#362 Yeastie Boys – PKB Remix 2010

Name: PKB Remix 2010
Brewery: Yeastie Boys (Ak/Wgtn, NZ)
Style: Black IPA
ABV: 6.8%
Source: Yeastie Boys

Ask the Yeastie Boys when the ideal time for a bottle of PKB is, and they probably won’t say “11:30am – with Chinese food.” Still, I can hardly think of a bad time to drink PKB, and if there is then Yum Cha isn’t it.

The reason I drank this at Yum Cha (after first lying and pretending it was wine, then pleading with the waiter after he read the bottle and found me out) was that I wanted to share it with some fellow beer lovers.  This wasn’t any old bottle of beer – it was Stu’s last bottle of PKB Remix 2010, and one of his favourite Yeastie Boys releases. It was a real privilege to be able to drink it, and one worth breaking all the rules (acceptable drinking times, permitted BYO beverages) for.

Like a molecular gastronomer who presents soup as a mousse, or turns a savory dish into an ice-cream, the PKB was delightful in that it completely messed with my head.

On the nose it was pure American IPA – juicy tangerine, citrus peel and pine hop aromas, perhaps some berries as well. If I’d sniffed it blind I’d be sure it was a much paler beer.

In the mouth though, all that fresh happy citrus met dark roasted malt flavours; cocoa and a little coffee, a hint of toasted wood. It was complex, yet had the balance of an expertly mixed Long Island Ice Tea, in which all those potent ingredients come together in – excuse the awful cliché – perfect harmony.

For a while I sat at the table with a dreamy smile and faraway look in my eyes – sipping the beer and idly shoveling barbecue pork into my mouth – and thinking this – this right here is perfection. What an incredibly lucky lady I am.

Today’s official thanks goes to SOBA Auckland, who have done all sorts of useful things over the year – from helping me to meet other local beer geeks, hosting cool events like The Hop and City of Ales, and reminding me of all the beer launches, tap takeovers etc that I’m terrible at remembering myself.  And now that I’ve FINALLY paid my subscription fees, I can say without hypocrisy that all Auckland beer geeks should support a good cause (the cause being good beer) and sign up. Thanks SOBA!

Published in: on August 6, 2012 at 9:51 am  Comments (4)  

#361 Hallertau – Porter Noir

Hallertau Porter Noir Name: Porter Noir
Brewery: Hallertau (Kumeu, NZ)
Style: Porter
ABV: 6.6%
Source: New World Vic Park

The beer community, like any other, loves a good scandal. The best ones can make heroes of craft brewers, get beer into mainstream headlines – even cause boycotts of certain brands if someone’s really been naughty.

This particular beer is at the centre of the latest saga. To quickly summarise –  DB has named a new Monteith’s beer “Porter Noir” – the same name Hallertau coined and gave to this pinot noir barrel-aged porter.

I can see a non-beer geek reading this and going “Whoop-de-fuck, why do we care?”, and fair enough – the thing is Porter Noir is not a style, it’s a name like Hop Zombie or Rex Attitude or Santa’s Butt Porter (real). What’s more, it’s a bit arrogant for DB to be stealing names from craft breweries after the ‘Radler Fiasco’, in which they pissed everyone off royally by trademarking a name that actually was a style.

Anyway – that’s all fairly old news now and I didn’t drink this so that I could talk politics (although if that’s your bag go read Phil’s excellent post on the matter), I drank this because the whole thing reminded me that I’d never actually tried this beer! (Another upshot of beer scandals – they can be great for business.)

I’d heard Porter Noir was good, but when I sniffed it got the best surprise a gal could ask for – brettanomyces! I did not know Brett was going to be at this party, and I had the silly thought for a moment that he’d come uninvited, possibly on the coat tails of Funkonnay. I did quick Google and found that no, the pinot noir barrels this is aged in are (deliberately) infected with brett, which contributed to this wonderful complex aroma of musty oak, sherbert, berries, and definite pinot noir.

In the mouth it was dry, light and slightly sour,  with red wine-like tannins, chocolate , and funky fruit from the brett. I really liked it, and only wish it came in smaller (cheaper) bottles so that I could drink it a bit more regularly.

