Then we move onto the terrifying ancient monsters including mummies, Frankenstein and Allan Hubbard.  Finally, there are essentially the joke creatures, namely Snakes on a Plane, The Blob, gremlins and Ants on a Plane. [1] Ghosts were not considered because of “that scene” in the 1990 film “Ghost.”

So, zombies rank somewhere in the middle of the monster hierarchy.  On the upside, they are pretty scary looking, tend to kill people in quite gruesome ways, have a good sense of smell and don’t require water. 

Conversely, they are not overly smart, their slow lurching gait makes them easy targets, they rarely use weapons or tools themselves and their lifestyle is ultimately unsustainable because, if successful, they just end up eating all the people and then each other.  The ultimate result of the successful zombie civilisation would be one really fat zombie. [2]

That has not stopped the cheeky chaps at Epic Brewing Company naming their latest beer Hop Zombie.  It’s a hugely hopped Double IPA, 80 International Bitterness Units and an 8.5% quaffer. [3]

Only patchy tasting notes are currently available but the comments include “a big ripe passionfruit nose with lychee and possibly lime”, “amazing balance”, “there’s tropical fruit all over and then your tongue is wrung out with bitterness followed by shockwaves of citrus”, “no angry alcohol”, “generous and memorable” and “defies its 8.5% tag.”

That said, Darryl Sweeney did tweet that Epic brewer Kelly Ryan had one sip of Hop Zombie and then tried talk about the beer’s “Sop Hecrets.”

Unsurprisingly there is an Epic Hop Zombie website and Hop Zombie twitter account.  Here is the very funny blurb from the website:

Hops have taken over the world.  Permeated the senses of the minions.  Hop Zombies now roam the streets.  Lupulin ichor oozing from ravaged legions.  Gorging, gouging, masticating.[4]  Salivating over insane hop flavours and aromas.  The time is nigh.  No more festering away in hopless oblivion.  Join the Hop Zombie Revolution.

A brilliant piece of writing – I had nothing to do with it – with the literary highlights being oozing lupulin ichor and hopless oblivion.  However, I probably laughed most at the tweet “if you put two hop flowers together, they look like a hoppy brain!  Mmmmmm, hoppy brains!”
Now, there is the obvious question of where the name came from.  I asked the Impish Brewer Luke Nicholas who replied simply “you.”  Certainly, the term was used by the New Zealand contingent at the Green Flash brewery (San Diego) to describe the glazed ecstatic expression that a truly hoppy beer can create.  It was one of a number of hop related puns generated by our group but I’m happy to accept the honour. 

If true, that makes Hop Zombie the second Epic Beer I have named.  The first was Armageddon.  I was running a tasting with Luke and he was talking about needing to find a name for his new beer.  He said “I need a bigger name.  What’s bigger than Mayhem?” and I quickly replied “Armageddon – it’s bigger than pretty much anything!”  A month later, the name appeared on the bottle.  Three years later, the first royalty cheque is yet to arrive.

During the course of researching this blog post, I came across a story I had never heard before.  Luke revealed he really struggled with the name for the beer which eventually became Mayhem.  Frustrated, he was heading down the absurdist path and was seriously intending to call it “Epic Google Cletus”.  This would be one of the worst names in beer history since Santa’s Butt Porter, Reeb [5] and Watney’s Red Barrel.

Hop Zombie is launched in Wellington on Thursday 12 May from 4pm to 3am with Luke and Kelly in attendance.  At the time of writing, air guitars remain banned.

[1] This was seriously the original title of “Swarm” – a low-budget ‘horror’ starring nobody of any acting significance being terrorised by some rather ordinary looking ants on an unconvincing plane set.  It was made for television a year after “Snakes on a Plane” incredibly made over $60 million on the back of one line from Samuel L Jackson.
[2] The closest modern example would be Sepp Blatter.
[3] My sources indicate it is dangerously drinkable – at least, I think that’s what their messages meant.
[4] Calm down – it means chewing.
[5] It is simply beer spelt backwards – lazy!


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


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