Local taprooms are the stuff of dreams, and the Mythica Brewing taproom is local to me – and a temptation I cannot go past.
I first found Mythica beer in February 2017 when they had two beers: Incubus – a red ale – and Succubus – a golden IPA. If you know these early beers then you’ll remember the artwork on the labels – they’re quite memorable. The beers? Well, they were nice and to style, initially being contract-brewed at Deep Creek in Silverdale
The next time I bumped into Mythica was at the GABS in 2019, where I learned of their plans to open their own brewery in Glenfield, right on edge of the big-box retail heartland on Auckland’s North Shore. I was quite excited, mostly because it’d be a local taproom with fresh, original beers close to where I live.
Mythica has an owner-brewer, Geoff Gill, with contributing shareholders Lia Liefting, Kerry Templeton and partner Camila Bernal Velez. Templeton works for Plant & Food research in their hop-breeding programme in Motueka.
Gill was previously a scientist (biochemistry/microbiology and genetics) and has an interest in Greek Mythology, hence the name Mythica.
They started brewing on their Ellice Rd site with a 350L brewery in mid-2017 and the taproom opened at the start of this year.
Mythica are 29 beers into things now, and there’s hardly been a misstep amongst them. I know I can be effusive about beer at times, but their Amphitrite Hazy IPA is among the best I’ve ever had; if you like hazies like Deep Creek’s Misty Miyagi or the McLeod’s 802 series, then this is a beer that you’d be impressed by.
Despite the stuttering stop-start of a year thanks to Covid-19, the taproom doesn’t show any signs of now slowing down. They offer 10 rotating taps, including two nitro taps for dessert-style beers such as a chocolate stout or a maple spiced ale.
Mythica now also cans some of its beers, starting with three good ones – though limited capacity means your best shot at getting some would be to visit the taproom or their online store (www.mythicabrewing.com).
The canned beers include a favourite style, an old favourite, and a hopeful contender for a summer beer.
Hel Dark Deception Black IPA/NEIPA hybrid
The notes say: “Although black in colouration, it is deceptively low on roasted malt flavour, while hops and yeast esters provide subtle ‘juicy’ undertones more typical of NEIPAs.”
Dark IPA seems overlooked as a style and so it’s always pleasing when you find one – although they can be of varying enjoyment.
On opening, the aroma is surprisingly pleasing; a sweetness and that grassy hop lurking in the background.
The taste? Well, there’s both a lightness and a fullness in this. You don’t initially get an uptake of flavour or nuance, and then suddenly, there it is – quite rich and redolent of something much stronger and more of a stout.
The more I sit with this, the more I like it. It’s deceptively good, deceptively easy to drink and really rewarding where it matters; taste, lingering enjoyment and desirability to drink more of it. I like this beer a lot – it takes you on a journey with great success.
Incubus Red Ale
This is immense. A lovely malt-forward beer with loads of citra hops.
Another visually-amazing beer with a rich ruby red colour. It has big flavours of caramel and a deliciousness that’s had to describe, but so alarmingly easy to drink. This ticks a lot of the right boxes in what you might look for in a beer.
An unusual style done really well, and it has amazing can art.
Kirnis Cherry Sour
Remember the good old days of beer cocktails or beer blends, and how – on the back of Aperol Sprtiz – that might now be morphing to a rise of hard seltzer? Well, none of those things rock my boat, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a summer drink denialist.
With Kirnis I was hoping for a beer that would be an alternative to those things.
The first sip is interesting – a lovely saison-style beer, edging towards the heavier end, but there are some familiar and rewarding notes.
The second sip, when you’ve pondered that first one, is when you can begin to appreciate what the cherries bring to this, and there’s still that stunning looking beer to admire.
On its own then, a lovely, interesting and very different beer. Personally, I’d like the cherries to either to add more tartness or a tart ping, or for it to taste more of cherry without the associated sourness.
Sadly, not the summer of my dreams and imaginations, but it is an amazing-looking beer, and an interesting twist on a style.