Dogfish Head 90 Minute (named for the continuous hopping process used) IPA is one of the grandfather’s of strong American IPA.  It’s difficult to find in New Zealand, and even more difficult to find in good condition, but it’s something I think all lovers of strong IPA like myself should try at least once and taste where this thing started.   There’s distinctly barleywine-type malt intensity on the nose, with orange barley sugars before dried apricot, candied citrus peel and sweet pine.  Luscious malt sweetness is again first on the palate, tempered by juicy bitter orange and stonefruit.  With an unabashedly full body and comparatively (for 9 per cent abv) moderate bitterness, this would probably be classified as an American Barley Wine rather than IPA if it was released today.  But categories aside, this is an immensely rich and satisfying drop that’s defiantly malt forward in today’s hop dominated world.

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...

Urbanaut Imperial Saison

Since it began with that outrageous 15% Hazy IPA, these seasonal mini-imperials in 250ml cans from Urbanaut have become one of my favorite series of beers.  Saison is a style that scales up comfortably, getting up around the 8% mark in the strongest examples, but a...