#349 Garage Project – Double Day of the Dead

I tried to put some Mexican stuff around the beer. I did a bad job.

Name: Double Day of the Dead
Brewery: Garage Project
Style: Dunkler Bock
ABV: 8%
Source: garage Project

My greatest regret from GABS – aside from drinking a large IIPA which tipped me promptly from about a 3 to a 7 on the drunkometer – was not blogging about the Double Day of the Dead.

Thankfully, a recent request for final beer suggestions prompted Phil Cook (who now works for GP) to send me a bottle, along with a super bad-ass matching t-shirt. Fittingly, it is the first promotional t-shirt I’ve received that I would actually be seen dead in. (On that note, any X-L men out there with a penchant for polo shirts, get in touch.)

I love the joyful morbidity of Day of the Dead stuff, and bought truckloads of it back from Mexico when I visited in summer. We had a Mexican party a couple of months go, and our lounge is still decorated with some of the paper flowers, flags – even a homemade piñata which swings precariously above our heads while we eat.

I’m also a bit of a chilli fiend (though not quite at the level of Liberty’s Jo Wood), and like any self-respecting human I love chocolate. Suffice to say, this beer is right up my alley.

If you’ve ever had that Lindt chilli chocolate before, you have a fair idea of what drinking this is like. When it first hits your tongue there’s no heat, just chocolate (like real freshly-grated chocolate), a little roasted coffee and I reckon a subtle flavour of chillies – the dried ones that have been sitting in my pantry for ages and turn to powder if I crush them. It feels smooth and velvety, sweet and gently bitter. And then it’s there – that prickly rising heat at the back of my throat when I swallow, lingering long after it’s gone and making the time between sips almost as enjoyable as the sips themselves.

On second thoughts, it really blows that Lindt chocolate out of the water.

Published in: on July 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm  Comments (2)  

#331 Flensburger – Winterbock

Name: Winterbock
Brewery: Flensburger (Flensburg, Germany)
Style: Heller Bock
Source: Victoria Park New World
ABV: 7%

I know I promised never to inflict any of my horrible haikus on the internet again, but I just wrote this really long boring post which I realised would be better expressed in just 17 words:

Why why why why why, 
Would you call it winterbock?
It’s not even dark. 

Grainy malt, sugar
Alcohol that burns my throat
Fooled by cute bottle.

Not exactly Bashuo Matsuo (and sure, I admit I Googled “famous Haiku poets”), but at least it was quick and painless!

Published in: on July 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm  Comments (1)  

#277 Peroni – Gran Riserva

Name: Gran RiservaPeroni Gran Riserva
Brewery: Birra Peroni Industriale (Rome, Italy)
Style: Heller Bock
ABV: 6.6%
Source: i Caruzi

Honest to God, I think I must have left my brain behind in Melbourne (possibly with the Tuatara Double Trouble – which it turns out was 10.5%!) because once again I’ve stuffed up the blogging order.

So while the last post was about a beer I drank on the way back from Australia, please excuse the fact that we are now back in Melbourne, the night before I left.

This beer was completely unremarkable, however the restaurant I had it at was incredibly good. Melbournians (or whatever it is you call yourselves), if you haven’t already been then get thee to i caruzi pizza in St Kilda and have yourself some Sicilian pizza. I thought I had already eaten the best pizza in the world (last year I made an offal pizza with lamb hearts, kidneys, liver, sage and bacon), but it turns out, this was better. (Who would have thought?)

And the beer – well, it was everything I expected it to be. Predominantly sweet and malty, with a slightly offensive raw-alcohol nose and flavours of fruit and metal. Is there an Italian word for “meh? If so I would use it here.

Published in: on May 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm  Comments (3)  

#158 Rogue – Dead Guy Ale

Name: Dead Guy Ale
Brewery: Rogue (Newport, Oregon, USA)
Style: Heller Bock
ABV:  6.6%
Source: TART on Beverly Blvd, Hollywood

1) Craft Beer
2) Disneyland

That’s a list of all of the things that I like about Los Angeles. It’s not very long, but both of those things are so great that it’s worth visiting the city and traipsing the bleached white footpaths alone (only the homeless walk in LA) to reach them.

You don’t need to traipse far to find craft beer either. Even the gas stations in LA sell Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (now that’s convenience), and any decent restaurant will probably have a handful of local craft beers on tap too.

I had this Dead Guy Ale at an amazing little restaurant in Hollywood called TART where everything on the menu was $12.99. For that I got a plate heaving with delicious food, and for another 5 bucks or so I got this beer. I wish real life was like that!

It was pretty lively for a dead guy – with nutty caramelly malt balancing bitter citrussy hops.  It was  I had a bit of a ‘Halleluljah!’ moment as soon as I sipped it, which made me realise that while Mexico’s craft beer scene had been much more promising than I’d expected, I hadn’t had a really good beer in quite some time.

PS – As you can tell by the fact it’s in focus, that’s not my picture. I’m still iPhoneless!

