Spectrum Series - February 2019
It says a lot about how people view wintertime that the start of February is marked by Groundhog Day. This annual tradition was based on a superstition that would supposedly determine how many more weeks of insufferable winter people should expect; now, thanks to Bill Murray, “Groundhog Day" is arguably more often used as a metaphor for experiencing the same thing over and over again.
Either way, one gets the sense it’s a highly appropriate concept for some of the bleakest weeks of the year - the holidays are long gone, it’s still dark all the time, it’s bloody freezing outside again, and that new gym membership is really starting to feel like a mistake. Well, let us shine some glorious light into these gloomy February days, with the return of our monthly Spectrum series. This month we’ve gone all-out for vibrant summer flavours, across a quartet of beers pouring from 12pm today...
UP HELLE AA - 5.1% Peach Milk Lager
Every year, at the end of January, a unique festival takes place on Shetland. Up Helly Aa is a spectacular fire festival (no, not like the documentary you watched on Netflix) that celebrates the lightening of the year; the perfect inspiration for the first of our February Spectrum releases.
This peach milk lager is based on a classic 5.1% ABV Munich helles (lightly bittered by the classic Czech noble hop Saaz) with the added twist of peach and lactose (an unfermentable sugar). The result is a bright, juicy, easy-drinking lager; a soft and subtle bready malt presence is overlaid with sweet and rounded flavours of peach and apricot. We’re not going to lie, this one isn’t complex or thought-provoking, it’s just a fun twist on a lager that we wanted to try out, and it certainly makes us feel like the year just got a little bit brighter.
SUMMER BAY - 4.8% Summer & Galaxy Pale Ale
Continuing that theme, we have a pale ale hopped heavily with two of Australia’s finest - Summer and Galaxy. We’d love to claim this one was brewed and packed to celebrate Australia Day, but we’d be lying, because we missed it by over a week. We’ve tried to make up for it by naming it after another wonderful Australian export, but we’re not going to explain it to you - if you know, you know.
Pale malt is augmented with a touch of Munich and a hint of oats in this sessionable 4.8% pale ale, rounding out the palate and providing a foil for the moderate bitterness. A smooth texture provides the perfect base for layers of fruity character; melon, apricot, passionfruit, lime and peach to name but a few. With an 80/20 split, Summer is showcased more heavily than Galaxy, but the hops harmonise beautifully and it becomes hard to tell where each begins and ends within the flavour profile. Mellow from the first sniff to the last drop, you’ll want this beer to stay forever.
SAN JUNIPERO - 6.9% Juniper Saison
Speaking of staying forever... The third of our releases also takes its name from a fictional beach resort (honestly, we didn’t just scan through a list of seaside towns from TV). This saison has been brewed with juniper, kaffir lime leaves, and a mix of orange and lemon peel, which meld with the fruity and spicy yeast character to deliver something special.
Although nominally and technically a saison, there’s a lot of Belgian blonde ale character to this beer. The 6.9% ABV adds weight, and pulls the malty sweetness to the front, before giving way to subtle complexities. The yeast has favoured fruity esters over spicy phenolics, so there’s a lot of apple, pear and banana character, which bridges with spiced citrus notes and then follows on to the delicate aromatics of juniper and kaffir lime. Hallertauer Blanc provides support, in a recessive role as the bittering hop. One of the hardest things to nail in a Belgian beer style is the balance between malt, hops and yeast, and San Junipero is treading this fine line with grace and poise, and delivering a blast of sunshine in the process.
DON’T DATE ROBOTS! - 7.0% American Amber Ale
A stern warning from the future heralds the last of this month’s Spectrum range. As far as cautionary tales against the potential evils of technology go, Futurama is surely one of the few that may actually be extreme enough to be realistic. In any case, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, probably better safe than sorry. DON’T DATE ROBOTS!
...is one of a handful of Spectrum beers to have appeared previously on our draft boards, and had enough of an impact to bring it back. It's also this month's Spectrum bottled release. One of Lead Brewer Pete’s favourite beer styles, this is an amber ale, but with a twist of orange peel to enhance the citrus hop presence. We’ve tweaked the hop bill of our 7% brew (Centennial, Chinook and Styrian Wolf this time round, for those taking notes), thus incorporating a little more pine and grapefruit into the mix, alongside tangerine and caramel. Although there are sweet notes, the balance is towards the bitter, with an assertive pithy bite coming through on the back and driving into a dry finish with notes of orange peel. If the first three beers are a day at the beach, this one is the barbecue on the sand as the evening draws in.
Well, there we have it. Another four beers ready for you to enjoy, from 12pm today in our Brewhouse Bar & Kitchen - come on down!
If you and/or the craft beer lover in your life are looking for somewhere to celebrate everyone’s favourite consumerist holiday (mentioned above) next week, join us at Drygate where we’re putting on a five course menu, which is of course also available to non-couples. But please book ahead either way.
As if that wasn’t enough, we’re also showcasing New Zealand’s finest craft breweries throughout the month of February - keep your eyes peeled for more info.
And finally, for more new Spectrum releases, tune in next month - same bat-time, same bat-channel! (12pm on the 7th March, in case you weren’t paying attention).
THE BEER EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT!
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