Call around. Dial Up. Facetime. Zoom. Whatever it is, however it’s done, share a one of these beers and get talking.

Origin – Armidale, New South Wales
ABV – 6.5%
Size – 375mL can
Style – New England IPA

Out drinking with mates until 4am, a Sydney firey had the inspiration to commandeered a Fire and Rescue tanker to take nine drinking buddies on a joy ride come to him when a fire engine roared past them on the walk home. Three times over the legal limit, the roaring-drunk fireman and his gleeful passengers crossed the harbour bridge, not once but twice with sirens on and the lights flashing - and a police car in hot pursuit! Similarly, a fire engine was also Sam Martin’s source of inspiration for founding the Great Hops Brewing Co.

Looking for a vehicle to make an entrance to the Melbourne Cup, he stumbled across an old vintage fire truck on eBay. Deciding he had to have it, two days later, Martin and a mate were ferrying their purchase from Hobart to Station Pier on the Spirit of Tasmania before driving it on to Flemington. With their grand entrance behind them, Martin had the vision to convert the truck into a tavern on the journey back to Sydney. Five years on, the 1975 Acco Pumper is now featured on every can and sits pride of place in the middle of his brewhouse - fitted out with four beer taps! Yet while the foundation of Great Hops revolves around a great story, it's the great beers that have established this Armidale brewery as one to watch. The young brewery took silver and three bronze medals at the Australian brewing industry's biggest event, BrewCon in 2019.

Martin credits the calibre of Great Hops beers, as its name would suggest, to the quality of the hops, which from the outset he has been growing on the 40-acre block adjacent to the brewery. They are hops used to full effect here to deliver a mashed-up fruit melange headlining juicy citrus, pineapple, stone fruit and a hint of pine. While the upfront flavours are everything, you'd expect from the style, unlike some more orange juice like Hazy’s, mashing at different temperatures serves up a solid but restrained NEIPA with a distinctively light and sweet aftertaste.

A perfect crossover for rural drinkers and capital city craft connoisseurs alike, one can of this, and you'll be forever saying 'fire truck you' to mass-produced lagers.