craft beer version 3.0

Christmas time … when the novelty beers come out to play, and invariably find their way to me from family members who have some vague idea that I’m supposed to be ‘the beer guy’ but very little else in the way of actual beer savvy.  The pick of the bunch this year?  Trooper IPA, brought to you by Iron Maiden — obviously. The actual brewers are Robinsons in Stockport UK (just south of Manchester), who are pretty well regarded as independent brewers and producers of Real Ale.  So, let’s see if half the globe’s worth of transit and then god-knows-how-long sitting on display at ambient temp have killed this one. The unmistakable earth, dried fruit and spice of Goldings hops leads the nose, with more subtle citrus and significant malt heft.  That robust malt backbone carries the bold palate, with fresh grass, spice and citrus hop characters adding lift.  For only 4.3 per cent ABV it carries a surprisingly medium body, with plenty to chew over in the complex and moderately bitter finish.   Although it’s undoubtedly lost something of itself along the way, I can confidently declare this one alive, and more than that, it’s a rare glimpse into the original style of IPA that’s nearly impossible to taste within the realm of New Zealand brewing.

Craft Beer Version 3.0 — What’s The Future

I was in my local coffee spot buying beans when a friend stopped to say gidday. “What’s new in craft beer?” he asked. When I paused for just a moment, he replied for me: “Nothing, right?” One thing craft beer has always done is change things. Its early ethos was...

The Beer Project Summer Roadie

The Beer Project was conceived in July 2009 as a two-year project to document the 50-odd breweries in New Zealand. Obviously, I missed my deadline, not photographing my 50th brewery, Mata, until 2017. And now, the number of breweries has risen to over 200, which at my...

Two Thumb Green Bullet Fresh Hop English IPA

For as much as I’m a champion of fresh hop beers, I’ll be the first to admit they tend to fall into a pretty staid and narrow group of styles.  There’s always good ones and bad ones, but the field itself is typically composed of modern IPAs and pilsners sporting fresh...

Double Vision’s Fresh Hop Triple Treat

Double Vision Brewing are taking fresh hop season to a new level, with a triple treat of collectible, glow-in-the-dark cans, designed to be drunk in a specific order and preferably while reading the companion comic strip. In recent years, DVB have two produced two...

Brothers Beer Gamma Daydream

Fresh hop season is upon us, and with it, Fresh Hop Watch 2024 begins… Feedback from Nelson indicates an exceptional growing season, so I’m expecting big things from this year's releases.  While the best fresh hop beers tend to appear toward the end of the season, the...

Southfarthing Girdly Fine Grain Amber Ale

I was recently brought back a souvenir from a trip to Hobbiton, and uniquely amongst souvenirs, this one was perfect.  A bottle from the range of beers (and ciders) served at that living monument to the Lord of the Rings movie, and crafted to evoke the same quaintly...