Epic Hop Zombie has won the Countdown Alcoholic Beverages Award at the New Zealand Food Awards 2017.
The New Zealand Food Awards are a highlight on the industry calendar and showcase the best of the best amongst New Zealand’s food and beverage industry.
Winning products earn the New Zealand Food Awards “Quality Mark” to highlight the superiority of their products to both shoppers and industry, plus achieving national and international recognition.
On winning the award, Epic Brewing Company owner Luke Nicholas said “it is fantastic to get industry recognition beyond just the beer and brewing industry. Hop Zombie has been such a huge success for us since it was launched as New Zealand’s first double IPA back in 2011”
Nicholas says “demand for Hop Zombie grows year on year. With its cult following it took four years to be able to secure enough hops to be able to keep up with demand and supply it all year round, and then to start looking at export markets”.
This latest accolade for Epic Hop Zombie joins a list remarkable acknowledgments for the beer in the last year.
In China, it was ranked #8 best craft beer in China, with Epic Lupulingus IIPA at #10.
Hop Zombie has become Epic Brewing Company’s most successful export, with it being the number one beer exported to China, which is Epic’s largest export market.
In the USA Epic Hop Zombie was ranked #10 in the top 10 imported beers in the US in Zymurgy magazine.
Epic Hop Zombie is a Double IPA at 8.5% alc/vol which is a strong version of an IPA. It uses NZ and US grown hop varieties and a blend of English and German grown pale malts. This combination of malts and hops produce a beer with a pale golden colour, a huge tropical fruit aroma, with passionfruit, mango and citrus flavours.
Epic Hop Zombie has recently been ranged nationwide at Countdown supermarkets.
When two greats come together, inevitably you end up with something even greater.
Malt and hops.
Pizza and beer.
Bacon and eggs.
Peas and corn.
Ninjas and Turtles.
David Cryer and Luke Nicholas.
The beer that we’ll be launching for the 2017 Brewers Guild Beer Awards is the super-charged tasty brain-child of two legends of New Zealand’s craft beer industry. I had the pleasure of interviewing David Cryer of Cryermalt and Luke about this beer to get an idea of what we can expect from this beer – the result of a union of expertise and passion for things that taste AWESOME.
DAVID CRYER, THE MARQUIS OF MALT
Can you tell me about the history of Epic and Cryermalt working together? I met Luke when he first started at Steam back in 1997. He quickly became head brewer at Steam where he developed the EPIC Pale Ale. We were supplying malt to Steam at the time and then continued to supply Epic when it separated away.
How long have you guys been wanting to create a beer together? The first time in 1999 I travelled with Luke to Phoenix for the Craft Brewers Conference, we shared a room during this trip and this is when Luke got to experience my love for comic books. I used to keep sneaking out of the room to comic book shops to bring them back and had a huge long box in the room – just full of comics I had purchased for my collection.
This will be a first edition beer to go towards my comic beer collection
What’s the significance of the ingredients that you have brought to the brew? Can you tell me a bit about the product (malts vs hops)? Low Colour Maris Otter with the low Kilning profile will allow the new hop variety Luke has sourced to show its qualities in the best possible light. Maris Otter has been around since 1966 as a variety which is probably a record in terms of a variety being available and the fact it is innovating in 2017 testifies to the strength of this king of malt varieties.
What flavours will these products bring to the beer? Maris Otter has been a signature malt flavour that has contributed to Epic’s flavour profile for many years now. Using the Low Colour Maris Otter for the first time the lower kilning profile the renowned malty biscuity flavour of Maris Otter will be in the background blending in with the hops. The lower kilning will mean less colour contribution from the malt which will lead to a lower colour finish in the beer and create an attractive hue to the final product.
What does the name “CRYONMAN” mean? The meaning behind Cryonman is one for Luke to answer. I was not present during the naming!*
If you could have a superpower, apart from the ones you already have, what would it be? Superpower – ability to change water into beer (or is that too blasphemous?)! Not so much a superpower, but the ability to build a super suit that gets me to a meeting with Robert Downy Jnr and also to all the brewing/beer events. But let me not forget I would be wearing an iron VEST!
LUKE NICHOLAS, THE KING OF HOPS
Can you tell me about the history of Epic and Cryermalt working together? When I started as assistant brewer at the Cock & Bull they were buying Aussie and some UK malt from Cryer Malt. Over the years I have brewed with any malt I can get my hands on to see how it performs, and if it makes my beer taste better. It just so happens the Cryer Malt provides a range of some of the best malts available from around the world. Therefore I have been buying malt from David for the last 20 years. Starting 1997.
How long have you guys been wanting to create a beer together? We have talked off and on for a few years about making a beer together, as we like to joke Cryer Malt has been collaborating with Epic for years. There have been times where our forecasts have fallen short or times where Cryer Malt have sold out of malts that we use, and we have been forced to substitute one malt for another. Sometimes when we have to make malt changes, it works out to make the beer even better. So we thought with the release of this new malt we could work on something together which we actually plan.
What’s the significance of the ingredients that you have brought to the brew? Can you tell me a bit about the product (malts vs hops)? Malt: light colour, like pilsner malt, but will have that wonderful Maris Otter ale malt character Hops: aggressively resinous, green, punchy. The malt will be the perfect light canvas to highlight these hops.
What flavours will these products bring to the beer? The Low Colour Maris Otter, will bring a colour like a lager or a pilsner but will have that luscious delicious English Ale malt character, which will set up the beer to showcase this new mega-hop from Yakima. HBC 682 is still part of the trial program but brewers that have brewed with it are raving about it. While In Yakima recently I was talking with the growers and they are all really excited about it as it is a great hop to grow and pick, giving wonderful yields as well as chart-topping alpha acids.
Out of the box, HBC682 smells like having your head too close to the baling machine and it accidentally getting compressed and baled. There’s a huge resiny intenseness.
What does the name “CRYONMAN” mean? CRYONMAN is a play on Cryer Malt and David’s love of comics. That one time we roomed together in Phoenix AZ, for CBC 1999, David spent all his spare time buying comics.
How did you enjoy coming up with the name CRYONMAN? We got together with the team from Cryer Malt, had a BBQ, a few beers and a bit of a brainstorming session. You are always more creative after a couple of beers. We felt that the core of this beer was the malt, and we wanted to highlight something special, yet for many unknown about David, which was his love of comics.
If you could have a superpower, apart from the ones you already have, what would it be? Hmmm… To turn any beer into an IPA, maybe? Or at least to be able to miraculously give a beer more hops, ’cause we all NEED… MORE… HOPS… right?
*Author’s note: David was present at the start of the beer naming process. He soon discovered that coming up with the name of a beer with Luke is quite an arduous process. David wisely left it up to the experts. The reason for David’s departure may have been captured in this tweet: