Our team of writers share some of their favourite drops from the past few weeks.
It brings back memories of California. Tailfin is an American IPA from Auckland-based contract brewery Bach Brewing. It’s hopped with all American varietals – Mosaic, Zythos and Simcoe, which give it a medley of fruit-bowl aromas and flavours – peaches, passionfruit and pineapple.
It’s the kind of super-juicy and not too bitter IPA that reminds me of drinking fresh IPAs on the West Coast of America. And makes me really, really want to get back there.
– Dylan Jauslin
I didn’t think it could be done, figured coffee and hops would be too much bitter on bitter and cause a tannic meltdown in my mouth. But Good George are clever, you know, and the coffee they’ve used is light – perhaps cold pressed? – and redolent of citrus and blackcurrant.
It dances nicely with the hops and both are showcased at their best. Perfect food beer.
– Michael Donaldson
KERERU KARENGOSE (4 %)
Kererū Karengose. For me, it was the feel-good hit of the summer, but I’m still having it now that the cooler weather is finally biting. It’s just so breezily satisfying and so charmingly interesting. If it’s on tap at work, I never tire of introducing people to it: “…hmm? Oh that? Well ‘gose’ is a wheat beer style, yeah, but not what you might guess, kinda tart, slightly salty even, really refreshing… What’s the other bit of the name? Well ‘Karengo’ is a seaweed and yeah, it’s in there and, um – oh never mind, here just try it; I’ll never do it justice”.
– Phil Cook
During the past couple of months I’ve tried beers that taste like peanut brittle candy, cherry ripe chocolate, alcoholic marmalade, vinegar, more vinegar, and jam donuts.
And while many of those weird and wonderful beers have tasted… interesting, I’d be unlikely to order any of them again.
But it’s among those super sweet and terribly strong festival brews that I first came across a rather delicious drop – and one that’s interesting in its own right.
Halfway to Whangarei, a collaboration between Warkworth’s 8 Wired brewery and Modern Times from San Diego, is inspired by the coal miners’ beer choice of the 1800s – the Grisette. Smelling of Belgian yeast, brown sugar and lemon, the beer tastes like citrus and farmhouse yeast with a tart, dry, dirty finish. It’s light, refreshing, slightly sour yet earthy, with a touch of sweetness from the funky yeast. And oh so moorish. I’ve enjoyed the beer several times in the weeks since my first festival taste – and at 5.5% it’s one I’ll definitely be drinking again.
– Louise Gale
I was at the Emerson’s brewery opening and this was my beer of choice through the evening.
Bird Dog… I remember buying the Verlaines’ album Bird Dog, with the title track that features the line
“I love this imported German beer, they know how to make it over there”. Well, they know how to make it in Dunedin – and it’s as far from Germany as you can get.
NZ and American hops, smooth, angling towards sweet over bitter, grassy resinous and benefitting from the addition of whirlpool hopping in the new brewery.
– Michael Donaldson
Mac’s has been kicking Monteith’s and Boundary Road’s backsides in the “macro craft” category for some time and reinforced its position as King of That Hill with the release of a tasty pale ale (Three Wolves) and IPA (Green Beret).
Birthday Suit continues the trend, avoiding the cloying sweetness of the Monteith’s Brewer’s Series IPAs, and the alcohol burn and harsh bitterness of Boundary Road’s Stolen Base. It doesn’t have the flavour or aroma punch of Epic Hop Zombie and Liberty C!tra – possibly due to the extreme filtering – but is dangerously drinkable for its strength.
– Jono Galuszka
If Emilia Clarke is flying a dragon at the far end of the lounge, that’s the signal to pop the top on a Gulden Draak. This Belgium version of a barley wine is far and away the best barley wine I’ve had (repeatedly over a period of years). Indeed, in 1998 the American Tasting Institute called it the best tasting beer in the world. Now there are many brews I’ve yet to try, and sometimes mood (and driving obligations) will dictate a lighter style.
When the Southern night is dark and echoes to the sound of distant tyre screeches, this 10.5% import from Brouwerij Van Steenberge takes some beating. You know nothing John Snow.
– Amanda Nally
I first tried Bacchus’ Peanut Brittle Gose at GABS in Melbourne. At first whiff, it smells exactly like peanut brittle. Not like beer with a vague note of peanuts amongst normal beer aromas – but like your grandmother just stuck a tin of fresh homemade brittle under your nose.
It’s confronting and bewildering and leaves you burning with curiosity. It’s one thing to get a strange aroma into a beer, but will it carry across to flavour? You take that first tentative sip and then – BAM – you’re slapped across the face with the salty sweetness of peanut brittle. You keep going, head cocked like a confused puppy, trying to figure out how they got those flavours into beer. It’s certainly not for everyone, but if the phrase ‘peanut brittle gose’ makes you feel anything other than disgust, it’s worth a try.
I’m just sad the ice cream truck had already closed at GABS Auckland when I had my second glass, because this would make one hell of a float.
– Jessica Ducey