#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

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.

Continue reading

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 #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 #11 – Brewdog Hardcore

Hardcore IPA (Imperial/Double IPA, 9.2% abv) by BrewDog (Fraserburgh, Scotland). $8.50/330ml bottle.

From the label: “4 Hop Cones willingly sacrificed themselves in fiery cauldron (sic) that is our brew kettle to ensure your mouth is left feeling punished and puckering for more.” They’re half right.

A second round of redemption Thursday and this time around it’s the Brewdog Hardcore, a beer I’d had during last year’s world footy cup or whatever it was, apparently New Zealand won it and there was much rejoicing. At the time I described in my notes as “f…ing awful. Too hoppy, bitter, fruity and stenchy” but of course I hadn’t really given it a fair chance. It was served to me in a plastic cup – I believe I have elsewhere expressed my opinion of such an abominable act – and from memory I was coming off a row of porters and stouts so it was never going to sit well. And so, now, swollen with magnanimity in the comfort of my own home, I am willing to give it another try. Continue reading

Review #6 – Coronado Orange Avenue Wit

Orange Avenue Wit (Witbier, 5.2%). Coronado Brewing Company, Coronado, California. $5.50 per 355ml bottle.

A most pleasant surprise

The signs were not good. Apparently the start of February in the Southern hemisphere coincides with Lughnasadh, or Lammas, the festival of the wheat harvest. I could finish the Australian beers later, I must have a wheat beer. But while reviewing the Australian beers I had read about the sometimes widely differing standards of tap and bottle beers, and when combined with my own failings in various states to fully appreciate what was on offer I thought I should start a kind of ‘redemption Thursday’* to give the most appalling brews I’d had over the last year or so a second chance. It was only fair. Then I had the Atlas on tight-arse Tuesday and it brought up all sorts of orange nightmares and I knew I had to go back and lock horns with my nemesis: the very last, and one of the very worst beers I’d had in 2011 – the Coronado Orange Avenue Wit. Continue reading