Monday, January 28, 2013

Harrington's The Rogue Hop - Organic pilsner

Another Pilsner is called for. It's for science, comparative analysis and all that.

And with Pac'n'Sav stocking so few craft offerings I had to support the cause. Buy more craft beer to get more craft beer is my theory. Its win win.

This beer is organic and I feel all saving the planet from pesticides when I buy it.
"That's right fellow humans, I'm saving the planet one beer at a time." Organic Hops surely means New Zealand hops as we are the largest supplier in the world. Harringtons claim its made with their own "Rogue hop". What the heck is a rogue hop? I feel it might refer to one that was growing as a weed on the side of the brew shed, or a whole crop that got accidentally cross fertilised by a rogue male plant in a wild night of pollination.

So what is this hop? Its hard to pick out, there's little aroma from the beer. I feel the malty bready notes coming through and maybe hints of greenish hops, something herby and citrus.

Its a lovely clear beer with golden hues and a white head. Certainly aesthetically spot on for summers day drinking.

When you take a sip the crisp refreshing grapefruit bitterness of the hops dances on the tongue bouncing in with all the bubbles followed by some fairly bready malts, and a hint of raw grain after-taste but not too bad. Its refreshing and spicy to start but start to feel a little heavy after a while.

Still it hits the spot for Auckland Anniversary and nothing better to reward oneself with after successfully navigating the supermarket crowds.

BB 9/JAN/14

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Croucher Pilsner

Pilsner, I always enjoy a good pilsner and this offering is pretty lovely.

Loads of carbonation and a large bubbly head make it attractive summer drinking. Aromas of NZ hops, fruity and floral but not too punchy give the impression of sweetness but then a bitter finish complementing some nice malt flavours.

I often think a nice balanced pils could be the way to move some lager lovers towards more flavourful beers  without completely overwhelming the taste buds. This beer certainly has plenty of complexity without being too overpowering, well for this seasoned IPA drinker anyway.

Easy drinking right to the last drop.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tall Poppy India Red Ale - 8 Wired Brewing Co

Super Liquor (next to Postman's leg in Glenfield) was once a barren land for the craft beer lover. DB and Lion completely dominated the beer fridge, but they've finally wised up and bought in some tasty beers. Unable to decide whats good they seem to have bought one of everything and stuffed them into boxes near the front of the beer fridge. A good rummage round unearthed this bright little treasure. A Tall Poppy India Red Ale. Does anything sound nicer? 

After a fairly hectic morning, I figure the lunch break needs to be suitably decadent and refreshing. I'm rewarded with a beautiful aroma as soon as I pop the cap. Its very fruity and marmalade springs to mind. Hints of pine come wafting through as well as an amazing amount of caramel malt. 

Tall poppy pours a dark red with a small foamy head that subsides to a persistent ring as the the beer goes down. A light hand with the carbonation seems balanced with the flavour.

There is a decent amount of bittering hops in the gorgeous brew. Pine and resin seem to be the big components of the bitter notes. But then theres the malt. Robust caramel malts hold up the the bitter hops and surround them in syrupy sweetness making for a bitter and balanced morish beer. 

Each mouthful is a joy and fruity hop aroma marries well with the sweet malts and bitter hops stop it from being cloying and keep everything interesting. Almost worth drinking for the colour alone, its a an IPA with a classy red dress, an excellent drop.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Coconut porter

Thanks to my lovely husband I had the opportunity to go to Brothers Beer this afternoon. Brothers beer, serve beer brew beer and sell a massive range of bottled craft beer from New Zealand and around the world.

I enjoyed a ParrotDog Pit bull IPA on site and then browsed for some takeaway bottles. The Geek  coconut porter caught my eye. I last had a coconut porter so many years ago (I cant remember exactly when)  at Hallertau when they were doing a macaroon flavoured porter. I think its a winning flavour combination, its like the dark chocolate bounty bar of beers.

The geek porter is a sight for porter starved eyes. Its ever so dark in colour, with a thin off white head that only maintains a ring around the edge of my glass as the beer goes down.

There are hints of coconut on the nose, it subtle, rounding the edges of the aroma and melded in with cocoa and well toasted grain.

The mouth is full on porter, chocolately toasted grains with sweet malt and sweet coconut sneaking in at the end. As the beer warms the sweetness is certainly dominates with barely enough dark roast grains to carry through. Its syrupy and silky in the mouth with a slight fine effervescence of carbonation keeping things lively.

I enjoy chilled porters in summer, but prefer them a little warmer in winter. Its the middle of the humid Auckland summer right now so the beer is too warm for me right now.

Overall this is a very enjoyable coconut porter, serve nice and chilled in summer for best effect.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Harringtons Hop Tremor IPA

I've had a busy day, I went and got 60 litres of spring water this morning and brewed, swam and cleaned up after brewing. Making beer from scratch takes ages especially once you factor in all the clean up time. I hope the 5kg of spent grain does something miraculous to my compost heap. Anyway with all the boil off and the discarded trub I ended up with 15L of beer (3L off target). So to console myself over the lost beer to the atmosphere I have opened a Harringtons Hop Tremor.

When I open IPA's I expect big aroma but this beer borders on subtlety. There is a definite resinous aroma that tingles the nose and maybe a little spicy bitter orange marmalade on toast. 

The pour is a beautiful orange amber, fairly clear (the condensation on the outside of my glass hides this). A thin head that dissipates rapidly and not much in the way of lacing. 

