Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A night in with the boys

The boys have released another couple of dark horses from the stable, so we purchased a few from the shop (Wanaka Fine Wines) and had a little tasting session of our own.

We began with Hud-a-wa' Strong, named after a tough Scottish ancestor, apparently. It pours a rich amber colour and looks like one of the 'ales' you get in the local pub, but it tastes a lot better. The hoppy character and the tart citrus flavours are balanced by a malty warmth that matches the caramel hue - almost with a hint of butterscotch. It's sweeter than I usually like, but ultimately refreshing and satisfying.

Pot Kettle Black is actually one of my favourite New Zealand beers, and once again, it didn't disappoint. This smoky, smooth, licorice and dark chocolate flavoured drop with a dry hop finish is utterly delicious. Like a treacle toffee that doesn't stick your jaws together, it would be perfect for bonfire night, or a winter night by the fire when it's snowing outside. Who am I trying to kid; it's practically perfect any time at all.

And then in the weird and wonderful world of beer, there is Rex Attitude. The boys should be commended on an excellent experiment. I am an unashamed smokehead (as I believe lovers of the Islay malts are called) so I was as keen as anyone (if not keener - just call me Colonel Mustard) to try this one out. It's made with 'heavily-peated distilling malt' - apparently Stu Yeastie was told that 5% was probably the most he could use and still make this beer palatable. So he went with 100%, and, guess what; it's still palatable. Intriguing and frankly quite startling, but palatable. And certainly memorable.

'On the nose' (if I may be permitted to use such a term), I get TCP - very heavily. This would be a drawback if the smell didn't immediately take me back to my childhood. Smoky/peaty whiskies and dry hops also evoke pleasant memories so we are in luck. I imagine that if this were aged it could change in taste so I suppose I will just have to keep trying it and happily creating new memories. Although at 7% I suspect they may remain vague. I also fear that the overwhelming punch of this beer may prevent me from tasting anything else for a while. But I am prepared to face that fear and drink it anyway.

We'll be up at Beervana in Wellington this weekend. Hope to see you there?

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