I've already reviewed this year's IPA is dead series, but decided to try some beer mixing to add depth to the flavours, partially inspired by tasting Mikkeller's 19 hop IPA, made from a mixture of his single hop series.
Ever the scientist I tried each with each in order to work out the best and used a shot measure to ensure 50ml of each beer were used. Here's my notes (names abbreviated M= motueka, H=HBC, G=Galaxy, C=Challenger):
M+H: perfumed aroma, slight vegetal taste, soft carbonation and apricot finish
C+G: peppery Turkish delight and a hint of diesel on the nose. Caramel flavour with chalky texture and a sharp finish.
M+G: Turkish delight and satsuma on the nose, highly carbonated with pithy orange and finishing highly bitter.
M+C: Caramel and toffe plus lemon and plum on the nose. Opal fruits in the mouth with a fairly dry finish.
This was the best combination of the six.
C+H: Pine resin on the nose with peppery bitterness and orange marmalade in the finish.
Another great combination
H+G: Mango, bright carbonation, zingy palate with passion fruit in the finish.
I then went for three-way mixes
H+G+C: Less aroma on the nose with satsuma and a clean English bitterness in the finish.
H+G+M: Turkish delight with a bitter orange pith finish.
M+C+G: Satsuma, pear and grape on the nose, well carbonated with a messy finish. Shows that hopping has to be thought about in order to get something enjoyable, rather than just chucking in anything you feel like.
M+C+H: Toffee on the nose with marmalade body and bitter mango rind and brief drying finish inviting the next sip. Unsurprising that the best of the pairs produced an even better trio. Would much rather have a pint of this than any of the single beers.
All 4: Hoppy nose with mango skin, resin and mango rind in the finish. The bitterness is just too dominant over the malt profile.
Overall an interesting experiment. The blends are often better than the individual beers, and even in the dual-hopped beers the hops that I wasn't as keen on (HBC I'm looking at you) come into their own. I'm also now convinced that galaxy is not a good bittering hop, giving strange effects in most of the mixes it was used in.