Where this beer packs its punch is right in the tastebuds. All those subtle aromas bust into life, the pine, the marmalade and they sit in a dry syrupy caramel malt thats coasts the tongue and leaves the bitterness lingering long after the amber liquid is swallowed. The dryness make the bitterness even more pronounced and after a while the beer begins to feel a little unbalanced. 

Its feels a bitter for the sake of being bitter and if you like bitter, its not a bad thing. But it feels to me like its slightly missed the mark.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Tuatara Double Trouble

For maximum enjoyment please put on your dichromic 3D glasses now.
Isn't that a beaut glass! Zed gave it to me for Christmas.

I have lusted after this beer for so long and I am not disappointed. Some people might say "Never meet your heroes/idols" It just spoils the illusion. You discover they are just human, flawed jaded and impatient. But thats people. ALWAYs drink your aspirational beers. ALWAYS!

This sat in my fridge for FIVE days before I opened it. Just what justified the breaching of this idolised beer? First day back at work of course. Nothing to do all day and I didn't even get let go early. Bah! Its a shocking 4.6 standard drinks per bottle. So work tomorrow may be considerably more interesting.

As soon as the cap popped off I knew I was going to be a happy girl, immediate pine notes were wafting through the air. I love pine in an IPA. There's also hints of tropical fruit, like a slightly green mango. Something resinous is slightly stinging the nostrils, its extremely stimulating. And there's a sweetness, is it hop aroma? Passionfruit? Or caramel malt notes shining through. Perhaps the alcohol? At a whopping 9% its packing a spicy sweet punch on the nose.

On the pour, the colour is certainly more impressive than the head. Its a very beautiful glowing copper/amber/gold, Yes all three of those things mashed together in a beautiful hue.

The first sip has hints of anxiety. I want this beer to be good. I want the aroma to match the flavour. I want so much! The first mouthful bounces around the tongue, zinging, coating the roof of my mouth  and hitting all the tastebuds. Its a confusing mash of so many flavours. I love the intensity and interestingly its not as perceptively bitter as the label suggests (167 IBU). The malts have been chosen carefully to blend so well and give the alcohol required to accommodate all these hops.There's definite grapefruit and pine flavours, and lots of little bits of everything else. Eventually the malts are overwhelmed by the oily hops, the more you drink the more bitterness shines through. This bottle is so intense of flavour it can last you well. Definitely something to savour.

Its a beautiful beer, challenging for the average player but worth a purchase for any hop fan. I will be buying this again!

Here's another shot, just because.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Fuller's ESB

The English  extra special bitter is not a beer style I'm overly familiar with, but I'm keen to experience. I did try brewing a Coopers English bitter kit recently and the results were average, so I'm looking to try a well known solid bitter and see what the styles all about.

A nice dark amber liquid with a fairly thin head, this brew is light on carbonation. After a few minutes I am only getting the odd bubble. Its very clear and clean looking with little to no lacing.

First aromas are warm white wine, malt, slight hints of acrid, burnt, well roasted malt its almost a burnt sugar smell. There's a smidge of earthy hop aroma.

There's a nice little effervescence on the tongue, its bitter and the alcohol hits the palate straight away with a wine like texture. Its smooth and glossy. The toffee malty flavours come through quite strong to meld with the bitterness and sometimes its like drinking a low alcohol bitter wine! Especially as the carbonation slows down. I can't decide if I'm enjoying this beer or not. It is flavours I'm not all used to and I find it challenging, but it leaves a pleasant mild after-taste that keeps drawing me back for another sip! The higher alcohol has slight warming effect and I can't really describe it as thirst quenching. This is not lawn mowing beer. This is evenings round the fire "God damn my feet are cold gimme an ESB" kinda beer.

All I can think of is how well it would go with cheese.

Damn it. I'm getting cheese.

So a little mild Camembert is pairing really well with this beer. As I linger over the bottle its warming up and I get more wine and sherry flavours that make this beer so very tasty when matched with food.

I don't know if English bitter would ever be my first choice for beer but I can see why its popular. I imagine this goes great with meals and the after-taste is mild and pleasant. Definitely something I'd like to try in its original climate.

2012 Reading

AfterlightZoo CityQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't stop talkingChild 4411/22/63The Forever Hero1Q84American GodsMiddlesexThe Hunger Games2001: a Space Odyssey2010: Odyssey Two2061: Odyssey Three3001, the Final OdysseyCatching Fire Classic (Hunger Games Trilogy)Mockingjay Classic (Hunger Games Trilogy)The Night CircusThe Tiger's wifeIt Takes a Witch: A Wishcraft MysteryAnatomist, theSchrodinger's cat trilogy: Princess of Mars: John Carter of Mars: Book OneAbraham Lincoln Vampire HunterWheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to HealthThe Smarter Science of Slim: What the Actual Experts Have Proven about Weight Loss, Health, and FitnessFifty Shades of GreyNeverwhereCatherine the Great: Portrait of a WomanDeadlocked: A True Blood NovelAuschwitz: A Doctor's eyewitness accountRedshirtsAmpedBlue Remembered EarthThe Wind-Up Bird ChronicleTo Say Nothing of the DogThe Daughter of TimeThe Word for World Is ForestThe StrainPanic in Level 4: Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys to the Edge of ScienceNever Let Me GoDivergentInsurgent (Divergent Trilogy (Hardcover))The Bell JarRiverworld: Including to Your Scattered Bodies Go & the Fabulous RiverboatThe Night EternalThe LeopardThe FallMagic for BeginnersArtisan Beer