First off I started with Hoprocker, a lager brewed with NZ hops and one that in this part of the world is sure to draw comparisons with the Macs beer that shares its name. Unfortunately the Scottish contender has a long way to go with this example being riddled with diacetyl.
Pours a light gold with a quickly disappearing white head. Aroma is totally dominated by a huge dirty butterscotch character with a hint of grassy hops. On the palate the butterscotch is joined by a smoky note, a hint of sourness and a late bitterness. Diacetyl bomb.
So not a great start but things can only get better right? Next up was the Punk IPA I had heard good things about this one and was relieved when clean hoppy aromas wafted up from the glass. While the Hoprocker is marketed as including NZ hops, Punk IPA isn’t but I would be surprised if it didn’t have a healthy dose of NZ hops added late in the boil. Tasting broadly like a cross between Emerson’s Pilsner and Three Boys IPA Punk IPA was a solid NZ style pale ale, from
Punk IPA 6%abv
Pours a light gold with a thick white head. Aroma features resiny hops, citrus particularly grapefruit, and passionfruit. On the palate there is good deal of perceived bitterness right from the start. Grapefruit and passionfruit are continued with just enough sweet pale malt character to cushion the bitterness.
Next up was Hardcore IPA, punks bigger brother. So Bad Brains went on the stereo, I did my best Henry Rollins impersonation and I got ready for what should have been a fantastic beer. It wasn’t . I have tasted a limited number of Imperial IPA’s a couple from NZ and a couple from the States and let me tell you this had very little in common with any of them. Alcoholic heat obliterated almost anything else this beer might have been able to offer. At the time I muttered something along the lines of it being similar to washing you mouth with vodka prior to performing self dentistry.
Hardcore IPA 9%
Pours a light gold with a fluffy white head. Aroma features butterscotch and big solventy hot alcohol with hints of bubblegum and the slightest trace of resiny hop. On the palate there is a mouth coating alcoholic sensation, sweet cloying malt and a huge warming alcoholic finish that reminds me of shoting vodka. Dire beer.
Time for some redemption. Last up was the stout Riptide and a cracker it was to. Full of all the right flavours it was a well constructed beer that drank well below its strength (is that a good thing?) and much improved my plummeting opinion of the brewery.
Pours a very dark ruby with a tan fluffy head. Aroma features confected malt character with hints of green banana, astringent grain and chocolate. On the palate there is a creamy mouth feel, chunky chocolate and toffee a resiny hop note and a long balancing roasty finish. Great strong stout but not an Imperial in my opinion.
And so to my title, who let the dogs out? Two of these beers should never have left the brewery gates let alone travelled the length of the earth to be sold for a small fortune. Even rising stars need to worry about quality control. Next up will be the kings of keg Meantime.