The Yeastie Boys are a leading Kiwi craft brewery. The ‘boys’ are Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie, and they’ve been making beer since the late noughties from their base in Wellington (though the beers are actually commercially brewed down at the tip of South Island in Invercargill). These beers are now seen in the UK also, although these are UK-brewed (by Brewdog). They taste just as good. This beer was purchased and drunk in New Zealand.
Yeastie Boys Digital IPA
Focused and citrussy with orange peel, grapefruit and spice. Clean malt character provides a neutral background for the vital, hoppy spicy notes to play. Very refreshing and complex. Finishes quite dry. This is a really nicely balanced, complex, flavoursome and refreshing IPA. 8.5/10
Twin Sails is a brewery based in Port Moody, in Canada’s British Colombia province, run by twin brothers Cody and Clay Allmin. They have established a really strong reputation for their beers. I got hold of a can of this, their Slam Dank Double IPA, in a shop in Penticton, BC, and I really liked it. They describe it as their first trip to the dank side of hops, and they double dry hopped it with large amounts of Mosaic, Columbus and Apollo.
Twin Sails Brewing Slam Dank Double IPA
Made with Mosaic, Columbus & Apollo hops, this is smooth, complex and very refined with subtle tropical fruit, some grapefruit, fine herby hoppy notes, a broad textural mouthfeel and some spicy bite. Brilliant stuff. It’s supposed to be super-dank and very hoppy, but I find it just delicious. 9/10
Based in Wellington, New Zealand, the Garage Project is one of the very best brewers in the country, with a broad, imaginative range, based on sound brewing and good flavours. This Pernicious Weed is a celebration of hops, but despite the alcohol level it’s amazingly drinkable, and not overblown.
Garage Project Pernicious Weed Double IPA, New Zealand
Nelson Sauvin and Rakau hops. Golden/orange colour. Powerful but beautifully balanced with lively, sweet passionfruit and nectarine flavours with some grapefruit freshness. Aromatic and enticing with a lovely rich mouthfeel with some sweet fruity notes and a nice bitter hoppiness, although this never sticks out. The high alcohol adds warmth and brings together all the complex flavours. This is a really exciting, well balanced beer with plenty of impact but also real harmony. 9/10
This is a nice seasonal gem from Goose Island. Kölsch is the name for a pilsner-style top-fermented beer from the town of Kiln (Cologne) in Germany. It’s a bit obscure, but has become popular with US craft brewers of late.
Goose Island Summer Time Kölsch
Gold in colour, this is a deliciously open, full flavoured Kolsch with a strong sweet malty background. It’s very fruity, too, with some ripe apple and pear notes, as well as a bit of orange peel. There are notes of honey and summer meadows, and a bit of dry straw character. The hops sit in the background. Overall, a very drinkable, friendly full-flavoured lager style with a hint of seriousness. 7.5/10
Portuguese beer used to be all about just two beers: Sagres and Super Bock, both perfectly adequate but slightly dull lagers. But as with other countries, there’s a craft beer movement afoot, although it’s very early days. This is the second craft Portuguese beer I’ve come across, and it’s an attractive red ale from Cerveja Letra, based in the Minho in the north of the country.
Cerveja Artesanal Minhota Letra ‘d’ Red Ale, Portugal
Brewed with American hops, this is a full red/brown colour. It has flavours of rich malt, some spice, a bit of citrus peel (tangerine?) and some dried herbs. Quite rich in style with nice texture, but finishing fresh and tangy. Lots of flavour here with some sweetness to the texture. This is really well balanced and quite delicious: it has elements of IPA but also some elements of a stout, with a herby, slightly metallic finish from the subtly burned malt. 7.5/10
This is really smart: a double IPA with blood orange that really works. It’s a collaborative effort from two BC (Canada) breweries: Twin Sails and Boombox. They added 500 lbs of blood orange puree and 2 lbs of orange zest onto a really hoppy DIPA, and the results are amazing.
Twin Sails Brewing and Boombox Brewing Tone Def Double IPA With Blood Orange
Brewed by Boombox in Vancouver, Canada, in collaboration with Twin Sails, this is a remarkable beer. A cloudy yellow/orange colour, it has concentrated flavours that combine bright tangerine and orange with some creaminess and a generous fruity personality. So vivid and bright with some sweetness from the alcohol. Richly textured and multidimensional, this is quite thrilling. 9/10
Bomber Brewing is a relatively new brewery, formed in 2014, by three friends with a love for hockey and beer, based in Vancouver, Canada. This is their fresh hop beer, and it’s a thoughtful, complex, delicious drop.
Bomber Brewing East Van Smash Fresh Hop Simcoe, Vancouver, Canada
4.5% alcohol. Pale in colour, this is a lovely fresh beer, with bright, sappy, piney notes from fresh Simcoe hops. Subtle malt characters here, with an almost pilsner-style maltiness, and it’s really nicely integrated with the sappy, green-tinged hoppy notes. It’s a detailed, complex, bright style of beer with lots of interest. There’s some grapefruit pith on the finish, and it’s appropriately bitter, but balanced. 8/10
This is nice. It’s from Hearthstone, a new brewery from Vancouver’s north shore. It’s simply packaged, in a tall can, and it manages to carry off the west coast, hoppy IPA thing really well.
Hearthstone Brewery India Pale Ale, Vancouver, Canada
95 IBU. Amarillo and El Dorado hops. This has beautiful floral aromatics of green tea, passionfruit, pine needles and fine herbs, with just a touch of malty sweetness. It’s certainly in the fresher spectrum of IPAs. The palate has some sweetness, too, from the alcohol, and it meshes together nicely, with lovely detail and complexity, and attractive resiny/pine-like bitterness keeping the palate focused. A good example of a more hoppy IPA that also shows great balance. 8.5/10
This is an interesting beer from Brewdog. ‘Born to Die’ is a fresh, hoppy IPA, with a date on it. It’s a heavily whirlpool and dry-hopped beer, and the idea is that it should be drunk fresh. The inspiration for this came from San Diego brewer Stone, with their ‘Enjoy By…’ series of beers. They are released as special batches with the idea being that they should be consumed within the month. This is a really lovely beer.
Brewdog Born to Die Terminally Hoppy IPA 04.11.2016
I missed the drink by date by 2 days, but this is still a lovely beer. It’s a gold colour, and has beautiful aromas of spice, grapefruit, cut grass and passionfruit. The palate has sweet tropical notes hemmed in by lovely spicy citrus notes, with orange peel and herbs and a lovely tangy bitterness. There’s some richness, but not as much as you’d expect from the alcohol level. This has real complexity and delightful, balanced hoppy bitterness, and it’s more restrained than you’d expect, and better for it. So fresh. 9/10
I’m currently sitting in The Yeatman, looking over the river to Porto, and drinking a craft beer from the city. This is delicious and a bit different. Cervejas Sovina is the first Portuguese craft brewery I’ve come across, and this is a delicious beer that’s a sort of English/American hybrid in style.
Sovina IPA Cerveja Artesanal, Portugal
Golden bronze in colour, with nice grippy, spicy hoppy notes complementing a rich malt core. There’s a savoury, earthy, herby edge to the palate which shows some bitter hoppy character but also a trace of more exotic fruity notes, too. Tangy, spicy finish is really refreshing. I’d say this is more English in its flavour profile but more American in its intensity and richness. 8/10