The Canterbury Earthquake was certainly one of the stand-out local news stories of 2010. Given the astonishingly-low levels of harm suffered by people, curiosity was very quickly allowed to return to topics that would always be interesting, but would otherwise seem callous to ask about too soon afterward — things like “what’s going to happen with all those Christchurch beers we like?”
The question was quickly addressed by Wellington beer writer Neil Miller, and by journalist / Beer Nerd / Christchurchian Denise Garland — and the short version of the answer is: not much. Amid some serious and widespread property kablooey, the local craft breweries were relatively lucky.
One particularly-interesting effect of the earthquake, though, was this. Three Boys were back at work a few days after the initial tremor, and were in the middle of a brew of my utterly-beloved Golden Ale. An aftershock interrupted them at a crucial time, but rather than letting it ruin the day’s work and dooming however-many litres to go down the drain, they pulled off some improvising that was as impressive as it is mysterious. The result was named ‘Aftershock’, brewed to an appropriately-memorialising 7.1% — and packaged in cute little bottles adorned with a piece of smashed brickwork (plus a few kegs, sadly brickless).
We had it to cap off the Christmas Dinner for our Beer Club at work. One of the attendees had to go home early, so donated me their share. I really like it. I mean sure, I love the Golden, and the “story” behind this is way too cool to resist — but it’s also, crucially, an inherently worthy thing. Light and fresh, flavourful and interesting, far too drinkable for 7.1% — it has a lot going for it. Its uniqueness and its yumness are seperately sufficient for it to be worthwhile; whether your starting point is the former or the latter, you get the other for free. Lucky you.
Verbatim: Three Boys ‘Aftershock’ 8/12/10 donated flute from Beer Club for waitering their Christmas Extravaganza. 7.1% in honour of the Christchurch quake, an aftershock of which disrupted a brew, leading to the creation of this oddity by the seat of Ralph’s pants. Bottles were adorned with broken masonry, even. It’s just unashamedly odd; and Ralph won’t really be drawn on just how he improvised. A boatload of Green Bullet was suspected… Maybe, but the funk isn’t there, in this glass at least. Steph & Johnnie had a skunkier one at Bar Ed, they say. Whatever the hell it is, it’s crisp, tasty + zingy. But most of the attraction is still the utterly unique story — it’d be worth it just for that, but the beer stands up on its own. (Though you do need the story to justify the price…)