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Pastry stouts have been gathering steam all year, and now we’re starting to see more and more packaged releases like this one.  Chocolate cherry frangipane… the name alone is a mouthful, and I haven’t even tasted it yet.  Curiously it’s the frangipane (the almond dessert, not the phonetically similar flower) that dominates on the nose with that unmistakable marzipan aroma.  The chocolate and lactose fall in behind with the cherry providing just a spark of tartness.  The palate is more of a mix-up, with the roasted malts taking charge along with the nibs and cherry, while the almond retreats into the finish.  It’s a sweet one for sure, but finely balanced with bitterness to keep each mouthful under control and even approaching dry by the end.  One of the most drinkable pastry stouts I’ve encountered thus far, and hopefully a good indicator of brewers continuing to tune the style to produce better and better releases.

Underdogs, outsiders and plenty of surprises at NZ beer awards

It was a watershed edition of the Brewers Guild Awards in 2021, with small players like Alibi and Burkes Brewing coming up golden, while Garage Project, McLeod’s, Altitude and Three Sisters also triumphed.

Sawmill Bare Beer

Sawmill are the second Kiwi craft brewery to come to market with a zero ABV beer, after Bach Brewing's All Day Non-Alcoholic IPA. Sawmill's Bare Beer is a completely different beast (and yes, it is possible to have great variation in these products ... they don't have...

Rhyme X Reason’s Can-do attitude

When Rhyme x Reason rolled up its big doors for the first time on an industrial street in Wānaka in June 2017, it was the first brew pub in town. Now, it might be one of a few — but it remains one of a kind. The brainchild of head brewer Jess Wolfgang and her partner...

Chouffe Houblon Belgian IPA

When I think of Belgian beer, IPA does not typically come to mind.  But such beers do occasionally emerge from the region, and this one of the few readily available in New Zealand.  The hop bill looks pretty modern with Amarillo and Tomahawk along with the more...

Brothers Beer Pop Art Cryo-Hopped IPA

This IPA from Brothers Beer (5.9 per cent ABV) utilises the new Cryo Pop pellets from Yakima Chief. They are extracted from a blend of American hops and designed as a fire-and-forget solution to aroma in an IPA.  Are they any good?  Let’s see… The nose is clean and...

A Mixed Six with Craftwork

For our second edition of the Mixed Six, we chat to Lee-Ann Scotti and Michael O’Brien of Craftwork, Oamaru’s masters of esoteric Belgian styles.  Six questions on their favourite beers:  three about their brews, three about other people’s. Favourite beer in your core...