#355 Three Boys – Aftershock

Name: Aftershock
Three Boys (Chch, NZ)

It’s the final countdown!

There are just 10 days and 10 beers left until I complete Beer For a Year, and I promise to make each one count. No more of this Budweiser, Pirate BS – we’re looking at pure gold from here on in. *looks at empty beer cupboard nervously.*

Like the Twisted Hop’s ‘Red Zone Enigma’, Aftershock is a one-off by-product, if you will, of the Christchurch earthquakes. In this case, the Boys were at some crucial stage of brewing their Golden Ale when a violent aftershock cut the power off. Rather than freak out and cry-eat like I would, they quickly improvised and turned the brew into a different beer entirely.

Each bottle of this limited release beer was sealed in wax and adorned with a little piece of brick from a fallen building. Unfortunately my brick fell off and got lost, but the upshot was that it wasn’t so much of a collector’s item anymore and I didn’t have to feel bad about drinking the beer.

It’s been almost two years since this was bottled, which seems like a long time in the life of an IPA. I was half-expecting it to have lost its mojo, but actually, I reckon it just might have been hitting its prime.

It was interesting to look on Ratebeer.com and see other people describing grassy (and in one case, oniony) hop aromas in 2011, when I got masses of grapefruit and toffee (essentially marmalade) with a touch of pine. Did the flavours change over the extra year, is my nose just rubbish – or is it a little of both?

In the mouth it was really elegant, with firm sweet malt, citrus pith bitterness and just the right amout of bite. The balance was perfect – it was refreshing despite it’s reasonable ABV, smooth yet fizzy, and neither too bitter nor too sweet . It was incredibly well made I think, and remarkably so when you consider the circumstances in which it was conceived.

Today’s little thank you note is going out to Finn (can I get an “awwww”) who hasn’t had a whole lot to do with the blog itself, but has tolerated the hundreds of hours over evenings and weekends that it has taken up without complaint. He’s also given me countless rides home from Galbraith’s, and happily finished every single bottle of beer that I couldn’t. Now that’s love.

Published in: on July 30, 2012 at 9:20 pm  Comments (1)  

#334 Three Boys – Pils

Three Boys Pils Name: Pils
Brewery: Three Boys (Chch, NZ)
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5.5%
Source: Elliot Stables

I had this Three Boys Pils at Elliot Stables recently, which is a posh European-style “foodcourt” in the CBD. I always freak out in foodcourts because I want to eat everything and then end up with something sub-par like sushi, but at this place it’s hard to go too wrong.

The other bonus of Elliot Stables is that, obviously, you can drink there. The bottle shop has a very small but interesting selection of beers (Pink Elephant’s Pink’s Peculiar was on the list for example), and if you’re stingy and have a bottle-opening iphone case like me, you can get around paying any corkage.

This is a pretty classic pils – simple, refreshing and gently hopped. I didn’t get anything on the nose other than malt and metal at first, but as it warmed up this bouquet (wanky word I know, sorry) of grassy, earthy and slightly spicy hops emerged. In the mouth there was a honey sweetness, and a lightly bitter dry finish.

My general verdict is “great, if you like that sort of thing”, but unfortunately I’m yet to become a great appreciator of pilsners. As always though, I’ll happily take one on a summer’s afternoon when I’m thirsty, etc etc…

Published in: on July 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

#296 Three Boys – Cervesa Mas Fina

Name: Tres Amigos Cervesa
Brewery: Three Boys (Chch, NZ)
Style: Lager
ABV: 5%
Source: Glengarry’s

Ohhh snap, here I am back at Spicy Joint just three days after my last visit. There’s just something about deep-fried meat of questionable origin floating in bowls of dried chilli that I can not resist.

I really don’t know what’s going on with this latest offering from three boys, but I like it. I mean, you can tell from the fact it’s in a clear bottle that it’s not going to be a flavour sensation… But it’s all in Spanish! And the logo of the three little Mexican stickmen… So cuuuuute!

