When a recently awarded beer turns up again at another competition it’s always good news.  Indicative of sound batch consistency from the brewer, and similarly sound judging consistency from the panels.  It’s also good news for me since I’ve undoubtedly already profiled it. In fact Burkes Unforgiven Porter took me all the way down to Tekapo when it won the Champion Beer at the New Zealand Beer Awards in 2021, and my take on it from back then hasn’t changed.  The nose deftly touches all the porter notes of roasted malt, toffee, chocolate and coffee, with a distinct fresh cream despite the absence of lactose.  The hops integrate perfectly, adding a spice and dried fruit character that holds the whole aroma beautifully aloft.  The palate starts off rich with sweet roasted malt and stone fruit, before pivoting around almost completely into an arresting black coffee bitterness, with drying smoke and flinty minerality which wind together into the earthy finish.  Full-bodied but effortlessly nimble; classic yet mysterious.  Despite being ‘just’ a porter, Unforgiven takes up that one brush and paints a masterpiece in black.

burkes unforgiven porter