I suspected I’d like this; it was recommended by a few people who are usually good for such things (including Kieran, the Beer Wizard in Residence at Regional). But I was pleasantly surprised to utterly freaking love it.
Golden Bear is a tiny little brewery at the top of the South Island — an area charmingly-sprinkled with such neat little operations; it’s a popular area for people to go to drop out of the rat race and do what they love, instead — and a few such people do exactly that and start brewing. The chap from Golden Bear is Californian (the name comes from a symbol for the state), as is my friend and fellow bartender Halena, so I thought I’d split this with her after a shift (much as we’d done with a similarly-fantastic Sierra Nevada ‘Southern Harvest’). I had it all poured and photographed, and then had a minor freak-out when I remembered that I’d lost my pen that night and that all the spares seemed to be blue. I’m very much a Creature of Habit, to the point it borders on being problematic sometimes, and I was hesitant to give in and muck up the colour scheme of Diary II so early. (Diary I has its share of random-pen entries, so I do manage to sort out my priorities, eventually, but they always felt… odd.)
As you can see, it pours a very appealing hazy dark gold and has a pretty damn luxurious big thick white head that is easily resurrected with a little swirl when you’re further down the glass. And you definitely will be swirling it, because you’ll want absolutely all you can get of the insanely lush and fresh fruity nose — helped in part, no doubt, by the brewer’s clever inclusion of actual peaches in the mix. It is, to quote my notes, “just bloody lovely”; absurdly well balanced, delicious, and just different enough.
Verbatim: Golden Bear ‘Bear Trappe’ 2010 27/9/10 $17 @ Reg. 750ml ÷ 2 with Halena after a Monday shift. (The Californian connection again, after all, like with Sierra Nevada Harvest.) 7.5% Cute punny name, nice big-ass bottle with a nifty re-sealable plastic screwcap thing. Big strong Belgian tripel with actual “black-boy” peaches thrown in, rather than just waiting for the sometimes-peachy note you get. Just bloody lovely. Massive fruity + fresh nose, nice thick white head that’s easily resurrected. Neither too-sweet nor too-tart. And damn, am I glad I had a backup black pen; I was freaking out for a second, there.