Sunday, 19 August 2012

New Zealand craft beer tasting

Among other things, Wellington is known for being the craft beer capital. There is a craft beer trail that enthusiasts can follow and a growing number of microbreweries popping up around the city. It's not surprising considering this city's foodie culture. Just look at how popular events such as Wellington on a Plate are becoming, which Beervana was a part of this weekend.

A few weeks ago, we went to a tasting of New Zealand beers at Wellington's brew pub, Fork & Brewer. After learning more trivia than we imagined possible (or plausible) at another beer tasting last year, I was keen to add some new brews to my tiny but growing beer palette. We sampled four beers and made some interesting discoveries about creative flavour combinations. Apparently, if you can imagine it, you can (sometimes) make it happen!

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.

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