Dates: 2nd December – 8th December, 2013
Pub: Brothers Beer, Auckland
- Tasting paddle, by Yeastie Boys (5 x 125ml-ish), $25.00)
- His Majesty 2013, by Yeastie Boys (370ml glass, $9.00)
- White Noise, by Yeastie Boys (370ml glass, $9.00)
Some housekeeping: This week’s beers – enjoyed at the Brothers Beer Yeastie Boys tap takeover – were split 50:50 (ish…) with my gorgeous Better Half on a ‘Date Night’ (a Beer Geek’s wet dream, by the way). So before one of my three regular readers writes an angry comment about how much I spent this week (Ha! As if anyone cares! Delusions of Grandeur!), the Beer Money Blog rules remain unbroken…in a sorta-kinda way.
I’ve always thought that the word ‘hobby’ was a very plaid term for those things we choose to do as respite for those we’re obliged to do. When I think of the word hobby, I think of people trying their best to enjoy themselves because they’re expected to. A hobby sounds like something you make time for in your diary; it’s a f**king gym membership, or twilight cricket with your high school chums – where everyone is simultaneously thinking I’m Too Old For This Shit, but no-one has the guts to say so for fear of being the first to Call Time on their youth.
So as a descriptor of activities that are supposed to be fun, ‘hobby’ is actually pretty moribund.
But the word ‘passion’? Well, that’s a different matter entirely.
Rather than being an optional add-on wedged between Eating and Sleeping, a passion has a way of entwining itself into the fabric of daily life. It becomes part of the preventative medicine that keeps us from finding a Short Rope and a Long Drop. Life is, after all, Bloody Hard Sometimes – and when it gets tough, the things we are passionate about can be clung-to like a lifesaver in a rolling sea.
Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie have said that their company Yeastie Boys is a ‘hobby business’ – referring to the fact that both have had to maintain their Day Jobs just to stay afloat (it turns out that, like academia, you don’t take up brewing to get rich). But if we use my re-definition of the word, there’s nary a whiff of ‘hobby’ to be found in their beer – one glass of Yeastie Boys has more passion in it (ignore how dirty that sounds) than a hectolitre of mainstream meh. It’s art in a glass; and just like a piece of art, the meaning of each beer is utterly personal to the drinker.
Take the 9% American Strong Ale Englebert Pumpernickel for example: when I raised it to my nose, it reeked of post-coital body odour – which Stu reckons is an endearing quality of New Zealand hops. It’s the kind of smell that immediately makes you withdraw in disgust – but then just as quickly draws you back in for another whiff. It’s kind of like a fart that belongs to you – you’re aware that it smells bad, but still take a sneaky sniff nonetheless – and feel oddly proud of your accomplishment.
You’ll be happy to know that the flavour of Pumpernickel doesn’t resemble the slightly-pongy aroma – my tasting note (yes, I’ve crossed that line) was one word: yum.
And you’ll have to put up with utterly rubbish notes on all the beers for this week (y’know, as opposed to the regular barn-storming descriptors that roll out of this blog) – because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
On top of Englebert Pumpernickel, we sampled White Noise (a highly-drinkable 4.1% Chamomile White Ale), Gunnamatta (which I’ve bleated about before, but I wanted Better Half to try it), Golden Age of Bloodshed (a ‘beetroot beer’ which rather than being ‘earthy’ tastes to me like beetroot that’s been perfectly roasted under a juicy chicken), Our Turn-Your Turn (a creamy, unctuous and just-damn delicious Lindenflower Wheat Ale) and His Majesty 2013 (which was nostalgia in a glass – the subtle sweetness reminding me of Coppertone sunscreen and ten-cent stick lollipops from the Whananaki Beach store).
Let’s just throw a blanket over the lot and say: they were all good for different reasons, and you should try them. There. I wipe my hands of this review.
The beers were amazing; the company, outstanding. But other than sharing awesome beer with my even-more-awesome Better Half, the single highlight of the evening was far more subtle: it was watching Stu and Sam – at their own tap takeover, remember – join the tail of the queue with the rest of us to grab pints of their own f**king beer.
To me, it’s little actions like that which speak volumes about these Yeastie Boys; they’re in the business of making beer By the People, For the People. Beer is quite clearly their passion, and like all good art, that passion is reflected in the end result. Some of their beers are not my cup of Gunnamatta, but others – like His Majesty and Our Turn-Your Turn – can safely be considered Desert Island Beers that I’m quite confident I’ll never grow weary of.
The commonality that runs through all Yeastie Boys beers is a firm commitment to expansion and evolution; the relentless pursuit of a Beer Less Ordinary. And it’s that characteristic alone which makes every single one of their beers worth trying.