Dates: 25th November – 1st December, 2013
Bottle shop: Countdown Meadowlands, Auckland
- Pilsner, by Stoke (6 x 330ml, $14.99)
- Pinot Gris Lager, by Monteiths (500ml bottle, $4.99)
It’s a quick-fire post this week – what with the move North and all, I’ve found little time to think of something worth saying…so I’ll just dribble and see what comes out. It’s like free-style blogging! Or as I like to say, ‘frogging’. (…I’ve never said that.)
I chose a pretty weird combination of beers to mark my first week back in Auckland – one being from Nelson, the other from the West Coast of the South Island. Still, I’m making much more of an effort tomorrow night – I’m off to that shiny-new-ish Auckland craft beer church Brothers Beer. The occasion: a Yeastie Boys tap-takeover, no less! So I’m at least making some effort to ingratiate myself to my new surroundings (y’know, by drinking beer riffed from the mind of a quintessential Wellingtonian, and brewed in either a) Invercargill, b) Christchurch or c) the Dark Side of the Moon…but at least I’ll be in Auckland whilst doing it).
But back to the very-not-Auckland beer selections for this week. My quaffable multipack choice was Stoke Pilsner – and following my last delicious encounter with Stoke beer, I had every right to have high expectations. I must cop to a smidge of disappointment at the cap-opening: the nose (*wank*) was more-or-less devoid of floral hopiness – which is a shame, because aroma is a really important dimension to my enjoyment of beer, one which I feel fleeced if I’m deprived of.
Apart from being plain-old pleasant in an olfactory sense, a beer’s aroma is like foreplay: it’s the beer’s opportunity to tease, tickle and titillate you before the main event. A well-rounded (or just plain smack-in-the-face) aroma builds anticipation – an important component to our enjoyment of anything, and beer is no different.
Stoke Pilsner may not have hit the aroma mark – and the flavour was a bit hop-backward too – but there’s no question it’s a well-made, dry, creamy lager. It was a soft, quiet, unassuming Pilsner; but still a lovely background beer that didn’t demand attention. Once I got over my own preconception that Pilsner = Hoppy, I really enjoyed it. A great summer drop.
Which is more than I can say for the second beer this week.
Believe it or not, I don’t like saying mean things – so I’m going to explain as much as I can about Monteiths Pinot Gris Lager diagrammatically.
Like Garage Project’s outstanding Sauvin Noveau, Pinot Gris Lager is a beer/wine hybrid; grapes provide part of the fermentable sugars, with malt providing the rest. But that’s where the similarities between Aro Valley’s Finest and Monteiths’ creation end.
Pinot Gris Lager is kinda-like wine; it’s also kinda-like beer, and kinda-like the sparkling grape juice Grape-tiser. But rather than being a balanced symphony of all of them, it winds-up being none of them. To demonstrate my point, take a look the following Venn diagram:
At a Meta-level Pinot Gris Lager is the entirety of the diagram (i.e. kinda-all-of-these-things); but it’s also the vacant spot in the middle (i.e. a void, where it’s not really anything).
That was me being mean. And now I feel dirty.