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May 30, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Beer will be Beer – Surviving the bite of the Zombie

being able to write about beer is a privileged existence. I never get tired of being invited to advanced tastings and product launch nights. I was quietly chuffed when two of these events collided on the same night.

Regional Wines and Spirits beer guru, Kieran Haslett-Moore, had received a number of new samples from Joseph Wood of Liberty Brewing*. He planned to share these with a number of beer writers and Wellington based beer cognoscenti before heading along to the launch of Epic Brewing’s Hop Zombie. I was forewarned—this was going to be a night of Imperial beers**.

My favourite beer from Liberty Brewing was Darkest Day Stout. With an enticing drinking chocolate and spiciness on the nose and a bitter dark chocolate finish in the mouth, it has more in common with Porter than the out-and-out roastiness of a Stout. Weighing in at about 6.0% alcohol, it had the lowest alcohol of the Liberty beers. The good news is that we are likely to see more of these fine ales in the coming month including Darkest Day on tap at Hashigo Zake .

It was with a slight cheeriness that a bunch of us moseyed to Malthouse for the launch on Epic Brewing’s Hop Zombie. The Malthouse was buzzing with the latest release from Luke Nicholas and Kelly Ryan. Ostensibly this 8.5% beer is a Double India Pale Ale but you could be easily fooled into thinking you are quaffing an extremely hoppy Pilsener given the smooth drinkability. The Zombie has lashings of American and New Zealand hops giving it a pronounced nectarine and juicy- fruit gum quality to add to the citrus and pine resin in the mouth.*It is dangerously addictive. Look out for it in 500 ml bottles at good beer stockists.

* Full disclosure: I was a part owner of Liberty Brewing with Stu McKinlay (who is now a Yeastie Boy) many years ago. Stu and I sold Liberty Brewing to Joseph about 2 years ago.

**Whenitcomestobeer,theterm“Imperial”impliesabeerthatisstrongerin alcohol than normally expected for the style.


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  1. Cheers for the mention. But if I’m a guru where is my cult of obedient followers? ‘Beer Specialist’ please :-) . It was a good night even if i thought I was far more sober than Sarah did (read ‘actually was’) when I got home.

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