Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Peat and Smoke: Islay Beer!

Brewery: Yeastie Boys

Country: New Zealand

Abv: 7%

Style: Smoked/Peated

If you're reading this blog you know I'm a whisky geek.  I love the stuff, I love the complexity, the aromas, the flavors, everything about it.  

Now one of my favorite styles of whisky is Islay,  a region known for it's peaty, smokey intense whiskies that oftentimes have phenolic characteristics

Now I manage a shop for one of Australia's top craft beer importers and it's always a good day when a new brewery joins the family, it's always an even better day when their beers arrive in store for us to stare and fondle and just enjoy.

So finally after weeks of waiting, after issues with shippers and transportation companies the first batch of Yeastie Boys, a New Zealand craft brewery, finally arrive in shop.

The first shipment is comprised of a tea leaf IPA, two black IPA's, a black IIPA and a smoked beer, made with 100% peated malt.

For those of you who aren't quite sure what that 100% peated malt means, it means the same level of peated malt used in Islay whiskies.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this bottle arrive in shop.  This looks fun!

That night at the shop the staff start cracking open the new beers for us to sample. 

The tea lead IPA isn't bad.  The black IPA's aren't bad, neither is the black IIPA.  

They're all quite enjoyable.

However when the smoked peated beer, the Rex Attitude, comes out the staff are crying, or at least some of them are.

Too smokey, too peaty, too scary.

I grab a glass of the Rex Attitude and give it a nose and I can only grin.

Pouring a murky golden color with a small off white head that quickly recedes it's the aromas that make me grin.

Burnt bandaids, smoke, peat, iodine, hints of leather, light citrusy hops and hints of burnt meat waft up my nose as a massive grin spreads across my face.

Time for a taste!

Lovely, beautiful, the flavors follow the nose quite closely, smoke, peat, burnt bandaids, iodine, meat.

God that is GORGEOUS!

However most of the rest of the staff don't agree, this is most certainly is not their thing.

A long smokey peaty finish ends this lovely beer.

The lovely thing about this beer is that even though it's heavily smoked and peated, it's still like and fresh enough for it to be a good beach beer.

Now as I've already stated before, this isn't a beer for everyone, you've got to like smoke and peat.  This beer honestly reminds me of Ardbeg and Laphroaig Islay whiskies, which also aren't for everyone.  However if Islay whiskies make you smile, then this is a beer that's likely to make you smile.

Even better is this beer is readily accessible for a very reasonable price, between $6 and $9 from good bottleshops that specialize in craft beers here in Perth such as Cellarbrations at Carlisle, Mane Liquor, The International Beer Shop, etc.

If you're not in Perth my best suggestion is hunt down high end beer shops around Australia, shops with a large selection of craft beers and if you're reading this outside of Australia and you're interested it it I do know it's exported to the USA and Europe, but you might have to hunt around abit, but it's definitely worth it.

Nose:        24/25
Taste:       24/25
Finish:       22/25
Balance:    22/25

Overall:     92/100

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