This full-flavoured yet balanced beer is the fourth iteration of 4 Pines’ Fresh In Season IPA but the first in cans.
4 Pines have been making their Fresh In Season IPA for a while now. At each hop harvest (both northern and southern hemisphere) they take the freshest hops they can get and pile them into the most appropriate style, an IPA.
So far, my personal favourite has been the third iteration, but this fourth is excellent. It’s also the first to be released in cans.
A Core Range IPA
The “fresh” in the name has been dropped and In Season IPA is now part of the 4 Pines core range.
One thing’s for sure, despite this being a “core range” beer, it’ll be released seasonally for the northern and southern hemisphere hop harvests. It’s likely that each release will be slightly different, such is the nature of agricultural products like hops.
For a while it’s felt like 4 Pines have been missing an IPA in their core lineup. It’s the style that has led the evolution of beer and with the North Shore brewers being trailblazers in the Australian scene, it seems odd that they wouldn’t have one.
It makes sense though. As they say on the can, these beers are best drunk fresh. With the production volume that 4 Pines can achieve, they wouldn’t want cans of this wonderfully hoppy beer sat on warm shelves deteriorating.
Instead, this is an excellent approach. It’s a beer that already has a great reputation and a loyal following. The anticipation will only grow as hop harvests approach. Through their packaging and their marketing, 4 Pines is emphasising the drink fresh approach to this beer. In time it might become Sydney’s quintessential IPA.
In Season IPA #4, canned at the end of April and released in May 2017, is intensely resinous. It’s sappy and assertively bitter, yet it retains a delicious balance between the character of the hops and the malt base.
It follows the northern hemisphere harvest and features a hop regime of Idaho #7, Columbus, Chinook and Crystal.
There’s tropical fruit juice and the bitter pith of mandarins underneath fresh green hop cones and biting citrus. Peach and apricot flavours float across the palate before tangy grapefruit slaps you in the face.
It finishes wonderfully dry which lures you back to quaff it down. It’s dangerously drinkable for 6.3% ABV. The mid-palate of sticky pine and a lingering fruity aftertaste will have you licking your lips. It ticks all the flavour profile boxes for a beer of the style, each is distinct yet integrated and balanced.
This may be the fourth version of this beer but it sets a high bar for future releases. Let the countdown to the next hop harvest begin.
From: Brookvale, NSW
Beer style: IPA
Hops: Columbus, Chinook, Idaho #7, Crystal
Malt: Ale, Wheat, Carapils, Munich Type II
Pair with: Battered prawns with sweet chilli glaze
Have you tried the 4 Pines In Season IPA #4? Leave a comment and share what you like about it.