To completely change the tone and attempt to bring in a better class of reader, this week’s title comes from William Shakespeare, a famous (probably real) writer and definitely not a professional wrestler. [2] He penned the immortal line “Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” [3]

Sourfest, a celebration of piquant and pungent brews, approaches at Malthouse. The festival will start on 11 March 2016 and will continue right through until the sour beers run out. That could be quite a while as Sourfest will showcase around 20 local sour beer examples from breweries large and very small. Eager “Sour Lollies” [4] will have seen in last week’s blog my notes of wildly varying qualities on over a dozen sour beers. The sours covered there were:

Renaissance Citrus Kiss (3.7%)

Invercargill Boysenbeery Sour (5%)

Choice Bros Tremble Like a Flower (3%)

Tuatara Tart (7.9%)

North End Rivage Brux (6.2%)

Wild and Woolly Orchard Sour

Black Dog 14 Month Barrel Aged Sour

Garage Project Wabi Sabi Sour (7.7%)

Good George Waikato Sour (6.5%)

Hallertau Funkonnay (6.5%)

Hop Federation Cherry Berliner Weisse (4%)

Moa Persimmon Sour (6.7%)

Fork Brewing Tainted Love (6.2%)

mike’s The Strawberry Lies Down on Lambic (5%)

Eagle Golden Sour (3.8%)

ParrotDog Rarebird Tomtit (5.6%)

Sparks Brewing Forbearance Sour (3.6%).

It was noted that beers are also expected from 8 Wired and Funk Estate

Brewer Kerry Gray has provided additional notes on his “Polish Sour Cherry Beer” called Choice Bros Tremble Like a Flower (3.0%) It is always great to hear directly from the brewer, particularly when this writer has no idea what a “Polish Sour Cherry Beer” is. My only advice would be to – “do not put it on tap next to a German Wheat Beer.”

Right, if we are quite done mentioning the war, [5] here are exclusive notes from Kerry Gray on Tremble Like a Flower:

“It’s tasting pretty lush, reminiscent of Cantillon, light, clean, refreshing and not over the top in sourness or fruit. It’s designed to be traditional workers brew, to be consumed by the full glass as a refresher during lunch.

None of this palate wrecking penis comparing business that has happened recently with sours competing to be like a Short Circuit lolly from our childhood.

FYI – I had 2 separate fermenters of this same beer. One of them fermented clean, the other had some natural funk from the cherries. I kegged one of each fermenter and one blend of 50/50. Malthouse will have the blend pouring.” [6]

The twenty odd sour beers [7] from New Zealand brewers will be joined by some international sours ranging from the classics to the cutting edge. These include Wild Beer/Burning Sky/Fork Brewing Schnoodlepip 2015 (Somerset – 6.5%), Wild Beer Squashed Grape (Somerset – 5%), Lindeman’s Gueuze (Belgium – 5.5%) and Boon Kriek (Belgium – 4%).

While researching this post, I was reading the latest Malthouse list of guest taps. There is a section of five beers, right next to each other, which made me salivate. Quite a shame it was 9am and Malthouse would not open for many hours. Here is the list and some short notes:

Epic Hop Zombie (Auckland – 8.5%): One of my all-time favourite IIPAs and my beer of choice at Malthouse for many years.

Fork Brewing/Breakside ORE India Golden Ale (Wellington – 9%): My beer of choice at the Fork & Brewers since a few minutes after it was made.

Rocky Knob Snapperhead IIPA (Mt Maunganui – 7.4%): My overall number one beer of 2015. It also picked up a Gold medal at the New Zealand Beer Awards which made me feel happy (and somewhat vindicated).

Liberty Yakima Monster IPA (Auckland – 6.2%): Delicious and slightly more responsible than the three beers above. Slightly…

Thornbridge Brewery Jaipur X IIIPA (Derbyshire – 10%): One of my favourite English beers of all time. Like the other beers on this list it is dangerously drinkable for those with a love of hops.

Trivia Time: Did you know that Kelly Ryan has brewed for three breweries on this list – Epic, Fork Brewing and Thornbridge? Well, you do now. #brewjesus #triviatime

Next time we drink to craft beer being mentioned in the New Zealand Parliament’s Question Time!

[1] The group is comprised of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. They play a trombone during matches, love to shake their BOOTY and encourage their fans to wear official WWE-licensed unicorn horns on their heads. This is because they are magic unicorns… apparently. It’s not always easy to explain pro wrestling to normal people…

[2] Though Shakespeare shows could get a bit rowdy as everyone had been drinking since breakfast because if you drank water then you died.

[3] Mind you, he also wrote “What ho, what ho, what ho”, the only line the (off-stage) Sailor has in Othello (Act 1, Scene 3). The Sailor is my favourite Shakespearean character because he does not spend hours reciting poems in silly trousers..

[4] Sour Lollies is my new term for “Fans of sour beer”. Sadly, it is not really catching on sadly. Maybe if I got (Sir) Roger Protz to say it…

[5] “Listen, don’t mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right” – (Sir) John Cleese.

[6] “Palate wrecking penis comparing business” – I wish I had written that. Thanks to the miracle of Google search algorithms, some people might think that I actually had!

[7] And some of them are really odd.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

New Zealand Liquor News Magazine


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