Published in: on January 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

#97 Birra Moretti – La Rossa

Birra Moretti - La RossaName: Birra Moretti La Rossa
Brewery: Heineken Italia (Milan, Italy)
Style: Doppel Bock
ABV: 7.2%
Source: Regional Wines

I was a little bit confused when Kieran at Regional Wines suggested I buy a beer brewed by Heineken Italia.

I mean – I thought those guys were evil. I thought they only produced that tasteless, fizzy, oft-overpriced stuff that’s taking up far too much space in Auckland bars. Surely they weren’t responsible for something that actually had flavour?  

Not that Heineken is necessarily responsible for this beer tasting good (which it does, but I’ll get to that soon). Birra Moretti was an Italian brewery that had been around since 1859, and in 1996 it was acquired by Heineken. I’m not sure how much has changed at Birra Moretti (who now refer to themselves as a brand, rather than a brewery) since Heineken took over, but it would appear that this beer at least hasn’t been bastardized in the process.

Anyway, god, what’s more important than who owns it is what this beer actually tastes like.

This is a lovely, sticky, treat of a beer – just what I felt like after a weekend of crisp Pale Ale’s. It poured a dark, amber colour with a small white head, and actually didn’t give a lot away on the nose. It smelled like malty beer to me, nothing too complex. On the mouth there was so much more though – a rush of sticky molasses, toasty malt,  fruit, licorice and candied sugar. It had a real Belgian taste, full and boozy and sweet, but with a relatively zippy, clean finish.

So there you are. So far I’ve learned to not judge a beer by its label, its name, or for having a corporate giant owner. Instead I’ve got to do it the hard way, and in the name of education just Taste Taste Taste!

Published in: on November 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

#26 Invercargill Brewery Smokin’ Bishop (2008)

Invercargill Smokin' Bishop 2008Name: Smokin’ Bishop (2008 Vintage)
Brewery: Invercargill Brewery
Style: Smoked Bock
ABV: 7%
Source: Regional Wines

OK, long sentimental rant coming up so you might want to skip this post or get comfortable.

This was one of the first beers, if not the first beer that ever made me go “Holy shit! That’s f**king amazing!” – or something to that effect. It wasn’t that it was the nicest tasting beer I’d ever had (although it was up there), but it made me realise how limitless the possibilities were when it came to the different ways a beer could taste.

I think my first Smokin’ Bishop was the 2009 vintage. I remember I had only learned about the smoky Rauchbier style a few weeks beforehand, and had been dreaming of a pilgrimage to it’s home in Bamberg to try one. Then lo and behold, it turned out there was some being made in little ol’ NZ – in Invercargill no less!

It was at Beervana that I first had it. I’ll always remember that delicious, bacony/campfire taste and how it stood out from everything else I tried that day. I went away from raving about it to anyone who’d listen, but had trouble finding much more to buy.

I went back to Beervana this year and made a B-line for the Southern section, hoping to re-live my first time with the Bishop. It was good, very good, but not as smoky or special as I’d remembered it. Had the recipe changed, or was it just that the thrill of the new was gone?

When I saw last week that Regional Wines was selling the 2008 Smokin’ Bishop I got on the phone to my Wellington source (mum) and asked her to kindly buy me a bottle ASAP. That’s the one in the picture, with the first ‘Vintage’ sticker I’ve ever seen on a beer. So fancy!

I don’t know if it’s this particular batch, whether it improved over the 3 years, or whether my memory is skewed, but I’m quite sure this is the best Smokin’ Bishop I’ve ever had. It’s beautifully smoky in a not-safe-for-vegetarians kind of way, but also rich and malty with a full, creamy mouthfeel.

In short: it’s f**king amazing!

I’m sure that’s the last ’08 Smokin Bishop I’ll ever have and (cue violins)  it’ll probably be a while before I find a smoky beer to love like that again.

Bamberg, anyone?

Published in: on September 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

#6 Poretti Bock Rossa

Poretti Bock RosaName: Poretti Bock Rossa
Brewer: Carlsberg Italia (Lainate, Italy)
Style: Dunkler Bock
ABV: 6.5%

Much as I’d like all 365 beers on this blog to be lovingly produced by New Zealand craft brewers, there simply aren’t enough to get me through. And that’s why today’s beer is brewed by *rubs toe sheepishly on floor* Carlsberg Italia!

Hey, at least it’s not actually Carlsberg.

I’m pretty tired so I won’t ramble on. The Bock Rossa is an 1877 Dunkler Bock –  Dunkler means darker, and a bock is a strong German style lager.

It’s quite sweet and malty with some caramel/toffee flavours, but they disappears pretty quickly and give way to a taste which is kind of… metallic I think.  It had quite a light mouthfeel and wasn’t as full-bodied as I’d expected the it to be. I’d like to try other Dunkler Bock’s because something tells me this may not be the best example of the style.

Perhaps my enthusiasm is waning after drinking one too many beers this weekend… Or perhaps it’s all the fantastic New Zealand beers I’ve been getting used to that make this one seem weak (I know I said in an earlier post that I dislike patriotism. This doesn’t count!).

OK, I’m suddenly moments from falling into a deep coma. Better post tomorrow, I promise. Buona Notte!

Published in: on August 14, 2011 at 10:40 am  Leave a Comment