DOUBLE VISION The Classic Lager 4.5%abv

Just like lawn mowing, my lager consumption drops off a fair bit at this time of year.  But with the temperature here soaring into the double digits for the first time in a fortnight, I thought I’d crack one open.  We’re on the fruitier side of lager here, with some nashi pear on the nose alongside herbaceous grassiness.  The palate is clean and rapid, with more white fruit and a low bitterness above a smooth grain that gradually moves in.  I could use some more bitterness personally, but for smoothness and hop flavour this is close to perfect. 

TOWNSHEND Lazy Hazy Hazy IPA 5.8%abv

You know a style has well and truly graduated from a fad when Townshend starts brewing it and doing it excellently here too.  Massively potent hop driven nose for the (comparatively) diminutive ABV.  Pine forward with grape, rockmelon and pawpaw further in.  The palate is surprisingly forceful for the strength too, leaning more tropical and stone fruit.  Takes the hazy style right to the line, being marvelously juicy and full-bodied while keeping those flavours taut and under control.  Such a balancing act can’t stay poised for long, so get in there while this one’s at its freshest. 

McLEOD’S Märzen Style Amber Lager 6.1%abv

Märzen is a strong, malty style of lager that originated in 1600s Bavaria.  McLeod’s take has plenty of malt driving the nose, with warm whole grain toast, dates and runny caramel.  On the palate there’s more toasted grain, subtle drying hoppiness and just a little hokey pokey in the lingering finish.  Difficult to categorise alongside other styles, its flavours and body are more like ESB than anything else, but with the crisp refreshing qualities of a lager.  It’s quenching but comforting and satisfying as well.  Interesting, unusual, and excellent. 

YEASTIE BOYS Bigmouth Session IPA 4.4%abv

New Zealand hopped and brewed with a big portion of wheat and oats, this session IPA is all about big character in a small ABV package.  If the aroma is anything to go by then they’ve nailed it.  Absolutely exploding with tropical mango, citrus and grape.  The palate switches up some of the tropical notes, with curious sweet pineapple appearing in a big way.  The multi-grain malt base maintains sufficient body to hold down all those hops while keeping the sweetness way down.  Moderately bitter with a rapidly drying finish.  Tremendous.

THREE BOYS Dystopia Double IPA 7.3%abv

Rich aromas of stone fruit and spice are tightened up with lime and grapefruit citrus.  The palate adds some grassy herbaceous notes and a big, juicy malt character.  The bitterness is firm and the finish long and hop driven.  On the lighter side for a double IPA at 7.3% but packs those flavours in just fine without the extra alcohol.  Designed as an ever-changing experimental batch release, so check back in on the next version for a remixed experience.

WIGRAM Captain Fantastic Hazy IPA 5.8%abv

Classic Christchurch brewers Wigram have checked all the hip beer boxes at once with their latest release.  Nectaron hops, Kveik yeast and (wait for it) … a hazy IPA.  Grapefruit citrus and rockmelon are strong on the nose with just a little stonefruit in the back.  Nicely lifted, energetic palate that bounces between sharp citrus and cooling pine.  The malt base is smooth and otherwise unobtrusive, and the bitterness is well balanced, gradually taking hold through the finish.  A nice example of a more middle strength hazy IPA.

CASSELS Double Cream Milk Stout 8.1%abv

A beefed-up version of Cassels world-beating Milk Stout.  Pungent aroma with tons of roast malt and savory wood smoke, with a rich creamy sweetness looming further in.  The palate is where things really get going though.  Big and weighty, with a mouth coating viscosity that makes the rich malt and lactose cling to the tongue.  All that richness is brought in line by a gripping burned malt bitterness that eventually trims most of the sweetness from the finish.  Get it in front of some sharp cheese and you’re good to go.