Last year Yeastie Boy head brewer Stu McKinlay came up with the idea of brewing a beer with the peated malt that many Scottish whiskey distillers use to make whiskey. Peated malt is cured or kilned over peat fires which impart all sorts of smoky, earthy, spicy characters to the malt. Peated Malts are occasionally used in beers but usually in very small amounts. When Stu was told that 5% was the absolute maximum amount he should consider using he decided he would in his own words “ignore the wowsers” and start with 100% and scale it back from there if he felt the need. Stu combined the peated malt with Willamette hops and a clean subtle American ale yeast. Upon tasting the beer Stu was convinced it was the best thing he had ever brewed, 2 tonnes of peated malt were ordered from Scotland and a full production batch of the beer was produced.
Last week the beer hit the market. The real test came at the launch party when the first unsuspecting member of the public came into contact with one of the most ‘out there’ beers ever produced anywhere. Local beer photographer Jed Soane was in attendance to capture what he calls The Rex Attitude, the moment when people put the glass to their lips and are totally shocked-surprised-delighted by what they encounter.
So what does this totally unique beer taste like?
Rex Pours a light shade of gold with a tight white head and positively broadcasts aromas of deep earthy smoke, some light heathery kipper notes, and a spicy slightly ashen note. In the mouth light fruity citrus tinged hops make an appearance before big earthy smoky slightly medicinal peat character kicks in and slowly fades. Rex Attitude is a hugely complex beer that will change significantly as it ages, it has already changed a lot over the fortnight I have been tasting it.
Rex Attitude is available at Thorndon and Island Bay New World, Rumbles, Moore Wilson’s, Regional Wines, Hashigo Zake, The Hop Garden, and The Malthouse.
Note: unedited version.