Here are my beginner's beer sampling impressions:
- We started with a kiwi pilsner from Dunedin brewery Emerson's. Even though it boasted an overly citrus flavour (which I usually love), it was far too hoppy for me.
- Our next beer came from Croucher Brewing in Rotorua. The pale ale had a toasted caramel colour and heavy grain flavour. I found it less bitter than the pilsner but wasn't keen on the aftertaste, even though this is supposed to be one of its best features.
- Our most unusual beer was from Mata Beer in Kawerau: hangi flavoured beer. Everything about the tasting notes sounds wrong: spicy pumpkin, smoky bacon and 7.4% alcohol are more like something you would take an hour to eat, but it worked surprisingly well in a glass with a lingering aftertaste. It even warranted buying a second glass to have with dinner.
- We finished our tasting with another offering from Croucher's: coffee stout. It (obviously) had a strong coffee scent but the flavour was not too overpowering. At 5.6% alcohol, it packs a reasonable punch but the finish was surprisingly pleasant.