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 full 10% is not something I’ve never encountered before.  Big fruity esters adorn the nose, peach starburst lollies, delicate orange citrus, with coriander and white pepper adding some spice.  Sweet pithy citrus ahead of gently warming spice and a hint of ginger on the palate.  Remarkably medium-bodied considering the strength, with fairly low bitterness and a long complex finish.  An excellent drop, and a fine demonstration of how adaptable and robust the saison style is.

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...

Belgian beauties: a dozen classics

Belgian beers are often called gourmet beers due to their complexity, diversity of flavours and affinity with food. So when I came across a special on 12 Belgian beers online, I snapped it up as a Father’s Day present for myself. First up was Lindemans Cassis Lambic,...