Today’s thank you goes to someone I’ve never actually met – regular reader Matthew Searle. Matt’s a Kiwi beer lover living in Canada, and has spurred me on from afar by leaving loads of enthusiastic and encouraging comments over the year. He also sent some awesome beers back from Canada with his parents to try, and has promised to join our celebrations on Tuesday night by drinking a bottle of Big Smoke at the time the party starts (thankfully 11pm in Canada, so not too ungodly). Go Matt!

PS – I think the outcome of the “Porter Noir Saga” was that Monteith’s agreed to change the name once the first batch runs out, and Hallertau are now trademarking all their names quick sharp. And that reminds me – I better make an application for “Old Cock Ale” before Monteith’s try to swipe that.

Published in: on August 5, 2012 at 9:13 am  Comments (2)  

#308 Red Duck – Queen Bee

Name: Queen Bee
Brewery: Red Duck (Camperdown, VIC, Australia)
Style: Honey Porter
ABV: 6.6%
Source: Grampians Grape Escape

It might have been down to a few bad experiences, but I used to think honey beers were a bit naff. It seemed like the kind of thing you’d add to a bad beer to make it more palatable, in the same way you need to add honey to those godawful fruit teas. (Never ever as good as they smell – amirite?)

But then, I did really did quite like this honey porter from Red Duck. I liked the way the rich manuka-like honey complimented the chocolate nose, and then balanced the bitter roasty malts on the palate. It didn’t overwhelm the other flavours either – coffee, raisins, and stewed plums all came through – and together they supported the alcohol quite well. The finish was a little ho-hum – I would have liked more of a dry bite – but still I enjoyed it right through to the last drop. 

Now, since I’ve finished describing the beer and still have lots of white space to fill, I’d like to ramble on about a couple of other beer-related things:

1. End of Blog – August 7th
This is a very, very exciting day – not only because it marks the beginning of the end of the beginning of my life as a beer geek, but because I’m going to have a party and get loose, y’all! (But not that loose, ya’ll, because it’s on a Tuesday night!). Even better, you personally – yes you! – are invited to the party. Even better, it’s at Galbraiths, and even more better still, Jo Wood of Liberty Brewing is brewing a mystery beer called 365 which will presumably encompass everything that I’ve learned and loved about beer over the year so far (right Jo?), and will be on tap for us all to drink. If you just uttered the words “Best Night Ever” then congratulations, you are probably psychic.

2. Beervana – August 17th & 18th
This is coming up, and if you haven’t got your tickets yet (OK, admittedly I haven’t either), then do so now or forever be really really sad. I’m even more excited about this year than usual because a) this will be my first time at the even where I will have other beer geeks to talk to and b) I’m entering the Media Brew challenge! This is where brewers are paired up with media people (yes, I managed to convince someone I was media people) and we each brew a beer to be judged at the Saturday session. I’m not going to get cocky and say I’m going to win, but I am brewing with Epic and they did win last year with their Fig and Coffee Stout. So….

PS – I got progressively more drunk as I  was writing this post thanks to the bottle of 7% homebrew I’m swilling. Was it obvious?

Published in: on June 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm  Comments (2)  

#284 Rogue – Mocha Porter

Rogue Mocha PorterName: Mocha Porter
Brewery: Rogue (Newport, Oregon)
Style: Porter
ABV: 5.1%
Source: Galbraith’s Ales

Porters and Mochaccinos are two things I’m still trying to figure out my stance on. I think that Mochas done well are probably the most delicious coffee of all, and done badly (tea room instant coffee and milo does not a mocha make), are particularly vile.

Same goes for porters, sort of. Ashamedly I am still not 100% sure on the technical differences between porters and stouts, I just know that in my experience porters have often been lighter and more bubbly. Sometimes this works well – like when I want something refreshing that won’t stick in my mouth like cake – but sometimes they leave me hungry for more substance.

