So it’s time for some of New Zealand’s finest, the Moa. It’s taken a while to come to terms with this Special Edition, sometimes things can leave a nasty taste the mouth. No, not the beer, that’s ‘choice’, the nasty taste comes from the Bledisloe Cup game on Saturday night. My night, like the game, started well. I was out of the blocks quickly with a thirst-quenching NSW Stone & Wood Pacific Ale. I soon moved the ever-reliable South Australian Coopers Pale, strong up the middle and solid in defence. The Coopers performed well and lasted up until the 80th minute of the game when it all went Pete Tongan and the Men In Black came back to win at the death . Now, that really left me feeling bitter.
I tried one of these after the game. It worked, and I soon forgot all about the result. So good was it, that I had another one this evening. It isn’t quite white but it’s certainly pale in colour. The aroma is strong, like you’d expect from a 6.4% ale, there is acetone and pine needles on the nose. The taste explodes on the tongue, hints of elderflower and lip-smacking hoppy bitterness. The tastes lingers and draws you back for another sip. Moa, like the All Blacks, are at the top of their game and this Southern Alps White IPA is the Kieran Read of pales, world-class. Combining both Black and White, here’s Jack White with ‘That Black Bat Licorice’ ………….
Portland-based Bridgeport Brewing is celebrating 30 years of ‘Beervana’. The Oregon brewers have a fine stable of brews but this is the first I’ve come across. With most American IPA’s the “I” stands for “Intense” and Hop Czar is no exception.
‘All Hail The King’ boasts the bottle and this Imperial India Pale Ale lives up its royal billing. This is a feisty American IPA with bags of hops, bittersweet green-apple crumble with hints of citrus rind and a zesty finish. It was great for a winter barbecue and a perfect accompaniment to my homemade burger with mayo, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, picked beetroot, red-onion chutney and melted cheese, topped with The Chilli Factory’s ‘Turbo Supercharge – Extreme Hot Habnero Paste’. Not for the faint-hearted
Here’s beer-lovin’ Frank Black with ‘Czar’ …………… well, he looks like he’s beer-lovin’
This is a new brew from the Cricketers stable, recently acquired by the Asahi brewing giant. The big brewers are catching onto the craft brewing revolution and want a piece of the action. If it improves the overall quality of available beers, then I’m all for it ….. as long as they don’t masquerade as true craft beers (see Liquorland’s ‘Gold Digger’).
This is a pleasant enough beer but it lacks the bite of a real IPA, the ‘I’ bit is missing. Instead you have a fruity pale ale with undertones of lychee, but not enough hopping to give it the bitter finish one associates with an IPA. I wasn’t quite bowled over and score it middle and leg.
Here’s Paul Kelly with the legendary ‘Bradman’ ……..
I’ve come to expect a lot from American pale ales and IPA’s and certainly wasn’t disappointed with this one from the Rochester, NY-based Dundee Brewery.
After a hard day replacing the front deck, this IPA went down a treat. Such complexity in the flavours, dried fruit and caramelised sugars mixed with a subtle bitterness with a hint of malt whisky (or perhaps that was the 6% abv coming through). In fact, it reminded me of a Dundee Cake, whether this was psychosomatic because of the name, I don’t know, but I certainly wanted another slice when I’d finished the first. Have your cake …… and eat it.
Here’s Dundee band, The Associates, with the great ‘going out’ anthem ‘Party Fears Two’. There was a time when we all tried to dance like this …………
Fremantle’s Little Creatures Brewery have added to their stable of great beers with a beefed-up IPA that’s up there with the best. An American style India Pale Ale, packed with hops and citrus flavours.
After the disappointment of Roger’s Beer, it was good to see the West Australians back on form. It’s an IPA with real bite, pleasant pink grapefruit undertones and a great bitter finish. As Jim Carey once said, ‘I like it a lot’.
How come I couldn’t find this when I was in Perth? Perhaps the Sleeping Giant was sleeping.
