It’s the tail end of summer. Even sunny days are cooler, no-one’s been seen swimming off the waterfront for yonks now, and no-one’s even pretending to be interested in the cricket any more. So it’s probably the last chance I have to have a look at this one, a wheat beer (of sorts) from 8 wired.
As part of a new and improved system I’m trying to get in place here (as opposed to the old and inferior muck I’ve been doing up to now) I’ll be keeping this short and sweet which is probably a shame because someone who knows more than I could probably have a good time explaining what this one really is. From the label:
“Although this beer is made from 50% wheat, it is no Hefeweizen or Belgian Wit. It is too hoppy and the yeast is not funky enough. In fact I struggle to categorise it into one of the booths defined by beer style guidelines…I suppose it could be called a hoppy American Pale Ale, brewed with a huge whack of wheat and fermented with an English yeast…”
The honesty is refreshing, and a real change from labels that oversell the product. I don’t quite know what to make of it but I’d like to think 8 wired’s reputation is strong enough that they can afford to treat the consumer with enough respect to say that this may not be authentic in terms of style, but you’ll like it anyway, trust us.
It looks good. It pours a clear golden/amber colour with a foamy white, rocky head that hangs around for some time and leaves good lacing. It smells good too, a delicate citrus and passionfruit aroma, more orange peel than lemon. In terms of flavour there’s a wheatiness about this, but there’s also something zesty, something vaguely fruity and possibly some spice as well. It’s also satisfyingly full, rich and smooth in the mouth. Fair to say there’s a bit more intensity on the back end than up front with a really lovely long, dry finish. If it’s frustrating for the brewer to categorise, it’s also frustrating for a newbie hack to review as there are hints of things that are gone before you can pin down what they were. It’s not Belgiany complex but there’s more going on than I expected. Even so, it remains rounded and though pretty hoppy that certainly doesn’t bury all the other flavours. It’s very, very nice.
Once again I’ve written myself into a corner here. Wheat beers are probably suited to a kind of summery pop music kind of thing but as I hope to prove once we hit winter and I can get stuck into things a more dark and heavy, the light stuff ain’t my scene. Still, to go with a beer that doesn’t quite seem to know what it’s about (according to the label, at least), I was rummaging through the itunes and stumbled on The Cardigans doing this and that seemed to click. It’s off their breakthrough album First Band on the Moon, the same album as that other song of their everyone knows and it’s all perfect happy pop but there’s something lurking underneath that probably made the A&R guys nervous but definitely made it more interesting and therefore worthwhile. I can’t claim to have listened to all of this one though but I’m gonna roll with in anyway since time is short, but if anyone has any better matches, please write to me at sowherewasthatwhenineededit.com.
In a nutshell, if you’re the type to get hung up on style you may find something horribly, horribly wrong with this one. I wouldn’t know. Every gig you go to you know there’s always one lonesome, sweaty neckbeard up the back going “yah, whatever, I would just like, die if I have to explain the difference between slowcore and sadcore to these mouthbreathers again.” No, I don’t know either and I don’t care. I’m not ready to be that guy just yet. I say this is a good beer. Go drink it.
Style: Wheat Beer
Brewed by: Renaissance Brewing for 8 wired Brewing Co., Blenheim, NZ.
Price: $8.20/500ml bottle
Purchased from: Thorndon New World
Verdict: Like all 8 wired beers in my experience this is a fine, fine brew, though given the price and strength you may want something a bit more adventurous from the range. Since it’s not especially representative of style, a little difficult recommending this for any particular purpose but still a very refreshing and very high quality beer. As you’d expect, of course, from this lot.
Score: Gets +6 for honesty on the label and for plowing ahead with a brew that I’m guessing didn’t quite turn out as planned. 74/100.