Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Renaissance - Craftsman

I've been trying to wrap my head around New Zealand stouts. Some of them have been amazing and some of them have been real clangers. I even had my first ever un-finishable bottle of beer. I wept as I thought of the money I'd wasted on the grossest beer of my life.

But onward to better things! I can't possibly go wrong with a Renaissance beer after all it was voted champion international small brewery at the Australian beer awards. 

The Craftsman is a chocolate oatmeal stout, now the oats don't add a "porridge" flavour to beer however they break down to give the beer body and a smooth feel on the palate. As for the chocolate according to the label there's cocoa nibs a plenty used at different stages of the brewing process. All those nibs must be working because the aroma is divine. Its a milk chocolate, soft to begin but developing into a mocha dark coffee aroma as you linger over the glass.

Its a beautiful dark brown beer with hints of red when you tilt your glass just the right way in the light and the thinest of tan brown heads as befitting the low carbonation of the style

Once you drink it it turns into a dark chocolate and medium roast coffee experience with hints of burnt toffee. It's not a sweet stout, nor overly bitter, there's a nice maltyness that really comes out as the beer warms. However it's not as silky on the tongue as you might expect for an oatmeal stout, in fact it sometimes feels a bit thin, but there's plenty of complexity from the dark roasted malts and coca nibs interacting to make for a very moreish brew. The hops are subtle as you'd expect from a stout, but they let themselves be known on the finish which is slightly zingy on the sides of the tongue. 

Added bonus is of course the attractive distenctive Renaissance bottle which Dai Henwood described as "making you feel like you are in Game Of Thrones, not the suburban twenty tens". Too right. 

Perfect for a winters night, posible dessert match but also good with venison!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rogue - Juniper Pale Ale

In the depths of a Glenfield winter, there is always the light and well being that is a glass of beer.
Just look at this golden lovely! A glowing gold with hints of orange, its like a beacon on a cold winters eve.
Sure its head is thin, but it make up for it with good looks. A juniper pale sounds like a good match, my only experience with what juniper tastes like is of course gin, and probably average gin at that. But to my delight the bitter astringency that I associate with  the juniper flavour blends very well into a hoppy malty pale ale. Its light on aroma, malts hints of hops nothing too noteworthy and drinking is the same, a very nice light pale ale with light mouthfeel, finishing with hops and hints of that weird gin flavour we all know and love from stealing sips of grandma's drinks at christmas.
Its actually a damn fine beer and I can see why its won awards, I could drink several of these.
Refreshing and quenching, probably really good post gardening beer and only a little dangerous at 5.2%

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Krombacher - Weizen

Krombacher, its German, and really cheap at my supermarket. I hate wheat beers so naturally I keep buying them.

I keep buying them because I live in vain hope that there might be one out there I really like, the closest so far has been a New Zealand offering, the Tuatara Heffe. However I've heard rumours that ze Germans make a good wheat beer, so being ever so I brave, I opened a bottle.

Its a bright, hurt your eyes kinda winter afternoon. So its definitely worthy of a beer. I first get yeasty lager aromas from this beer. I'm hopeful of not being overpowered by all those weird wheat beer esters. It pours like magic, cloudy orange, bright white bubbly head. Looks fantastic, but NO, I can smell the cloves. Ewww. Sigh, I'll drink it anyways. I go in for a sip and actually its not too bad, the clove flavour isn't too intense and theres a fairly mild malty flavour with a bit of a zing. Second sip is kinda yeasty with a mild fruity finish. Finish is short apart from the clove thing that seems to hang around on the palate for the weeks after finishing a wheat beer.

Well I'm not convinced. Its still a pass on the wheat beers for me, but it wasn't as awful as I expected and probably quite nice if you like this sort of thing. (You weirdos).

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Garage Project - Aro Noir

Garage project, I need you.  I need you to be just down the road and serving kegs up at my local on a weekly basis.

But until I manage to concoct some brilliant plan to *cough* "encourage" you to look at moving to Auckland I will have to make do with the kegs that make it our way and the odd bottle offering.

Stylish label is it not? Garage project are not afraid to experiment with label design or beer design. Bold flavours, experimental combinations, its all on and craft beer fans can't get enough. I was thrilled when bottles started turning up at Forest Hill liquorland.
For winter's gloom I felt a stout was in order so I went straight to the darkside with Aro Noir. It pours black, black, black, black, with a nice pale tan brown head. A very dark roasted malt aroma with hints of sweetness and hops gives away some of what's to come.
I as understand it "three different ‘black’ malts are combined with crystal and pale" to produce this dark lovely. So its no wonder that the burnt toast, roast coffee, bitter cocoa flavours are right up front. There's just enough sweet malt in there to lend a hand to the hops but those black malts keep shining through. A little astringency but nothing of putting add to a complex finish. 
As an added bonus the 7% ABV does a nice job of warming ones toes on a winters afternoon too.