Happily, this Rogue Mocha Porter struck the right balance on all fronts. It wasn’t actually made with any coffee beans or chocolate, the mocha thing was more evocative than anything else. This seemed to me like a classic porter done well – roasty malt flavours of espresso and dark chocolate (mocha – check), a faint hop bitterness and a mouthfeel that was light without being thin. The flavours were complex but not overwhelming, and it was fairly easy to guzzle back. (Not that I guzzled, but if I had been thirstier, well…)

This beer was given to me by Galbraith’s, so I assume that they’re either selling it now or will be soon. It’ll likely sell for upwards of $20 a bottle, so if you’re poor like me then you could split it with a friend. Heck, you could split one with me!

Published in: on May 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

#250 Three Boys – Porter

Name: Porter
Brewery: Three Boys (Chch, NZ)
Style: Porter
ABV: 5.2%
Source: Huhu Cafe (Waitomo, NZ)

I’m still very behind on posts and frankly a little drunk so will make this a quick’un…

I went to Waitomo last week, and as most places I go to for work are devoid of craft beer (Kapiti Island for example) I decided this would be the day I finally blogged Waikato Draft.

But lo! It turned out that Waitomo has an excellent restaurant – the Huhu Cafe (no grubs on the menu sadly) whose beer menu included Yeastie Boys, 8 Wired, and 3 Boys.

So while I’m sure everyone would probably have preferred I sucked it up and drank Waikato Draft, I’m sorry. I’ll get to it eventually I promise, but I was in the mood for something I could taste.

This was a pleasant, comforting porter – tasting predominantly of burnt roasty malt, coffee, berries and chocolate. It’s was little on the light side – but this wasn’t a bad thing – and together with the dry finish made it the perfectly counterpart to my slow-cooked duck. (Bit posh for a work trip I know, but I do like to enjoy myself).

Insert your own witty sign-off here. I’m going to bed!

Published in: on April 23, 2012 at 11:23 pm  Comments (5)  

#239 Harrington’s Wobbly Boot

Harrington's Wobbly BootName: Wobbly Boot
Brewery: Harrington’s (Chch, NZ)
Style: Porter
ABV: 5%
Source: K Rd Liquor store

No time! I’m about to catch a plane to Wellington for Easter but promised myself I’d catch up on the blog before I left. Please excuse the hurried post…

Drank this last night at a friend’s while watching (I’ll admit it) Sister Act 2. I was a little preoccupied with the plight of those unruly yet gifted kids, but in the background the Wobbly Boot was going down easy.

It tasted like a fairly standard porter – lots of roasty malt, chocolate and coffee notes, and a nice balance between bitter and sweet. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was highly drinkable (whatever that means).

And now I can go because the blog is up to date! It’s a goddamn Easter Miracle.

PS. Don’t forget to stock up on your Good Friday beer (I suggest Emerson’s Taeiri George – hot cross buns in a bottle innit) today before the shops close. You’re welcome.

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

#208 Lion Nathan – Speights Old Dark

Speights Old Dark Name: Old Dark
Brewery: Lion Nathan
Style: Porter
ABV: 4%
Source: Mangawhai Tavern

She’s a hard road finding the perfect beer, boy, especially when you’re at a Lion pub in Mangawhai.

Actually, the Mangawhai Tavern is a pretty respectable music venue (I was there to see a band, not for the beer), and I don’t want to knock it. Nor, for some strange reason which must be linked to my 41/2 years spent living in Dunedin, do I want to particularly want to knock Speights.

But I’ll just have to get over that.

The restaurant that I worked at during my university years had Mac’s Gold, Speight’s, and Speight’s Old Dark on tap. I always liked the SOD best, and thought that, because it was dark and had some discernable flavour, drinking it made me quite sophisticated.

In recent years I have realised that nothing drunk from a dimpled handle makes anyone sophisticated, and lots and lots of dark malt does not necessarily make a good beer. That said, I’d still choose it over a regular Speight’s or the incredibly boring Mac’s Gold, and on Saturday night I did.

Sorry about the shitty photo. To be honest I was embarrassed about taking a photo of my beer (I was trying not to look too Auckland) and so did it in a particuarly dark corner. FYI – the beer was dark brown.

