#365 Liberty – 365

Name: 365
Brewery: Liberty
Style: Imperial Red Ale
ABV: 8.5%
Source: Galbraith’s Alehouse

I’ll admit there have been times over the year when this project seemed insane. The days where I had “twenty-five posts to write” for example, or as I forced back beers while every cell in my body protested.

But every hangover, every dollar spent and every hour passed at my laptop seemed suddenly worth it last night.

Aside from a momentary panic that I could be “peaking” at 26, the end of blog party was probably one of the most enjoyable nights of my life. Thank you so much to everyone who came down to Galbraith’s to celebrate with me. It was so lovely to have all my family and friends – beery and otherwise – gathered together in my favourite pub.

And the beer. The beer! 

As Phil pointed out, it would have been p r e t t y awkward if I hadn’t liked my final beer, although with Liberty in charge there was never any real danger of that. Still, I’m happy to report that  – I’m going to annoy my parents one last time by swearing on the blog – it was fucking delicious.

To make “365” a hoppy Imperial Red Ale was a genius decision by Jo. Looking back over my year, the beers I first fell in love with were huge, highly-hopped IPAs, and then I steered away from them in favour of malt mosters. Eventually I decided I loved both, just so long as they were balanced.

I might be a total fluke, but “365” encompassed this journey perfectly. The fresh, fruity New Zealand hops were the perfect partner for the mouth-filling toffee malt, and it succeeded in being both rich and endlessly drinkable. It finished on a lip-smackingly crisp note – but without that lingering harshness that puts me off so many hoppy beers. Did I mention also that it was 8.5%? I’m pretty sure that made the party 85% more fun.

Plenty of clever sods have pointed out that this was a leap year, and so technically I should be doing 366 beers. Quite right, and that’s why Kate Jordan, Richard Jack and I brewed “Stickler”, a hoppy American Stout which we gave away at Galbraith’s last night. I saved a little to drink tonight, although I won’t be blogging about it because surely you’re sick of me by now.

I am actually going to write one last post in the next week or so, which will be a reflective, epilogue type thing. For now, I just want to say a ginormous, magnum-sized THANK YOU to everyone who has been with me on this journey. Your comments, tweets and even just page views were what motivated me to pick up the next bottle – so both the success of this blog and the possible failure of my liver are on you.

Oh God, I’m actually getting a little bit teary as I realise this is the end. My workmate is looking at me funny and I’m trying to pretend I’m just yawning. It’s OK – I have an emergency-sized can of DAB under my desk. I’m going to open that, and we’ll just say goodbye for now. I’ll see you next week at Beervana!

Published in: on August 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm  Comments (17)  

#75 Liberty Brewing – C!tra

Name: C!tra
Brewery: Liberty Brewing (Taranaki, New Zealand)
ABV: 9%
Style: Imperial IPA
Source: Hashigo Zake Pacific Beer Expo (Wellington)

It’s Monday afternoon and I just got back from an intensive three days of drinking beer, making beer, talking about beer and drinking more beer still. As a result my brain is more than a little addled and I am an entire three posts behind on the blog. I’m not sorry though – not one bit. It was brilliant!

The majority of the drinking/talking about beer took place on Saturday, at the inaugural Pacific Beer Expo put on by Hashigo Zake in Wellington.

This is the kind of event that a beer geek like me (yes that’s right, I called myself a beer geek – I decided I’ve officially earned it) dreams of. The Boatshed, right on the waters edge and miraculously bathed in sunshine, was a location fit for a wedding (and in fact I have been to a wedding there, but this was way more fun), and disproved my theory that beer events should be held in unpleasant locations to stop them from feeling like Toast Martinborough.

More importantly, the beer selection was fantastic. Not the biggest in the world – probably a few very enthusiastic attendees got through all of them – but really well thought out, and featuring an eclectic mix of international offerings alongside quirky Kiwi nano-brews.

What really made it fun though (and I know this sounds a little mushy) were all the lovely beery people there. It was great to catch up with old friends, meet brewers and other beer bloggers, and to be able to talk beer for five hours straight without worrying that someone was going to push me over the balcony out of sheer boredom. Like I said – It. Was. Brilliant.

I’m six paragraphs in so I should probably talk about the Liberty C!tra.  I tried loads of great beers (including some pretty left-field stuff) but this was one that  really stood out for me. I didn’t take any notes so can’t give a good description, but I remember it was really fruity, bright, punchy and clean. It just seemed to stand out somehow – like that person in the room you’ve got a crush on. It seems others had feelings for C!tra too, because it won some sort of people’s choice award thingee on both days. Brewer Joseph Wood must be proud as punch!*

I also really enjoyed Garage Project’s Ring of Fire Pale Ale, Parrotdog’s Bloodhound, and a bunch of others that I can’t quite recall. Unfortunately I only got through about 12 beers in total, which is probably because I spent way too much time yakking.

Speaking of which, I have two more blog posts to write so better shut up. Thanks to Hashigo Zake & friends for a damn fine day!

*Where the hell did this saying come from? And what made that punch so proud?

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm  Comments (6)  

#69 Mike’s & Liberty – Taranaki Pale Ale

Mike's & Liberty Taranaki Pale AleName: Taranaki Pale Ale
Brewery:  Mike’s & Liberty Brewing
Style: IPA
ABV: 7%
Source: Regional Wines (Wellington)

I first had the Taranaki Pale Ale at Galbraith’s a few weeks ago and loved it, but I was doing my post on another collaboration brew that day – Vasta’s Velvet – so didn’t get to write it up.

But now I can! Because I had a rigger sent up from Regional Wines (along with some other amazing beers which will be appearing here soon), which me and Finn took to the park today for a picnic.

Although it doesn’t look particuarly appealing in my slightly dirty plastic vessel, it pours a brilliant orangey-gold with the slightest bit of haze.

The smell is really fantastic – a luscious medley of ripe, tropical fruit and zesty citrus. On the palate there’s a punchy hop bitterness, softened with chewy toffee-like malt. It’s crisp, clean, and has a long dry finish that makes it a perfect summer quencher.

We drank it with my own creation – some prawn sammies with mayo, lettuce and coriander. They weren’t half bad either!

PS – Beer in the sun is one of life’s greatest gifts – but you should always remember to wear sunscreen. (Said she with the lobster face).

Published in: on October 17, 2011 at 10:08 am  Comments (1)  
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