#36 – Wigram Czar

Because there is a time and a place for everything, apparently.

Name: Wigram Czar
Style: Imperial Russian Stout*
Brewer: Wigram Brewing co. (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Alc: 8.5% abv.
Price: $9/500ml bottle at Thorndon New World

It has been mentioned that I should stop treating this blog like a red headed stepchild and actually pay some attention to it, which I had every intention of doing yesterday until circumstances conspired against me. No, you don’t need to know. Thankfully I did get the most important job done which was to sample, and savour, the Wigram Czar Imperial Russian Stout and though the pedants might point out that it is actually Friday, and has been for some considerable time now, this beer was a perfect candidate for Redemption Thursday. Continue reading

#32 – Stoke Bomber Smoky Ale

Good, but probably not good enough.

Name: McCashin Family Original Stoke Bomber Smoky Ale
Style: Smoked Ale
Brewed by: McCashin Family brewery (Nelson, New Zealand)
Alc: 5.7% abv.
Price: $10/650ml bottle @ Thorndon New World.

Today’s review is brought to you by the letters ™.

Lots of baggage with this beer. Following on from the kerfuffle caused when Montieths trademarked the term ‘radler’ (which I ranted about in review #12), earlier this year Stoke decided to do the same to, er, protect the term ‘bomber’ in reference to their 650ml bottle size. It’s bad enough when DB does this sort of thing, but when it’s one of your own, as McCashin’s or Stoke (whatever they want to call themselves) were considered to be, it’s been a bitter pill for many to swallow. But are they really still one of the good guys? Continue reading

Review #24 – Taieri George

It looks a bit better than this, really. And tastes far better.Hot Cross Bun Ale

Hi, I’m Peet. I used to work here…

Speaking of long absences and dispiriting privation, I have been looking forward to Emersons’ Taieri George for a long, long time now. It’s a seasonal beer – released on or about March 6th, the birthday of the George for whom it is named and who founded the brewery – and since I’d tried it towards the tail end of winter last year I’ve been waiting all summer for it to return. For a number of reasons, some of which are also reasons for the hiatus in this blog, I’ve put off having it though and lately it’s been sitting in my fridge taunting me…calling to me…and I’m wondering now has it been worth the wait?

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Review #23 – Hallertau Beastwars

This one’s a bit different, and in theory it should be easy since half my work is done for me. This custom-brewed, limited edition IPA is named for Beastwars, a sludgey, stoner metal band out of Wellington. It’s a proper tie-in, it seems, and there’s a link given on the label where you can listen to Beastwars’ album. It’s not an entirely original idea; it follows on from recent efforts from Emersons to commemorate the Dunedin sound and came out around the same time as Epic’s 30 year Ale, ‘celebrating’ Flying Nun’s 30 year anniversary last November though I’d argue Epic really didn’t try very hard: Continue reading

Review #20 – Lawn Ranger

This is one that I was supposed to do for redemption Thursday which then became belation Friday and then…well, details don’t matter too much. Let’s just say there was an incident with a couple of Doppelbocks and a mighty fine Scotch Ale among other good things, and at the end of a long, hot day on an empty stomach, plans went somewhat awry. Perhaps too there was something about the thought of revisiting this one that didn’t really inspire me. As it turns out there are more reasons to dislike this one than ever.

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Review #18 – Kaimai Porter’s Rye Ale

Well, it looks nice. That’s something.

 

It’s a rainy ol’ redemption Thursday here, so it would seem fitting to try one of the dark ales from last year that left me feeling, well, a little cheated. The Kaimai Porter’s Rye Ale I had then was a ridiculously fizzy cola-like thing that was all bubble, toil and trouble as it spilled itself all over the seat. It was a thin, flavourless concoction that had serious issues. Surely though this is just another case of a bad batch or an errant, astigmatic work experience lad who missed a decimal point somewhere, yes? Continue reading

Review #16 – Boysenbeery

It’s different, but could it have been more?

 

Name: Boysenbeery

Style: Fruit beer

By: Invercargill Brewery

Abv: 6.5%

Price: $6.75/330ml bottle (from Thorndon New World)

 

 

Some of the very finest beers in New Zealand come out of Invercargill. Whether it’s contract brewing for Yeastie Boys, Golden Ticket or Mussel Inn (yes, I mean the iconic Captain Cooker) or their own creations which include – but are not limited to – the Pitch Black Stout, the Men in Skirts Scottish Ale or, my personal favourite, the mighty Smokin’ Bishop, a smoked bock that tastes like bacon, square foot for square foot this place has a better ‘hit’ rate than pretty much anywhere. Given how far New Zealand punches above it’s weight in terms of craft beer – and I’d argue NZ might have the edge over Australia at the moment which is all that really matters (go on, tell me I’m wrong) – Emersons is great and all, and Imma let you finish but Invercargill Brewery is one of the best anywhere. So I figure I’m entitled to expect something special from the Boysenbeery. Continue reading

Review #15 – Hud-a-wa’

Hud-a-wa Strong (English Strong Bitter, 6.8%). Brewed at Invercargill Brewery for Yeastie Boys (Wellington, New Zealand). $5.79/330ml bottle.

I’m convinced one of these days Yeastie Boys is going to come up with the world’s greatest beer. The Rex Attitude shows the extremes to which these guys are willing to experiment and yes, it’s virtually undrinkable as everyone knows by now but it is utterly unique. I love a brewery that doesn’t care for trends towards insane hoppiness or ridiculous strength and is prepared to risk toxicity in order to create beers that are memorable. And so, I always try a new Yeastie Boys brew in a spirit of adventure; let the chips fall where they may. I was only mildly disappointed then when the Hud-a-wa turned out to be foul, stenchy and noxious, though as I channelled the spirit of Shackleton and chewed my way through the pint I began to realise that even if it was my lot to suffer in silence – for such is the price of bold adventure – I swore there would be no way in hell I would fall for the same trick twice. But this is redemption Thursday; that evening in the Bru Haus was last year and as memories fade, forgiveness grows in the hearts of those who have been wronged. For the first time since then I return to the Hud-a-wa to see if it still has the power to buckle knees and turn stomachs. Continue reading

Review #13 – Parrotdog Bitterbitch

Parrotdog Bitterbitch (IPA, 6.3%). Brewed at Mike’s Organic Brewery (Taranaki) for Parrotdog Brewing (Wellington, New Zealand). $6/330ml bottle.

From the label: “An aggressively New Zealand-hopped aroma gives way to a deep, rich English malt base and a huge, lingering English-hopped bitterness to finish.” Well yep, pretty much.

When I first tried this it was wasted on me. I admit it. It was still pre-Beervana, and my system was still detoxing from all the Speights and couch smoke it had acquired during my time down south. To the great disappointment of my Wellington friends I think my reaction was a listless meh. So after all this time (all six months or so of it) does this beer – the very first produced by Parrotdog but one that attained something like semi-mythical status when it ran dry after just 96 minutes on the taps at Hashigo Zake and then went on to grab the people’s choice award at Beervana – does it, can it, stand up to the hype? Continue reading