops, as American beer expert Randy Mosher recently reported in his book Tasting Beer.

Little Creatures Fire Falcon Hoppy Red

“Amber has really kind of faded away and turned into red, and red has become a pretty hoppy beer, often with the addition of rye and sometimes some palm sugar,” he told Radio Brews News recently.

“It’s interesting, what was once a foundational style for craft beer has mostly gone away or certainly transformed itself into a darker IPA or a red IPA.”

This shift may not have been quite so pronounced in Australia, but the lines have certainly become blurred between American amber, India red ale and red IPA.

Typically at the stronger, more bitter end of the spectrum are those beers actually labelled Red IPA, such as Modus Operandi Brewing Former Tenant.

At 7.8 per cent ABV, Former Tenant is more at home in the IPA category than American Style Red, as the genre is known in the Australian International Beer Awards.

New in this assortment of red and amber beers is the latest release from Little Creatures, Fire Falcon Hoppy Red.

One of Little Creatures’ 2017 Seasonal releases, which are limited run products for winter and summer, it has a lovely hop forward flavour that is perfect for the cooler months.

Little Creatures Fire Falcon Hoppy Red
Fire Falcon melds the caramel, raisin and nut characters contributed by six specialty malts with citrus and pine aromas courtesy of Falconers Flight and Centennial type hops.

Two Brothers Brewing Grizz
Grizz is a full-bodied amber ale showcasing fresh American hops from Yakima Valley, Washington that recently won gold at the 2017 Australian International Beer Awards.

Modus Operandi Brewing Former Tenant Red IPA
This multi-award winning beer is ruby red in colour, offering a complex blend of citrusy hops and savoury caramel malt flavour, followed by a slightly sweet finish.

Young Henrys Winter Hop Ale
This season’s India Red Ale combines warming biscuity and fruity malt flavours with a full hit of classic Aussie and American hop aroma.

Akasha Brewing Company Fire Within Amber Ale
A rich copper colour and caramel sweetness is balanced with floral and citrus notes from American hops.

Kaiju! Beer Hopped Out Red
The AIBA 2014 trophy winner for Best Amber/Dark Ale offers tropical, piney aromas layered over a complex biscuity-toffee malt profile.


3 Responses to Rise of the hoppy red

  1. Evan Evans on July 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I agree, Little Rivers is not too different to Morrisons in that the are both good brewers and they put tasty but balance beers on the market. Good pick in brewer Trina. The other to consider is Willie Simpson at Seven Sheds, particularly with his Kentish ale (a classic), his one time offsider Evan Hunter who is now Bruny Island Brewing is also brewing some good beers. And that is just to mention a couple of our Tassie craft brewers, there is certainly a few more to delight us.

  2. Evan Evans on July 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Why over hop the red ale, when by classic style the hops should be in balance with the malt flavours? In my view there is only a few really good red ales brewed in Australia and when they are good, they are really good and very sessionable. Possibly the best I have come across is the Irish Red by Morrisons, a small craft brewer in Launceston, Tasmania.

  3. Trina on July 20, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Tired of every beer style becoming a hop-covered beer with repetitious flavour? Try the old world styles of Three Rivers Brewing Co. to remember what a real red ale ought to taste like.

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