#305 Croucher – Galaxy IPA

Name: Galaxy IPA
Brewery: Croucher
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.3%
BREW (Rotorua, NZ)

No time!  Auckland’s first ever (little) craft beer festival – City of Ales – starts in an hour,  and I’m not yet showered/dressed/filled with the Pork Pie I plan to line my stomach with.

So just quickly – I had this Croucher IPA at BREW in Rotorua last week, and it was stupendously delicious. At first it smelled to me like Fanta, but then as I drank it the flavours turned to sticky pineapple and mango.  It was dry and quenching, with a herbaceous bitter finish that didn’t linger too long.

It was great. Go drink some. I gotta go!

[note – I actually ran out of time to publish this and am now doing so a day later, in case you’re wondering why I’m going to a beer festival at 10:30pm on a Sunday night. But for the record, if there was one on now I’d be there.]

Published in: on June 24, 2012 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

#304 Croucher – LOWRIDER IPA

Brewery: Croucher (Rotorua, NZ)
Style: IPA
ABV: 2.7%
Source: BREW (Rotorua, NZ)

I know what you’re thinking. “You’ve changed, man,” just because I visited Croucher’s brewpub on a Friday night and drank only a half pint of low-alcohol beer. But I’m telling you it isn’t so!

For the record, I was already a bit drunk by the time I arrived at BREW (having consumed a few margaritas at the wonderful South American restaurant down the road), but it’s also the case that I love the Lowrider and would have chosen it either way.

Like the Hallertau minimus, this is what I would call a chihuahua beer. I don’t mean it’s annoying and yappy and popular with Paris Hilton – I mean it’s a little beer that thinks it’s big. It will go out there and fight with the great danes, and… actually this is where the metaphor ends because a chihuahua would get crushed by a great dane, whereas this little beer could kick the ass of some full-strength IPAs.

It has all the sharp, fruity hop character you’d expect from an IPA, enough of a malt presence to balance, and a dry bitter finish which leaves you thirsty for more. And you can drink more, because at 2.7% you’d probably pop before you managed to get drunk off the stuff. It’s not one of those beers which is ‘good if you have to drive’ either, it’s good all the time, any time, even on a Friday night when there are loads of other beers on offer. And that’s why I chose it. Not because I’m not hardcore anymore (let’s be honest, I never was), but because it’s a great beer.

Published in: on June 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

#183 Croucher – Pilsner

Name: Pilsner
Brewery: Croucher (Rotorua, New Zealand)
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5%
Source: Waiheke Wines

Ohhhh dear. I have to admit – I’ve been a pretty bad blogger these last few days (weeks?) and haven’t being paying quite as much attention to all the beers as I should.

What I’m saying is, I kinda didn’t make any notes on this, and am now blogging about it some days later with no real recollection of what it tasted like. I could look online at reviews and make it up but… Well.  Who could be bothered?

You know what – I can remember that it was a summery afternoon (Wednesday), that I was standing in the courtyard barbecuing at the time, and that the beer was refreshing, fruity and crisp – perfect for the occasion. I definitely liked it… I just can’t remember why exactly. 

And now please excuse me while I go beat myself senseless for being a bad blogger. And by ‘beat’ I do mean drink.

Published in: on February 11, 2012 at 10:16 am  Leave a Comment  

#105 Croucher & Galbraith – Pale Ale Reserve

Croucher & Galbraith's Reserve Pale AleName: Pale Ale Reserve
Brewery: Croucher (Rotorua) & Galbraith (Auckland)
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.9%
Source: Galbraith’s Ales

Remember that time I said I’d always rather drink six different beers than six of the same? (Hint: it was in the post before this one.) Yeah well, that’s not always the case.

The glass that you see in this photo was actually my third pint of the Reserve Pale Ale… and it wasn’t my last, to be honest.

I had to drink lots of it though, because a) it was delicious and devilishly drinkable, and b) it’s a special beer that won’t be around for long. To have drunk any less would actually have been a crime.

The Reserve Pale Ale is the latest in the Galbraith’s Great Brewer Cask Ale Series, in which they invite top brewers from around NZ to visit the brewery and make a cask conditioned ale. (The last one I wrote about was the wonderful Vasta’s Velvet).  This time Paul Croucher had come up from Rotorua to make a Pale Ale, and he was there again at the launch last night.

Lots and lots of people were there at the launch actually – as somebody commented, if a bomb had gone off in Galbraith’s the country’s collective beer knowledge would have been seriously impaired. There were brewers from Emerson’s, 8 Wired, and Yeastie Boys among others, members of SOBA and the Brewers Guild, and then a load of beer err… drinkers like myself.

The general consensus was the collaborative brew was great (unless everyone else was just being polite) and I do believe it was. It had a delicate fruity hop aroma (apples perhaps?), and in the mouth it was creamy and malt-driven. There was a restrained hop bitterness which lingered right the way through (rather than showing up once everyone else had gone home), and – like all cask conditioned ales – it was very soft and quaffable.

So quaffable, in fact, that I quaffed four of them. And as I’m going back to Galbraith’s at least two more times this week, I’ll probably quaff several more.  Like I said, it won’t be around for too long (especially at the rate I’m going), so I strongly advise you do the same.

Published in: on November 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm  Comments (3)  
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#95 Croucher – Pale Ale

Name: Pale Ale
Brewery: Croucher Brewing (Rotorua, New Zealand)
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5%
Source: Andrew Andrew (Auckland, New Zealand)

On a Friday afternoon I nearly always make the mistake of kicking things off with something outrageous – a Hop Zombie or an Imperial Somethingorother, at the very least an Armageddon. From then on I must continue to drink beers of equal or greater flavour/strength, which usually results in a very early bedtime and 4am feelings of nausea and self-loathing.

Not wanting to fall into that little pattern again, but still very badly wanting a beer that tasted good, I spent a long time scouring the Andrew Andrew menu for the perfect thing. For some inexplicable reason I was sitting in the blazing sun next to a roaring fire, so it had to be properly cold and thirst-quenching as well.

In the end I ordered the Croucher Pale Ale, which arrived just before I passed out from heatstroke.

I couldn’t really nail down the hop smell – It was bright and fruity like a New Zealand pale ale, but had American citrus and pine notes too. In the mouth those flavours were fleshed out with sweet honey malt, a slight cereal flavour, and bitterness which lead to a punchy dry finish. It was cold and fizzy and definitely thirst-quenching, and certainly my most enjoyable drink of the evening (but then the first one usually is.)

And in case you’re wondering – that wasn’t the beginning of the end. I had one more beer and a few glasses of gewurtz with dinner, then escaped relatively unscathed to the Waiheke ferry. They don’t have any good beer on the boat, which is probably just as well…

Published in: on November 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm  Comments (1)