#346 8 Wired – Batch 18

8 Wired Batch 18Name: Batch 18
Brewery: 8 Wired
Style: Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
ABV: 12.5%
Source: Galbraith’s Alehouse

It’s hard to know where to begin when you’re describing a beer this delicious.

Perhaps with an apology, actually, because in the higgeldy-piggeldy mess that the blog became in about April (lots of posts building up and then months of “catching up” ) this beer somehow fell through the cracks. I went looking for my post on it yesterday to remind myself of what I had said – only to find that it wasn’t actually there.

And how the hell could I have forgotten to post about a beer that I had loved so much?

I drank it approximately two months ago with a new beer friend, Allegra, who I was meeting for the first time at Galbraith’s (where she now works). I was trying to impress her with our snazzy New Zealand beers, and buying a bottle of this was me “pulling out the big guns”.

Imagine biting into a cherry soaked in booze covered and in dark chocolate, and you have an idea of what a sip of Batch 18 is like. One layer of it at least – there were about a squillion different flavours lurking in the dark, syrupy depths –  including toasted woody, vanilla, coconut and roasty malt.

In the mouth, as you’d expect, it was full and oily, and slipped down my throat like warm milk. There was a hint of alcohol heat to remind me of the ABV, but still it was dangerously drinkable considering.

Allegra loved the Batch 18 as well, and our friendship was soon cemented with Twitter follows/Facebook adds and the rest of it. A beautiful story for a beautiful beer. 

Published in: on July 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

#324 8 Wired – Double Coffee Brown Ale

8 Wired Double Coffee Brown Ale Name: Double Coffee Brown Ale
Brewery: 8 Wired, made with C4 beans
Style: Coffee Brown Ale
Source: O’Carrolls Freehouse
ABV: 8%

Woah woah woah, stop the press. It’s a new beer from 8 Wired!

OK so it’s not brand new. And yeah everyone else has probably Untappd, Tweeted and Instagrammed it already, but I’m a bit behind the 8-Wired ball (*high-fives self*) and only learned of it’s existence when I saw it in O’Carrolls last week.

Like most people, I function at the level of a half-witted sloth before my first cup of coffee, and don’t become my usual self (a half-witted human) until I’ve had two. And yet, for some reason I’m not so jazzed about coffee beers. At the risk of sounding like I haven’t had my morning dose yet, I think it’s because they always taste so much like coffee. They’re sort of a bit obvious, you know?

But then – with everything there are exceptions, and you can count on Soren to have brewed one of them.

The coffee aroma was so fresh, like I was putting my nose in a bag of just-roasted beans, with subtle notes of chocolate and caramel lurking underneath. In the mouth it straddled the line between sweet malt and bitter coffee perfectly, but what really blew me away was the mouthfeel. So syrupy smooth, like chocolate milk, and punctuated by a gently roasty bitterness at the finish. It was the kind of beer you want to keep gulping just to feel it glide down your throat.

Half-way through drinking this, the O’Carrolls monthly quiz night started up and me and my friend decided to play. Our team, “Stephen Hawking’s Football Boots”, came second to last, so I wonder if all the alcohol in this beer might have reversed the usual effects of coffee and made us more sluggish. Or if that doesn’t sound plausible, it’s because there were only two of us, and they asked way too many questions about cricket.

Published in: on July 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm  Comments (4)  

#186 8 Wired – HayWired

Name: HayWired
Brewery: 8 Wired (Blenheim, New Zealand)
Style: Wheat Ale
ABV: 4.6%
Source: O’Carrolls Freehouse

Really? This is really a wheat beer?

At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot, I have to admit I’m confused. 

I mean where is the wheat?

I sure as hell can’t see it – the beer is pale gold and not even the tiniest bit cloudy.

I can’t smell it either – it smells fruity and hoppy, like an APA.

And I can’t taste it. There’s none of the usual flavors I usually associate with wheat beer – bubblegum, orange, banana, clove, coriander, dishwater, wallpaper paste… None of that. This is a crisp and clean, with bright citrusy hops – the exact opposite of what I’d had in mind.

On the one hand this is a good thing. The beer tastes nice, and I’ve always said I don’t even like wheat beer anyway. But on the other… I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. I guess I was hoping that Soren was going to change my mind about wheat beer by producing the best one I had ever tasted. And maybe this is the best wheat beer I’ve ever tasted, but it doesn’t seem to count because it breaks all the rules.

But now I’m thinking – do I even know what the rules are? Maybe Witbiers and Hefeweizens have clouded my judgement about what ‘wheat beer’ even means, and perhaps there is a whole world of them out there that taste like this!?!

I don’t know, guys. I’m going to have to drink several more of these and mull it over.

