Limited release beers have always been a big part of who we are. Last year we decided to do a monthly major limited release into bars and bottleshops and in 2020 we kept that tradition going. In 2021 we aren’t going to be doing it this way so in this post we thought we’d celebrate the 12 beers in our final year of doing monthly major limited releases.
What goes into choosing our monthly limited release beers?
We often get asked how we go about choosing these monthly limited release beers. Some of them started out as our very first handful of pilot brews back before we even had a brewery – Code Red for example. Some came about through partnerships with other companies, like Caribbean Haze. Others, such as North and South Coast IPA’s, we ran with based on their success at earlier limited taproom runs. And Neverland Grapefruit Hazy IIPA and Mega Hornet Triple IPA were originally two of our most popular staff anniversary beers – cheers Jesse and Toshi!
At the end of the day it’s about choosing beer styles we think we can do well and are what the punters want.
Counting ’em down..
In the spirit of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, here’s a wrap up of the 12 Months of Black Hops Limited Release Beers for 2020.
January: Caribbean Crusher (Hazy IPA)
Caribbean Crusher was the beer that inspired our 2019 GABS Festival beer (Caribbean Haze) and has always had a strong following, so we brought it back for our first limited release of 2020.
This 6.5% hazy American IPA is the single version of the Haze and is spiced with citrus, pineapple, mango and coconut-infused Mt Gay Black Barrel Rum to give this already aromatic beer a fresh Caribbean twist.
February: Cali Love (West Coast IPA)
Originally inspired by our founders’ trip to the USA, California Love West Coast IPA was one of our most popular releases of 2019, so we brought it back for our February Limited Release Beer.
In the current sea of sweet hazy’s, Cali Love calls back to the style that pioneered the craft beer boom. At 7.2% and bursting with aroma of citrus fruits and pine, Cali Love offers a full malt body, dry finish and firm bitterness to allow the classic West Coast hop flavours to take centre stage.
March: Code Red (American Red Ale)
Code Red used to be one of our 4 seasonal IPA’s, it’s how everyone working at Black Hops knew that it was Autumn. This year we ran with it as our March monthly limited release, to once again bring in the change of season. It was one of the very first ever beers we made back before we had a brewery and is a big favourite among our keenest supporters.
A 6.2% classic American Red Ale, boasting a rich toffee malt body and a luscious ruby colour with minimal yeast character, providing a clean finish and allowing the Simcoe, Citra and Mosaic hops to shine through.
April: G.O.A.T. (Hazy IPA)
G.O.A.T. – brewed with high expectations and named accordingly, was one of our big success stories of 2020. It was first brewed as a small batch beer, specifically for the 2018 AIBA Awards, taking out a Gold Medal and becoming a favourite among Black Hops drinkers. Following on from its run as our April limited release, it was swiftly added to our Core range and is now our flagship beer for the GABS Hottest 100 beers of the year.
This juice bomb features the signature opaque appearance of the style, paired with an explosion of tropical fruit flavours thanks to the generous late addition of Mosaic, Amarillo and El Dorado hops.
May: North and South Coast IPA’s
In early 2020 for a Black Hops taproom event, we tasked the brew crews from Burleigh HQ and BHII with creating a unique IPA to represent the Northern and the Southern hemispheres. After a successful limited run outing, we brought back both beers for our May limited release, in a unique split 16 pack featuring 8 North Coast IPA’s and 8 South Coast IPA’s.
Originally coming out of Burleigh HQ, the South Coast IPA is an Australian/NZ style IPA, featuring a punchy paw paw and mango aroma thanks to the generous hop additions of Nelson Sauvin, Vic Secret, Taiheke and Waimea. Lighter in colour than its U.S. counterpart the North Coast IPA, South Coast comes in at a well hidden 6.8% and is rounded out with a crisp, uniquely dry finish.
Meanwhile, North Coast IPA is an all American IPA featuring a bouquet of tropical fruits from mango to berry, grapefruit and citrus. Darker in colour than its southern counterpart thanks to some dark and light crystal malt, North Coast presents a fuller malt body and a lingering caramel sweetness. The heavy dry hop addition of Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic and Idaho7 make this rich tropical and piney Big Yank of an IPA, a worthy contender in the North vs South battle.
June: Moondancer (Hazy IPA)
A 7% Hazy IPA loaded with juicy Samba, Strata and Sabro hops, Moondancer not only proved to be a very popular beer but was also recognised at the inaugural GABS Can Design Awards, where it finished seventh, with over 120 breweries entering.