This beer is a a bit of well kept secret, like it’s sister Gage Roads beer, ‘Atomic Pale Ale’, I rate it very highly. I bought this as my weekend 6-pack (yes, some days I have more than one beer), and this 6-pack packs a punch.
When you wake the giant, you find a crisp dark amber ale full of zing and bite. Grapefruit and Saville Orange rind undertones provide a lip-smacking finish to a full-bodied IPA. An ideal Friday night beer (once you’ve opened a 6-pack, you have to drink the lot, otherwise it goes flat). Weighing in at a hefty 5.4%, this IPA is not for alcopops fans or non Yorkie eaters. I like it a lot.
Here’s Tame Impala playing ‘Elephant’ to 100,000 cider-drinkers at Glastonbury ……..
Before I start on today’s beer I must applaud the restorative powers of O’Brien’s gluten-free pale ale, for I am almost completely cured of the plague that so debilitated me yesterday. Tonight, another beer from the Pete Rawson cellar and this one’s a real winner. There’s nothing feral about this India Pale Ale. The Swan Valley based, Feral Brewing Company have come up with an IPA of real character and substance.
Weighing in at a hefty 5.8%, Hop Hog is golden brown in colour with candy floss on the nose. It’s not overly hopped but is instead is nicely balanced, I taste honeydew melon, with hints of cinnamon and black pepper and a lip-smacking bitter finish. This is seriously good IPA, worth raiding your piggy-bank for.
Be careful what you wish for. Two days of wishy washy lager had lulled me into a false sense of security and so I wasn’t ready for the ‘slap-in-the-face-with-a-wet-fish taste of the ‘Big Eye’. This IPA certainly put the ‘balls’ in Ballast Point. None of your stone fruit here, just pure citrus rind and pith. Bitter with hint of burnt toffee and sea salt, it has real bite and was perfectly matched with the Moroccan chicken tagine I knocked up, with preserved lemons.
After a bit of research I find, “Ballast Point is the result of Jack White and Yuseff Churney following their dream of high quality, craft beers. Handcrafted and bottled in San Diego, California , the Big Eye India Pale Ale is a beer for those who love their beers with high hop content. High in natural bitterness courtesy of the American Columbus and Centennial hops, the Big Eye is a perfect accompaniment to a whole range of spicy foods.” (http://danmurphys.com.au/product/DM_721628/ballast-point-big-eye-india-pale-ale) “Big Eye has an IBU (International Bitterness Units) value of 85, which is high for American-Style India Pale Ale beers, meaning it is bitter for its style” (http://beer.findthebest.com).
At a whopping 7%, it’s not for the faint-hearted or dyed-in-the-wool lager drinkers Big Eye is quite a catch, hook one today.
Jack White would be too obvious, so here’s Big Country with ‘Chance’
Rumour has it that Bury St Edmunds-brewed, Greene King IPA used to the most popular keg beer in the UK. I say ‘used to‘ because the same unconfirmed source told me it has recently been overtaken by that ubiquitous Cornish/Canadian brew, Sharp,s Doom Bar.
It’s easy to see why this is such a popular ale as it choses a middle path and is unlikely to put anyone off. More malty and less fruity than your average IPA, Greene King’s flagship brew slides down very easily.
A testament to its popularity is the fact you can get it hand-pumped at Heathrow Airport ….. who’d have thought? At 3.6% it makes for a good session beer and also made a good companion for a steak pie, with mash and peas. I found the taste became more complex as the beer warmed. I could have quite easily had another one ….. but I’m only supposed to have one beer a day.
From the album ‘Green’, here’s REM with ‘Orange Crush’ …….
Another day, another St Austell brew, life can’t be bad. Proper Job is a new one for me, though the expression, ‘Proper Job’ is a familiar Cornish saying, meaning “right on”, “ansum” or “boodi”. Traditionally, India Pale Ales were brewed for export to British India, slightly stronger than a pale ale and more strongly hopped. ‘Proper Job’ follows this tradition with a abv of 4.5%, citrus overtones and and a nice bitter finish.
Proper Job also happens to be the name of the singing group me father belongs to, so ‘ere’s ‘Proper Job’