The Champion Beer at the 2021 Brewers Guild Awards pours black and heavily opaque for its lighter 5.9 per cent ABV, with exceptionally tight and creamy coffee-tan head, which may well be a result of its time stored under higher carbonation.  The nose deftly touches all the porter notes of roasted malt, toffee, chocolate and coffee, with a distinct fresh cream aroma despite the absence of lactose.  The hops integrate perfectly, adding a spice and dried fruit character that holds the whole aroma beautifully aloft. The palate starts off rich with sweet roasted malt and stone fruit, before pivoting around almost completely into an arresting black coffee bitterness, with drying smoke and flinty minerality which wind together into the earthy finish.  Full bodied but effortlessly nimble, classic and yet mysterious.  Despite being ‘just’ a porter, Unforgiven takes that one brush and paints a masterpiece in black.

Three Boys Gas NZIPA

Three Boys Gas NZIPA was originally brewed as a collaboration with Burkes and took third place at the 2021 Smiths IPA challenge.  Now Three Boys have got it into cans for a wider release in their Brewers Reserve series.

State of the Hazy Nation Revisited

Luke Nicholas talks about what makes a great hazy IPA and why he believes so many people are falling in love with them.

Issue 60 Summer 2021-22

A road trip to Tekapo to find New Zealand’s best beer, a trip to Waiheke to discover Alibi, the Champion Exhibitor at the Brewers Guild Awards. Plus New Zealand’s Beer Hall of Fame, Small Gods, the state of the hazy nation, and breweries cranking out bike beers.

Editor’s choice: 10 best beer moments of 2021

It's been a long time since I tried to do a list of "best" beers of a year. It's just too damn hard to sort great beers into some kind of ranking order.   I'm more fond of the memorable beers. Occasions. Moments when whatever I was drinking made me stop and really...

Capital Diary December — Festive Bevvies

December beer drinking kicked off with the Summerstock festival where 31 Wellington venues each showcased a summer beer brewed by a NZ craft brewer. The festival lasted a week and I managed to get a taste of 13 before they sold out. The standouts for me were: Brew...

Craftwork Good Lord Abbey Tripel

From Oamaru’s Belgian style maestros, Craftwork, Good Lord is an unusual bottle-conditioned Tripel.