The flavour was pretty much all malt –  sweet caramel with a little burnt roasty notes toward the finish. The mouthfeel was light and watery, and although it went down easy, left me feeling like I needed to drink a ‘real beer’ at the end of it.

I guess this means I will never be the Southern Man’s perfect woman.

Published in: on March 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm  Comments (1)  

#203 Maui – CoCoNut PorTeR

Name: CoCoNut PorTeR
Brewery: Maui Brewing (Hawaii, USA)
Style: Porter
ABV: 5.7%
Source: The Beer Store

Yes, yes, yes! So many great things going on with this beer!

Firstly, the can.

I know I’ve talked about this before, but we’re at the beginning of a can revolution, man, and there’s no bottling it up (zing!). The benefits are numerous (better for the beer, better for the planet, and better for drinking ‘on the go’) and heaps of breweries seem to be getting on board.

What’s more, the stuff inside this particular can was reeeally tasty.

When I first smelled it I didn’t get the coconut – just a toasty, chocolate malty stuff that was delicious in its own right. Then in the mouth there was more of that – maybe some vanilla too – and the teensiest hint of coconut at the finish.

But then the coconut just kept coming until BAM! At the end of it I felt like I was lying on a beach, slathered in coconut Hawaiian Tropic and eating a Bounty Bar. I was coco-nutting out.

I loved how it had a rich, smooth mouthfeel but with enough carbonation and toasty bitterness at the finish to keep it refreshing. Everything about it was fun (including the cRaZy tEeNagEr font), but the beer itself was serious. Seriously yum that is.

Finally with one day to go, I’ve found my official summer beer!

Published in: on February 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm  Comments (2)  

#188 Bootleg Brewery – Raging Bull

Name: Raging Bull
Brewery: Bootleg Brewery (Margaret River, Australia)
Style: Porter
ABV: 7.1%
Source: McCoppins Liquor Store (Melbourne)

Arg, my brain is all sludgy and empty-feeling at the moment (more-so than usual) because I’ve exhausted it with too much Parks and Recreation writing today already. So, I will attempt to be brief…

This was better than I was expecting. In all honesty my experience with Australian beers has thus far been underwhelming, although I’m aware that there are quite a few great once out there that I haven’t yet tried. (Suggestions?)

It was dark and sweet, with flavours of roast malt, licorice, espresso, bitter chocolate and dark fruits. It had a similar mouthfeel to coke – quite bubbly and light, with a little stickyness, and the finish was bitter in a roasty rather than hoppy kinda way.

It was definitely on the sweet side and the alcohol was pretty obvious, but I liked it. If I have it again I’d like to drink it after dinner with some strong blue cheese (instead of in bed at 11:30 at night), but we can’t always get these things right the first time, can we?

Published in: on February 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm  Comments (1)  

#180 Galbraith’s & 8 Wired – The Big Smoke

8 Wired Galbraith's The Big SmokeName: The Big Smoke
Brewery: Galbraith’s & 8 Wired
Style: Porter
ABV: 6.8%
Source: Galbraith Ales

Finally, back at my beloved Galbraith’s after about two months off. It really has been way too long.

I’ve posted a couple of times before about the Galbraith’s Great Brewer Cask series, where every few months Galbraith’s teams up with a New Zealand brewery to make a cask conditioned version of one of their beers. It’s a genius idea, and the results are always delicious.

There was never any question that this one would be great – it’s a collaboration between Galbraith’s and 8 Wired for Christ’s sake – but I still had to get along to the pub to try it. Just to make sure. 

Happily I can report that it is is excellent. I won’t bang on too much because it’s probably all gone now and you’d only get jealous (also I didn’t take any notes), but I will just say that I found it to be a softer, smoother, smokier version of the original, which you can read my thoughts on here.

It’s interesting that Galbraith’s and Soren chose to brew a porter in the middle of summer when usually people want crisper, lighter beers when it’s hot. Actually though, I think it worked perfectly.  The smoky bonfire taste is summery in a way, and the roasty bitterness made it quite refreshing. And the end of the day, I guess there are  no rules about what we should drink and when… We’ve just gotta do what feels right, man.

Published in: on February 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm  Comments (3)  
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