Last updated on July 5, 2016
This is an ever-growing, regularly updated list of what I’ve been drinking lately:
Three Boys Oyster Stout: First one for the season – and it was super-smooth on handpull. There was an briny edge, some tacky tarriness, and an underlying sweetness. Perfectly balanced and downed as quickly as half-dozen oysters. 8.5/10
Liberty C!tra: On tap at 16 Tun is downtown Auckland before dinner (at Baduzzi – good food but touristy as you’d expect in Wynyard quarter). This was tasting so fresh and vibrant. I could smell it when it was still in the bartender’s hand. If anything it tasted a tad sweeter than my memory of previous versions. Perhaps that’s a product of the new brewery. Either way, it was so good I wanted to stay and drink it all night. 10/10
Emerson’s Bird Dog: At the opening of the new Emerson’s brewery – this reworked IPA benefits from the whirlpool added to the new brewery. Longer, rounder hop flavour. Super easy drinking at 7 per cent. Sensational right now. 8.5/10
Funk Estate Yes Yes Y’all: One of the best session pale ales I’ve had this year. Firm bitterness, full flavour, well balanced, so-so quaffable. A real summer satisfier – when the warmer weather returns! 9/10
Good George Coffee IPA: I was really worried how the bitter on bitter combo of coffee and hops would treat my palate but this is a revelatory surprise. Executed with gentle restraint and works surprisingly well with an Ethiopian coffee bean that has some fruity-citrus hop characters. Very dry mouth-finish. 7/10
Garage Project Cabbages and Kings: An imperial stout made with oysters and horopito. Amazing art work, as to be expected, on bottle. Inside is dense, rich, briny, spicy, boozy … definitely one to share as it’s a meal in a glass. 9/10.
Bach Brewing Tailfin American IPA: Tailfin, at a well-pitched 6.5 per cent alcohol, possesses an almost perfect hop-sweet suite of flavours. There’s all the juicy tropical fruit elements we’ve come to expect from this style of beer – passionfruit, pineapple, lychee, guava and peaches – and just enough underlying bitterness to counteract what could be perceived as a cloying, rich sweetness. 9/10
Epic Eric The Red: I’m a big fan of red IPA but it’s also a hard beer to get right and can often come off a bit metallic or rusty. This goes straight to the top of the rankings list and is a benchmark for others. Creamy, soft maltiness and a gently firm hop wave. It’s probably the best red IPA going around at the moment. 10/10
Moa Cherry Sour: A Belgian Lambic style at 7 per cent made with cherries and fermented with brettanomyces. Sprightly, rural, fruity – appealing like that slightly sour fruitiness from your compost container. Delicately drinkable for a 7 per center and delicious. Needs food – read cheese – to bring out its best qualities. 8/10.
Hallertau OG Original Gangsta: They say it’s the original recipe for Maximus, which when I first had it going back six or seven years, it blew away my relatively immature palate. This reincarnation is just divine. Coherent, tight hopping delivers flavour, aroma and bitterness. 8/10
Behemoth Mango IPA: Honestly couldn’t work out whether I loved this or not. The aroma was spot on with mango notes jumping out of the glass and delivering a sweet hit that bedded down nicely with the malt but the bitterness was scratchy and aggressive. The two were in a constant tug of war – so much so I went back for another to see who would win; so I must have liked it, yeah? 6.5/10