Our team of writers share some of their favourite drops from the past few weeks.
I couldn’t resist the Facebook dvertisement promoting a dozen 500ml bottles of Croucher Pilsner for $57 – thanks to a labelling mistake. Six or seven years ago, Croucher was an industry leader with their New Zealand-hopped pilsner but after standing still for a little while they’ve tweaked the recipe and the latest batch is tasting spot on. Hoppy, with a subtle orange-citrus tang, and a refreshingly clean profile this remains one of New Zealand’s best Kiwi-style pilsners.
It’s been around since 2011, but I come back to VPA when I’m looking for a big and beefy pale ale with some spice and citrus fruit flavours. It also looks good in the glass: orange-red with a fluffy white head that leaves a lace. There are some herbal and spice aromatics and the taste is not overly bitter. Overall VPA is balanced and dangerously quaffable for 7.5%.
2017 saw a rather fraught fresh hop season. Appallingly wet conditions around harvest time caused many deliveries to arrive at breweries mouldy and un-usable. But plenty of releases still made it out, and this pale from McLeod’s brewery in Waipu is one of the more interesting to arrive in bottle. Maybe indicative of the damp harvest, this one (like many other fresh hop releases this year) is more pungent and vegetable than vibrant and fruity. Ripe lychee, wet cut grass and fresh green peas on the nose, with more typical tropical flavours on the palate.
– Timothy Newman
Three years in the making, the darks secrets of the barrel working its black magic on a huge imperial stout, Bumaye is a 16 per cent knock-out beer. Complex layers feature chocolate, stewed fruits, a savoury note that resembles sweet soy sauce and comes dangerously close to tasting like liquid Marmite, some tannins, vanilla, and a concentrated spiciness with echoes of cinnamon or allspice.
The other week, I grabbed a Mixed-Six of the Emerson’s range – and while each of the beers were excellent, it was Richard’s original that blew the socks clear off my feet. London Porter is, quite simply, perfect; it punches well above its 5% weight, with a voluptuous, silky mouthfeel reminiscent of a big robust porter or oatmeal stout. Best enjoyed in bracing weather at Dunedin’s Albar, preferably from the handpump.