I can’t find anything on the internet about this beer, or what possessed three boys to have a punt at a Mexican lager (which isn’t exactly the most highly regarded beer in the world), so I put the Spanish blurb on the lable into Google Translate hoping to get some answers. It said:

The three friends is the flavor of Mexico to the brewery three boys. Enjoy it cold and straight from the bottle with a slice of lemon! Have it after mowing the lawn, next to the grill or on the beach. Hencha with the traditional Mexican method [??] to the height of a kiwi summer. Health!

You know how I feel about pale lagers and you know I did not love this beer, but it did bring back memories of Mexico for me. I even thought I sensed the faint taste of Jalepenos – but again I was tripping on chillies and and pig’s trotters so it’s hard to say.

One thing I can be sure of is that this would make for an excellent Michelada base, so if I have this again (and I might just for the cute stickemen), instead of lemon I’ll be adding Tobasco sauce, Worcester sauce, lime juice, Maggi seasoning sauce (secret ingredient), and salt. Health!

Published in: on June 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

#182 Three Boys – IPA

Name: IPA
Brewery: Three Boys (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Style: IPA
ABV: 5.2%
Source: Waiheke Wines

It’s a funny thing. The first time I had this I wasn’t all that fussed – I thought it smelled a lot like feet, and compared to the Mash Up and Hop Zombie I had just drunk, it seemed a bit naff.

Now I’ve learned an important lesson. Don’t try and judge anything after you’ve had a Mash Up and  Hop Zombie, because aside from the fact that you’re barely sober enough to register actual flavours, they will bully any smaller beers into a corner.

I enjoyed this beer much more the second time around. It didn’t smell like feet (I still can’t explain that one), and on a fresh palate the flavours were much more pronounced

On the nose I got a lovely hoppy smell of grapefruit, flowers and pine resin, and a distinctive biscuity malt . In the mouth it was the same – predominantly citrusy and grassy hops, a light malt backing and a little grain, with a fairly bitter finish.

This is a bit like yesterday’s beer – a little more reserved than most of the IPAs we get over here, but also more quaffable at 5.2%. And do we like Quaffable? Yes. We. Do!

Published in: on February 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm  Comments (2)  

#90 Three Boys – Wild Plum Ale (2010)

Three Boys WIld Plum AleName: Wild Plum Ale
Brewery: Three Boys (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Style: Fruit Beer
ABV: 7,7%
Source: Regional Wines

The more astute readers out there may have noticed that there are two things about this post which appear… well, a bit off.

The first thing – well done if you noticed – is that there is no beer in my glass. This is not some kind of emperors new clothes shit that I’m trying to pull, it’s just that I actually attempted to do my first video blog with this beer and so didn’t take a picture – except for one at the beginning in anticipation of the video sucking. It did suck, massively – partly because I got a phone call halfway through and partly because I ramble even more when I’m talking than when I write.

So here I am, writing as usual about a beer which – hang on a minute – I’ve already reviewed! Actually not quite. The last time I had this beer it was the 2011 version on tap, and this one is the 2010 batch in a (beautifully wrapped) bottle. Different enough for me I say, and I make the rules of the blog.

The reason I’m having it again is not because I’m running out of beers (not even close), it’s just that last time it was in a big pint glass and a bit warm and weird and probably not as good as it could have been. Kieran at Regionals said I really should try the 2010 one, and kindly sold me a bottle that he had in the cellar.

Like last time, the beer poured a warm golden colour with a hint of rose, and a small fluffy head that diminished quickly. Unlike last time, it smelled amazingly good. The last one had smelled beery with a hint of plum/fake cherry, this time it was intensely plummy – quite a bit like tinned plums actually in that it was a sweet, concentrated, and slightly aged somehow. Beautiful!

In the mouth the difference was even greater. It was so much fuller this time, creamy and sweet with just a little tartness at the finish, where last time it had been quite sour. The flavours were more complex, and it had a real liqueur vibe to it – quite a lot like Japanese plum wine.

I was quite amazed at how different my two Wild Plum Ale experiences were, and I guess it just goes to show that fresh is not always best. I’m going to look out for some more to cellar (though I bet they won’t last long)
and others to give away as Christmas presents. I won’t even have to gift wrap them!

