#307 Invercargill Brewery – Pitch Black

Name: Pitch Black Real Stout
Brewery: Invercargill Brewery (Invercargill, NZ)
Style: Stout
Source: New World Vic Park
ABV: 4.5%

When people ask me if I’m running out of beer to blog about, I usually tell them breezily: “Hell no, I could go on for years” (while secretly reeling in horror at the thought of going on for years). But, in truth, things are starting to get slightly trickier these days.

I mean sure, there’s gallons of homebrew and hundreds of fancy expensive beers that I could order online, but there aren’t that many widely-available New Zealand craft beers that I haven’t blogged yet. And those beers are always the most fun, because readers can go buy them and then write to tell me my opinion is wrong.

That’s why I was like, “cha-ching!” when I was at New World the other day and saw this bottle of Pitch Black on the shelf. I had to do a quick “Beer for a year + Pitch black” Google on my phone to make sure, but my hopes were realised: this was a well-known, well-liked, NZ craft beer that I hadn’t blogged yet. What a treat!

And while I know literally nothing about it, I’d have to say Invercargill Brewery is one of my favourites. Like the Yeastie Boys range which they also brew, their beers exhibit both the carefree experimentation of youth and and the practiced craftsmanship of old men – a sentence which tells us, as much as anything, that I have been doing far too much copy writing recently.

Probably everyone who reads this blog will have already tried the Pitch Black Real Stout, and will know about it’s roasty malt and freshly ground coffee aromas, it’s mocha and toffee flavours, the light but well-rounded mouthfeel and the bitter finish that won’t quit.

But if not, please go out and buy it, and then feel free to write to tell me I’m wrong.

Published in: on June 25, 2012 at 4:56 pm  Comments (4)  

#165 Invercargill Brewery – B.Man

Invercargill B-ManName: B.Man
Brewery: Invercargill Brewery
Style: Pilsner
Source: Victoria Park new World

OK. I’m not going to even try and tell you what this beer tasted like. The truth is I only had three sips, and my body was screaming ‘No! No! Whyyyyy!’ (etc) with each one.

I had come from the usual Friday night drinks – checking out the rebooted Epic Pale Ale at Brew on Quay – then had fallen asleep on the couch while watching Evil Dead 2. (Yes – my Friday nights can get wild sometimes.)

I woke up with a dry mouth and pounding headache at about 11:45, then remembered that I had 15 minutes to drink my beer of the day. I chucked this in the freezer for 10, took a photo and a few swigs and then gave the rest to my boyfriend.

I think it was sweet and fruity, and probably would have been quite nice except that I really, really, didn’t want to drink anything that wasn’t water. If you can imagine dying of thirst in the dessert and then being handed a packet of beef jerky (one of my all time favorite things – usually), then you have some idea of how I was feeling.

So uhh, yeah. If anyone else can tell me what I missed out on, feel free to enlighten me in the comments section below!

PS: Finn wanted me to add that he really enjoyed it – but then he had been drinking DB Export Dry all night so I’m not surprised.

Published in: on January 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm  Comments (2)  

#164 Invercargill Brewery – Boysenbeery

Name: Boysenbeery
Brewery: Invercargill Brewery
Style: Fruit Beer
ABV: 6.5%
Source: Victoria Park New World

This beer made me feel like Rachel Hunter.

That is – Rachel Hunter eating a boysenberry Trumpet in the 1985 Tip Top commercial (which some would pinpoint as the beginning of her successful career).

You can’t really see it in my crappy photo, but it poured a gorgeous ruby/pink colour with a marshmallow head. It smelled, obviously, like fresh boysenberry’s, with a creamy, vanilla backing (that’s the icecream), and some wheat – which made me think of boysenberry pie.

That all sounds pretty sickly, but in the mouth it wasn’t not really sweet at all. It was dry and crisp with a lemony tartness at the finish – which made it taste classy, like Rachel Hunter.

While I probably wouldn’t want a whole pint of this, the 330ml bottle chilled on a hot afternoon was perfection

And now this!

Published in: on January 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm  Comments (9)  

#35 Invercargill Brewery – Sa!son

Invercargill Brewery Sa!sonName: Sa!son
Brewery: Invercargill Brewery (Invercargill, New Zealand)
Style: Saison
ABV: 6.5%
Source: Forrest Hill Liquorland

This is my second ever Saison, and I must admit I’m none-the-wiser about what this style should taste like because it is 100% different to the last one I tried (Dupont Moinette Biologique).

What I do know is that both of them have been lovely, and I’m incredibly pleased that DB didn’t follow through with their attempt to trademark the name Saison, because that could have meant less of this style being produced in NZ.

This one poured a clear, golden colour – like a pale whiskey – and had a small white head that didn’t hang around. On the nose I got freshly squeezed OJ, marmalade, and candied sugar. On the tongue it was the same, but with a spicy dry bitterness that made it clean and refreshing.

It was only after it started to warm up that I realised how Belgian it tasted. What is it that makes something taste Belgian? What’s the official word for it? Is it funk? And should I start Googling things instead of lazily posing my questions to readers?

This beer would be absolutely gorgeous on a stinking hot day in summer, although it’s also pretty good next to the heater in my room. I don’t love it quite as much as the Moinette Biologique – but seriously, that shit was off the hook.

A final word on the name… I suppose if DB had followed through with trademarking the name Saison then “Sa!son” could have been a sneaky way of getting around it. Perhaps someone should make a R@dler?

PS: I got this from Forrest Hill Liquorland and it was great. If you live in Auckland then I highly recommend you go get yourself some treats!

[Update: Apparently DB Did actually trademark the name Saison, they just dropped it later. Dicks.]

Published in: on September 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm  Comments (2)  

#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