For this can the designer, Troy, created a new character (now affectionately dubbed ‘Hop Man’) dancing around a campfire under a full moon. Apparently, the design was so popular it’s inspired more than a few Hop Man tattoos and fireside beers!
Well, it’s a marvellous night for a moondance, an IPA with the sophisticated melody of Samba, Sabro and Strata hops. Harmonious aromas of juicy tropical fruits, coconut, candy and orange tangerine whisper and shine like smooth jazz soul.
The velvet malt body calls out with the rhythm & blues that only un-malted barley, wheat and oats can provide. Best enjoyed in the night’s magic or a lazy afternoon.
July: Mega Hornet (Triple IPA) & Black Hawk (Imperial Stout)
July saw us drop a double payload of limited release flavour bombs, with our Mega Hornet Triple IPA and Black Hawk Imperial Stout.
Mega Hornet Triple IPA: This beer was originally created by our head brewer, Toshi, for his one year anniversary beer. The biggest IPA in our range, it makes Super Hornet feel like a session ale. Don’t be fooled by the tropical aromas from the U.S. hops Columbus, Citra, Simcoe and Strata, at 11% ABV, the Mega Hornet is for experienced pilots only.
Black Hawk Imperial Stout: An intense 8.5% stout with big, complex flavours and a warming finish. Bittersweet roasted malts with notes of dark fruit, chocolate and black coffee. Strong, yet precisely delicious.
August: Caribbean Haze (Hazy IIPA)
Caribbean Haze is the only one of our limited release beers to make it into the GABS Hottest 100, coming in at 86 last year! So this year we brought it back as our August monthly limited release.
Caribbean Haze is a 7.8% Fruit & Rum-Soaked Hazy IIPA originally brewed in collaboration with Mount Gay Rum for the 2019 Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS). This Caribbean-inspired hazy Double American IPA is spiced with citrus, pineapple, mango and coconut-infused Mt Gay Black Barrel Rum, to give this already aromatic style a fresh Caribbean twist.
September: Flash Bang (American Wheat IPA)
Our September limited release saw us welcome Spring with the return of one of our original favourite IPA’s, Flash Bang.
Flash Bang is a 6.8% American Wheat IPA that mixes up the hop-character and brewing techniques of an India Pale Ale with the wheat base and spice additions of the refreshing Belgian Witbier. It’s light bodied with big citrus and pine aromas and a smooth finish.
October: Neverland (Grapefruit Hazy IIPA)
Our October Limited Release saw the speedy return of one our most popular staff anniversary beers, Jesse’s Neverland Grapefruit Hazy IIPA, this time available in an expanded monthly run across venues and bottle shops as well as the Black Hops Taprooms. It was right up there as one of our most popular limited release beers of 2020.
Malty blonde with a refreshing grapefruit zest, here’s what goes into it:
Malt: Barley, Wheat, Oats
Hops: Citra, Amarillo, Taiheke, Apollo
Yeast: London Fog Ale
Aromatics: Grapefruit Hop Resin
Come with me, to that place between sleep and awake,
where dreams are born and time is never planned.
Just think of hoppy things, and your senses will fly to a far away land,
forever, in the Never Never.
November: Troposphere (Strata & Galaxy Hopped IPA)
Our November Limited Release marked the much anticipated return of Troposphere, our 6.9% Galaxy & Strata hopped IPA. This beer was a big crowd favourite last year, so we brewed it again for your drinking pleasure.
This beer is destined for the stars, rocketing into orbit with an astronomical aroma of citrus, berries, passionfruit and pineapple from the multiple additions of fresh Galaxy & Strata hops and balanced with a soft malt re-entry, and a clean, dry landing. Troposphere is the ultimate Interplanetary Pale Ale.
December: East Coast Low (Hazy Pale Ale)
Our final Limited Monthly Release for 2020 saw us unveil a sessionable 4.5% Hazy Pale Ale which we called East Coast Low. It was originally brewed for the Crafted Festival in September and although the festival was postponed until the end of November we went ahead with the release and it was a hit with the brewers and customers alike.
Inspired by the low-pressure weather pattern which sits off our coast creating most of the quintessential big swells that hit our shores. East Coast Low is a wonderfully smooth Hazy Pale Ale, coming in at a sessionable 4.5%. Freshly hopped with Mosaic, Amarillo and HPA-016, an experimental new hop, bringing juicy flavours and aromas of stone fruit and citrus.
We’d like to think that we were able to cover off the styles of beer that most people wanted from us. If you’d like us to bring any back for 2021, hit us up on social media and let us know!