Published in: on February 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm  Comments (4)  

#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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#89 8 Wired – Tall Poppy

Name: Tall Poppy
Brewery: 8 Wired
Style: India Red Ale
ABV: 7%
Source: Waiheke Wine Centre

Those who have been with me since the beginning might recall me going vaguely ballistic over my first 8 Wired beer – the lusciously tropical Hopwired.

Since then I’ve tried hard to tone down my swear words and exclamation marks, but  Søren Erikson (8 Wired’s Danish-born brewer) makes playing it cool pretty hard.

The Tall Poppy is the kind of beer that I’m loving most at the moment – packed full of that grapefruit/piney American hop flavour, but with just as much gooey toffee malt to support it. The mouthfeel is lovely – oily and full at first and then dry and bitter for the finish. It’s complex and bold with lots of personality, and suits its name to a T.

I’m not 100% sure but I’d say this is made with American hops, so I do hope it’s not going to be another casualty of TGAHS. Either way, I’d recommend hunting this down and trying some as soon as possible, because it really is f***ing delicious!!

Published in: on November 6, 2011 at 9:26 pm  Comments (3)  

#83 8 Wired – ReWired

8 Wired ReWiredName: ReWired
Brewery: 8 Wired (Blenheim, New Zealand)
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 5.7%
Source: Victoria Park new World

I thought I’d mix things up a bit on Sunday and actually eat my beer instead of drinking it – but I did save a splash just so that I could be 100% sure it tasted OK.

It did. It tasted really OK in fact. The last time I had this I’d been drinking Armageddons and Hopwireds beforehand, and unsurprisingly this seemed a bit dull afterwards. On a fresh palate though it was totally different – malty and spicy with sweet chocolate/caramel notes as well as some bitter, citrussy hops.

I was slightly reluctant after I’d drunk half a glass, but I did manage to pour the rest in the pan to make a chicken in Brown Ale stew. It was inspired by this recipe from The Good Stuff blog, and it uses smoked garlic which I just happened to have bought at the Taste festival. Good god that stuff is good! I’m a massive garlic fiend and I love smoky flavours (especially in beer) so I’m planning to make some more using mum’s homegrown garlic and her fish smoker.

Stupidly I forgot to get a picture of the stew, but it came out really well – I swear. Even after a couple of hours simmering with tomatoes and the garlic and herbs and what-not, it still had a really distinctive Brown Ale flavour, sweet and rich and beery. Karrggghhhhh.*

The only slight dissapointment was that the garlic (I used a whole bulb) didn’t lend as much of a smoky flavour as I was hoping. Perhaps I should  make this again with a Rauchbier?

*Homer Simpson drool.

Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 1:57 pm  Comments (4)  

8 Wired iStout Float

iFloat“Woah, woah, woah – what the hell does she think she’s playing at?”

I can hear the collective cries of disgust now (she said wistfully, as if people really cared that much) about the multiple things wrong with this blog post, such as:

1. I’ve already written about iStout.
2. there’s no number in the title, and
3. there’s fucking icecream in that beer!

Just chill out, OK? This is not beer #71, it’s just a little bonus post because I really am that much of a freak that writing 300ish words about beer per day is sometimes not enough.

I got this idea from Phil Cook’s blog (which is truly excellent, especially when he gets ‘brandwank’ rants), and thought it looked like the most devilishly decadent dessert idea ever. I actually hadn’t planned to drink it last night – I went to the supermarket to buy ingredients for a chocolate cake – but when I got there I remembered I hate baking and I’m terrible at it so bought icecream and a stout instead.

When I got home I proceeded to:

1. Put two small scoops of Top Top French Vanilla icecream in a glass.

2. Pour iStout into glass untill foam threatened to spill over.

The result? Something like an Irish coffee with cream, on speed. The iStout is a really incredible beer (you can read my review here) – really roasty and bitter, and so even with all that icecream it wasn’t that sweet. It was just creamier, and colder, and more fun to eat with a spoon.

The first half was great – delicious and wonderfully novel, but after a while the strong, rich flavour of the stout combined with the creamy icecream became too much to handle.  I actually found myself tipping  good beer down the sink for the first time in my life, which is a crime I never want to repeat.

Would I do it again? Hell yes I would, but maybe with something a little less heavy… Like a Renaissance Craftsman perhaps. Then again, that’s another beer I really don’t want to pour down the sink…

Published in: on October 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm  Comments (9)  

#47 8 Wired – Saison Sauvin

8 Wired Saison SauvinName: Saison Sauvin
Brewery: 8 Wired (Nelson, New Zealand)
Style: Saison
ABV: 7%
Source: Victoria Park New World

It’s Sunday evening (I’m not sure what time exactly – this daylight savings thing always boggles me), and I just got back from a bach at Whatipu on the West Coast.

