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 traditional Saaz.  But it’s still a Belgian beer, so of course it’s 9% ABV and bottle conditioned. On the nose there’s dry grassiness, with citrus and peach further back, and alongside the hop notes there’s that delicately malty, faintly candy-floss aroma of Belgian Tripel, which will be what’s running under the hood here.  The flavour is intense, some stone fruit and smooth malt richness before a near-immediate blast of bitterness which totally grasps the palate.  But as that bitterness subsides the fruit returns and uniquely blends with the ripe Belgian yeast esters to create a complex and curious finish. Probably better described as a hoppy Tripel than an IPA, this is a fascinatingly unique fusion of traditional Belgian character rammed at high speed into super-hoppy American style IPA.

Panhead Sandman Hazy Pale Ale

Just released in six-packs, the strikingly packaged Sandman makes a new addition to the Panhead core range.  Super fresh and juicy aromas of pineapple, passionfruit and melon on the nose.  Delightfully refreshing on the palate, with more tropical and crisp white fruit...

Volstead Lupulin Block West Coast IPA

A new release from Christchurch’s IPA specialists, the Volstead Trading Company this 6.5 per cent IPA is fueled by American Sultana and Chinook hops. The aroma brings bright grapefruit citrus, zesty orange peel and spice over an expressive malt richness.  The palate...

Garage Project 10 Triple Hazy IPA

A big birthday requires a big beer and in this case Garage Project have delivered a monster! Fresh off their win at the 2021 NZ Beer Guild Awards, New Zealand’s Champion Large Brewery of the year has produced a triple hazy IPA celebrating 10 years in the brew...

Garage Project Tiny But Mighty alcohol free Hazy IPA

Light IPAs have made great strides in the past few years, but a truly alcohol-free example that still drinks well has always seemed like an impossible target.  But this year some brewers have finally begun to make the breakthrough.  The aroma in this sub-0.5 per cent...

Spaten Oktoberfestbier

Oktoberfest suffered its second cancellation due to Covid-19 in as many years, and while this must be a crushing disappointment for the Bavarians, there’s actually a silver lining in it for us.  With so much of the Oktoberfest beer going un-drunk in Germany, more...

ChinChiller Touch My Wenis Pilsner

From ChinChiller, the production arm of Christchurch’s Brew Academy, this curiously-named pilsner refers to the Covid-19 elbow-handshake that was ubiquitous around the time it was first being brewed.  A battery of New Zealand hops (Wai-iti, Motueka, Pacifica, Riwaka)...