Published in: on November 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm  Comments (2)  

#54 Three Boys – Wild Plum Ale

Three Boys Wild Plum Ale Name: Wild Plum Ale 2011
Brewery: Three Boys (Christchurch, new Zealand)
Style: Fruit beer
ABV: 7.7%
Source: On tap at Galbraith’s Ales

I thought I was going to drink a barley wine last night, but decided that on a grey Saturday afternoon the best place to be was Galbraith’s. Of course, the rest of Auckland had decided that when Scotland and England are playing rugby the best place to be is Galbraith’s, so when I got there I found I could barely breathe for orange wigs, facepaint and kilts.

Me and Olivia headed outside and found a nice spot by the fire, taking with us a Coronado Islander IPA and a Three Boys Wild Plum Ale. We drank the IPA first which was like a luscious summer dessert – sticky tropical fruit, toffee, a creamy mouthfeel and sharp bitter finish. Olivia actually declared it to be the best beer she had ever tasted which is a big call, but not undeserved…

I had planned to post the IPA as my beer of the day, but after tasting the seasonally-released Three Boys Wild Plum Ale we both agreed that it was so interesting that I had to write about that one instead.

It looked fairly ordinary really – by which I mean it wasn’t bright purple, as you might expect for a beer that’s made with plums. The smell didn’t give too much away, either. I could sense a bit of stonefruit – not necessarily plums, a little alcohol, and some malt. I have to agree with Olivia though, who said “mostly it smells like beer.”

That’s why we were so surprised when we took a sip. A sour bomb went off instantly, followed by a burst of ripe plum, maraschino cherries, a little caramel sweetness and a bitter (not hoppy, but tart) finish. The flavour is really quite incredible – so intensely plummy that it’s almost a caricature… like sour, plum-flavoured boiled sweets.

I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of the beer -we kept marveling at it’s individuality with each sip – but after a certain point  it seemed to fall apart a bit. By that time the poor beer had been near the fire for about 45 minutes, and the sour plum flavour seemed to get thinner and a bit unpleasant as it got warm.

If I had this again (and I plan to), I would have it chilled (obviously), and in a smaller, more elegant glass. In the summertime at my mum’s house we’d sometimes have champagne flutes of Moscato d’Asti (cheap but delicious sweet, sparkling Italian wine) before dinner, and I fancy the idea of drinking the Wild Plum Ale like that. I’d also like to get it in a paper-wrapped bottle next time, because it looks so beautiful – see!


so damn fancy

Published in: on October 2, 2011 at 11:18 am  Comments (4)  

#14 Three Boys Oyster Stout

Three Boys Oyster Stout Name: Oyster Stout
Brewery: Three Boys (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Style: Oyster Stout
ABV: 6.2%
Source: Glengarry Ponsonby

I said earlier today that my palate wasn’t refined enough to pick up on things like oyster flavours in a beer, and I thought I’d just make absolute sure of that by taste-testing a Three Boys Oyster Stout.
The things I do in the name of research!

The Oyster Stout does indeed contain Bluff oysters, which to me seems both wonderfully decadent and borderline bonkers.

I’ve just done a bit of research (Wiki’d it) and apparently the first known use of oysters in the brewing process was in 1929 in New Zealand. Cor, first that, now Rex Attitude – Kiwi brewers certainly are are a pioneering bunch!

Apparently the protein in the oysters give the beer a bit more body*… and a lot of people say that if you drink more than six of them you will actually start talking like a pirate. Nah, nobody says that, some people do that they can detect a hint of sea/brine/oysters when they drink it though.

The OS pours an almost pitch-black with a decent tan head. It smells of bitter roasted coffee, and dark chocolate. Once in the mouth I also got other subtle flavours – soy sauce, little a herby/medicinal note (licorice?) and something like the strong, dark treacle that my grandma used to give me on a spoon as a kid. It’s slightly spicy with a nice bitter kick at the end, and has a smooth, full mouth feel. Unfortunately – or perhaps actually quite fortunately, I just couldn’t pick up on any shellfish.

Arrr, matey, ’tis a fine stout indeed!

*According to my dad people used to put dead rats in cider for the same purpose. Somehow less appealing, no?

Published in: on August 22, 2011 at 9:39 am  Comments (7)