Christmas time … when the novelty beers come out to play, and invariably find their way to me from family members who have some vague idea that I’m supposed to be ‘the beer guy’ but very little else in the way of actual beer savvy.  The pick of the bunch this year?  Trooper IPA, brought to you by Iron Maiden — obviously. The actual brewers are Robinsons in Stockport UK (just south of Manchester), who are pretty well regarded as independent brewers and producers of Real Ale.  So, let’s see if half the globe’s worth of transit and then god-knows-how-long sitting on display at ambient temp have killed this one. The unmistakable earth, dried fruit and spice of Goldings hops leads the nose, with more subtle citrus and significant malt heft.  That robust malt backbone carries the bold palate, with fresh grass, spice and citrus hop characters adding lift.  For only 4.3 per cent ABV it carries a surprisingly medium body, with plenty to chew over in the complex and moderately bitter finish.   Although it’s undoubtedly lost something of itself along the way, I can confidently declare this one alive, and more than that, it’s a rare glimpse into the original style of IPA that’s nearly impossible to taste within the realm of New Zealand brewing.

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.