‘PKB’ — as it quickly became known; the full version of the name is meant to highlight the seeming-contradiction in a beer being both hoppy and dark — was the first Yeastie Boys release. It also — appropriately enough — went on to contradict their usual modus operandi by returning for batch after batch (slightly tweaked, each time). It’s now intended to be available year-round, in these fetchingly-labelled 330ml bottles.
The rumour around Beer Nerd circles was that this first bottled batch had its hops ‘backwards’, with the result that there was less emphasis on the citrussy American Cascade hop front. I’m not sure whether it’s true or not — there is a disturbing little trend, even among properly-geeky craft brewers, of ‘covering up’ these little accidental variations that happen from time to time — but even if it is, from my tasting of this first-batch bottle, it’d only mean this was effectively another minor ‘remix’, and still a delicious, conspicuously-hopped, rich dark ale.
Deciding how to style-tag ‘Her Majesty’ was difficult enough, but this one complicates things in its own way, too. In both cases, I’ve opted for ‘Porter’, and Porter is how PKB was initially pitched, although always with things like “American-style” or “hoppier-than-usual” appended to the front. Truth is, this really deserves credit for being part of the emergence of what will amount to the newest craft beer style: Black IPA. More and more breweries are experimenting in this direction, with frequently-delicious results.
Verbatim: Yeastie Boys ‘Pot Kettle Black’ 8/9/10 330ml from Stu himself @ Beervana time. 6% The first bottled Yeastie, and the rumour among the beer nerds is that the hops are backwards, lessening the Cascade focus. (In this batch, at least.) Seems plausible, but that would only ever relegate this to “delicious Porter” — [with] a touch more zip + zest than usual. Ooh, it grows, though.
Verbatim: Renaissance ‘Stonecutter’ Scotch Ale. Partially because of a long day, partially because it’d go well with sitting and finishing off a couple of books, partially because of the easier-going one I had in Melbourne, and partially because I didn’t yet have a photo of it, I had another one of these. And oh my god do I love it to bits. Absolutely huge malty fruity flavour to it. Big and dark and smooth and a little bit Christmas cakey, it hides its 7% booze worryingly well, and often proves itself surprisingly popular with the “I don’t drink beer” crowd, once we just plonk a taster in front of them and insist they have a go.
Afterthoughts, November 2010: The books, incidentally are, 1) Irreligion, by John Allen Paulos and 2) The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. Both are utterly excellent in their very-different (althought thematically-related) ways. And it’s only just occurred to me that a beer named after the Freemasons-lampooning sect on The Simpsons makes an extra-good accompaniment to such reading material. Aren’t I (accidentally) clever?
Verbatim: Croucher Pale Ale, from Rotorua, but with none of that city’s usual aromatic downsides. An after-work drink, and a pretty damn good one. It’s a little bit Little-Creatures-esque, what with being a pale ale, but not being a thwack in the head with a fistful of hops. More just a nice big glass of lively, pleasantly fruity goodness.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: If I compare something to Little Creatures Pale Ale, then I like that thing a lot. Just so you know. People too-often ask what my favourite beer is (I say too-often because it’s such a loaded question; for what? for when? for how-many in a row?), but if there has to be one all-time winner, Creatures Pale is likely it. For inherent and circumstantial reasons, like any proper ‘favourite’. But if the dear Critters weren’t so blessedly readily available here in the Little Country, methinks I’d drink bucketloads of Croucher’s Pale.
This is a beer I’ve had on many occasions, and have a real fondness for. Its first Diary entry occurs here in April 2005 (also the first English listing) but even that mentions that it’s been enjoyed before. And the photo here comes from years after that, when I randomly spotted it in the fridge at the Malthouse. Saw it in a photo I’d taken the night before, in fact, and went straight back to have some.
I’d only just recently (at last!) gotten myself a nice digital camera (or a camera at all, if it comes to that), so the new-gadget enthusiasm coupled with the beer nostalgia made taking a photo irresistible, despite the funny looks that doing so drew. I liked how it turned out, and a habit was fairly instantly formed.
Verbatim: Badger Tangle Foot. 500ml, $5, 5.0%, 16/4/05. Loads of Brit stuff @ K&G’s. So the return of tangle foot. Love it. Amber ale. Quite distinctive, almost fruity. Mystery warmness to it. Can definately see how it was named. “Deceptively drinkable”, as they say. Badger was est’d 1777. Who knew? Coppery. Like the überhopped Macs, almost.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: The “überhopped Macs” I mention was their ‘Copperhop’, a now-retired IPA that I remember as being quite decent. A quick look at the reviews finds a decent amount of praise for its balance; malt and hops in harmonious presence. That could be what I’m on about, in my comparison.