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Devil's Fork Old School IPA Launch

No self-respecting devil is complete without his fork.

So this month, we're leading those forsaking Dry July into temptation with our latest release, Devil's Fork, a 6.4% Old School IPA, which is a bit of a collaborative riff between Kelly and Bill Covaleski (founder and brewmaster of Victory Brewing in Philadelphia) on Victory's well-loved and highly renowned, HopDevil IPA. 

Via the international brewers' party line, Kelly was tipped off that Bill was heading to NZ and had been recommended to drop into the Craft Beer Capital, check out NZ Hops and catch up with our very own Kel.

German-trained Bill developed Victory and its beers on a brewing process, which uses whole flower/cone hops, a defining characteristic of his great beers.

The process utilises a vessel (made in Germany), purpose-built to act as a giant hopback - in essence, a hop strainer into which you can cram piles of flower hops, and then run hot, boiled wort through to maximise hop aroma and flavour with minimum contact time.

So when Bill popped by, it was only natural for Kelly to have a quiet moment of fangirling.

"His Prima Pils is still one of my favourite Pilsners ever and his all flower hopped HopDevil IPA is a cracker. Don't even get me started on the Storm King Imperial Stout or the Golden Monkey Tripel! These brews have won multiple awards, and for a reason!" he says.

Bill and Kel immediately began plotting a plan to get a brew in on his brief visit, and Bill's first idea stuck. Why not reinterpret his HopDevil IPA, an all-American hopped brew but use all New Zealand malts and hops instead?

"Sounded good to me," says Kelly, as he sprouted a pair of horns, and his eyes took on a menacing red glow.

"Not only would I not have to question him in a roundabout way to attempt industrial espionage by finding out the secrets to his great recipes, he would actually just share the info with me and I'd be able to spend a few days hanging out and quizzing an industry legend!" <Insert maniacal laughter here.>

Ahem. Espionage aside….

Bill's HopDevil uses a heavy Vienna Malt base, accompanied by Pilsner and crystal/caramel malts. It is darker and richer in malt than a lot of the modern US IPAs and unusual in that it isn't dry-hopped, yet relies on the hopback infusion to give all of the aromatic character to the brew. Kelly went for a blend of Gladfield and Malteurop malts to emulate Bill's grist and get a similar colour to the original.

"Fork uses hop pellets in the brewery, so the next challenge was figuring out how to use flower hops when my kettle wasn’t designed for their use," says Kelly.

"One option would have been to use the mash tun as a hopback, however, because of the manual unloading of this vessel, there was a distinct possibility that it couldn't be emptied and cleaned in time!

"With Game of Cones, my fresh hop Hopstock beer, I'd bought some big mesh bags, so these were used as a replacement hopback.

“At the end of the boil a decent whack of New Zealand Chinook, New Zealand Cascade and Waiiti flower hops were immersed in the boiled wort and left to infuse. Huge notes of violet flowers, lychee, cut grass, lime zest and pine needles filled the brewery. It was awesome."

The resultant 6.4% IPA is wonderfully subtle on the nose, yet complex with beautiful floral notes intertwined with deep malt richness.

"I'm excited to see how this goes on our hand pulls, as well! It’s the perfect opportunity to do some cask conditioning, I reckon,” he says.

"As strange as it sounds, taking a Kiwi and an American brewer and creating this beer with all NZ hops and malt has resulted in something that is as close to an English IPA that I've made in a long time."

So for those who choose to remain a bit wanton during Dry July, pop in next Wednesday when we unleash HopDevil's wayward imp, our Devil's Fork Old School IPA.

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Food pairings - Kel Recommends… 

You try a pint of Devil's Fork with Fork & Brewer's sticky BBQ Pork Spare Ribs, our Boil Up pizza with Pork Belly and Watercress or the Beef Pie. 

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