I spent the weekend with six of my friends – squeezing into caves, eating camp food, squinting at a very smoky bonfire and drinking (mostly) Epic Pale Ales. It was a pretty great time, only slightly hindered by the unwelcome return of the sore throat and blocked-up sinuses that I thought I kicked to the curb two weeks ago.

So, I was in an idyllic setting but less than peak physical condition when I drank Saturday’s beer – a Saison Sauvin by 8 Wired.

You can see it poured a dark golden amber, with a small blue head. Just kidding! That’s an effect of the wonky bach glassware. The head died away almost immediately, which may be because said wonky glassware was a bit dirty.

It smelled… interesting. Belgian yeast, definitely, and hoppy in a way that wasn’t familiar. I guess most of the big-hopped beers that I’ve had so far have used American hops, whereas this beer uses only Sauvin hops from Nelson. They’re obviously quite different, though I’d struggle to define how exactly.

On the tongue the hops were fruity, spicy, and really bitter. It seemed to have some sauvignon blanc characteristics – gooseberries, pine, straw/cut grass  (but I wondered if this was just the name putting ideas in my head) as well as lemon and passionfruit. It was drying (a bit like tonic water) and had a lively carbonation. I think my blocked nose stopped me from tasting and appreciating this one fully, as my overall impression was really just one of zingy bitterness, and I kept wishing it had a bit more malt.  I know I shouldn’t judge a beer after just one (especially not when it’s in a wonky glass) so I’ll give it another go before I make up my mind.

And now it’s time to go and stand in front of my pantry for 20 minutes while I choose my beer for today. See you back here soon!

Published in: on September 25, 2011 at 7:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

#25 8 Wired iStout

Hopwired iStoutName: iStout
Brewery: 8 Wired (Brewed at Rennaissance Brewing, Blenheim, New Zealand)
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10%
Source: O’Carrolls Freehouse, Vulcan Lane, Auckland CBD

Another day, another glorious beer that left me too drunk to write my post before bed.

I drank this at O’Carrolls on Vulcan Lane, and I reckon this may be my new go-to pub in the CBD. Sure the music is awful, but it’s unpretentious, blessedly devoid of suits on a Friday afternoon, and best of all stocked with great beer!

As for the iStout… My memory is slightly rusty (this wasn’t the only beer of the night) but I remember it being damn good. It glugged out of the bottle into my glass like syrup, almost pitch-black with no head whatsoever. It was rich, decadent and full of flavour. Beyond that I can only rely on my notes, which say: “strong, coffee, treacle, chocolate, bitter aftertaste, light carbonation, thick mouthfeel”.

The bitterness stops it from being cloying and makes it quite gluggable… but it’s a bit of a dumb thing to drink as your first beer on a Friday afternoon. Next time I’d eat it with a big wodge of chocolate cake for dessert… Or even just as a dessert by itself.

And now I’m off to see my mother who, bless her, has just arrived in Auckland with a big suitcase full of beers from Melbourne and Regional Wines for me. It feels like Christmas!

Published in: on September 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

#18 8 Wired The Big Smoke

8 Wired The Big Smoke Name: The Big Smoke
Brewer: 8 Wired (Brewed at Renaissance Brewing)
Style: Smoked Porter
ABV: 6.2%
Source: Brew on Quay

Honestly. I think I’m going to have to drink a Double Brown tomorrow just to prove I can write a post that isn’t littered with exclamation marks and the word “delicious”.

As for The Big Smoke… it’s delicious!!!

After getting all kinds of ecstatic over 8 Wired’s IPA yesterday, I couldn’t wait more than a day to try this one. I met my sister at Brew on Quay on my lunch break today and told her she had to drink a beer with me and she wasn’t allowed to choose it.

The Big Smoke poured a really dark reddy brown with a small tan head. I tasted hints of dark chocolate and a smoky beach bonfire (in the distance), with a little dry bitterness at the end. Maybe it was all the dark wood around me, but there was something lovely and rustic about it. I’ll definitely be buying this again!

It was nice to finally get to Brew on Quay, which I’d been meaning to do for a while. I love how it has sections which are partitioned off, giving it a real classic English pub feel.  They had a fantastic range of bottled beer and a few good craft beers on tap, one of which I actually sampled… but it would be breaking the rules to talk about it!

This is a slightly rushed post as I’m leaving for the opening night of my play in 10 minutes. Have a great weekend everyone, I’ll be here tomorrow… and not really drinking Double Brown.

Published in: on August 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm  Comments (5)