Dates: 5th July – 11th July, 2013
Bottle shop: New World Thorndon, Wellington
- Um, generic lager, by Grolsch (single 450ml, $3.89)
- Fat Yak Pale Ale, by Matilda Bay (6-pack, $12.99)
- Rex Attitude, by Yeastie Boys (single 330ml, $5.99)
***First things first – a bit of housekeeping. Those playing at home will notice that the first few posts are back-dated to the beginning of July – that’s because I started writing this blog several weeks before I put this first one up. I just had to make sure that it wasn’t one of my standard get-crazy-excited-about-idea-then-forget-about-it-after-two-days-type projects (my garage / cupboard / “Ideas”-folder-on-laptop are all rife with the fragments of unmet potential). So I’ll post a couple of entries a week until we’re up to date. ***
So, here we are. Week 1! Let’s crack on…
In the Wilco song I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, there’s a line that goes: “what was I thinking when we said ‘Hello’?” It may sound a little ham-fisted, but sometimes I feel that way about how my beer palate has changed recently. I sometimes wonder what it is that I’ve gotten myself into.
For example, I used to really like Grolsch. Of all the European-style pale lagers (and there’s a bunch of them), I always felt that Grolsch was different. I thought it had a slightly-less-samey lager flavour, and I still love the sweet swing-top on the 450ml bottles (which are a home brewer’s best friend – but we’ll get to that in subsequent posts). Since developing a taste for actually-tasty beer, my eyes have been opened. I’ve realised that the slightly-less-samey lager flavour is actually very-much-samey lager flavour, and quite simply there’s just better things for me to be spending my money on.
I feel like I’m letting an old friend slip from my fingers. Grolsch, I’m sorry, but I’ve changed. It’s not you, it’s me. We’ve just grown apart.
Conveniently, another line from I Am Trying to Break Your Heart goes: “I am an American aquarium drinker”…and aquarium water is a pretty apt description of what Grolsch tastes like after you have a Fat Yak.
Fat Yak is delicious. It’s quaffable. It’s Cooper’s Pale Ale with more hops. It’s quite floral, perhaps more American Pale Ale than Australian Pale Ale in style-terms? I have a suspicion that it’s jumped in price a bit in the last few years (without any evidence beyond my dodgy memory to back this up), but you can still get Fat Yak for ~$12 a 6-pack if it’s on special (like I did), which makes this beer outstanding value (just like Cooper’s). If you see Fat Yak at this price, buy it. That is all.
Plenty of writers have described Rex Attitude in far better terms than I ever could, so I hesitate to even try. Alice Galletly’s outstanding Beer for a Year described it as “charred barbecued aubergine” , while George Langlands of Beer Diary Podcast fame described it smelling like “gangrenous flesh” – and they’re both totally on the money.
Rex is made with 100% peated malt, and is therefore smokier than a bacon-wrapped cigar. Rex is the ultimate polarising beer; you either love it with a passion, or hate it with a vengeance. It’s the ObamaCare of beer geekery.
The most personally-useful way I can describe Rex is that it’s six-dollar, seven-percent Islay Scotch whisky. And what’s not to love about that?? Rex is a sipper, not a quaffer. It’s an event, not a background. I absolutely unequivocally love it. Every quote-unquote beer drinker needs to try this beer as a rite of passage. Maybe you’ll love it, or maybe you’ll hate it – but drinking this beer is a life-affirming moment, regardless of the outcome.
(As a quick aside – I forsee many more Yeastie Boys beers appearing in this blog. For ~$6 a bottle, they represent pretty awesome value for money…provided you sip and don’t quaff.)
So there it is – the first week in the can. Bit long sorry, but that’s what happens when you have three diverse beers. I’ll try to get themes going from now on rather than disparate things.