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So, it's that time, what were yours?


I'm always suspicious that these kinds of lists are made up of the best [insert selected noun here] that people have had in the last few months... so, I kept a record of my favourite beer each week for the entire year.  I'd love to have done a blog on each one but there's no way I'd have the time.  


I'd be hard pressed to pick anything that impressed me more than Mikkeller's Sauvignon this year but I'll look over the list in the next few days and think about what the very best ones for the year were.


No homebrews in the list, that's just not cricket.



Week: Beer (where I got it, how it came)


30/12: Emerson's JP 2010 (Malthouse, 500ml bottle)

23/12: Twisted Hop Challenger (Hashigo Zake, handpump)

16/12: 8 Wired Tall Poppy (Regional Wines and Spirits, 500ml bottle)

09/12: Pink Elephant Mammoth (New World Island Bay, 330ml bottle)

02/12: Mikkeller Black Tie (Innspire, 500ml bottle)

25/11: Tuatara 'X' (Hashigo Zake, 750ml bottle) 

18/11: Emerson's Grace Jones Porter (Malthouse, tap) 

11/11: Monkey Wizard Steam Punk Ale (@jedsoane, 750ml bottle) 

04/11: Tuatara Ardennes (Malthouse, tap via pears in Modus Hoperandus) 

28/10: Fuller's 1845 (Four Square Strathmore, 500ml bottle) 

21/10: Orval (Regionals, 330ml bottle @ Playing Favourites tasting) 

14/10: Bridge Road B2 Bomber (Bridge Road via @innspire, 750ml bottle) 

07/10: Cooper's Vintage 2010 (Dan Murphy's Kawana, 330ml bottle) 

30/09: Little Creatures Pale Ale (Mudjimba Bottlestore, 500ml bottle) 

23/09: Wigram Imperial Stout (Malthouse, tap via coffee beans in Modus Hoperandus)   

16/09: Moa 5 Hop Winter Ale (Pollux, handpump) 

09/09: Townshend Rosedale Bitter (Hashigo, handpump) 

02/09: Townshend Cathcarts NTA (Hashigo, handpump) 

26/08: Moa Barrel-aged Imperial Stout (BrewNZ Awards, bottle) 

19/08: Cooper's Sparkling Ale (Malthouse, tap) 

12/08: Croucher Pale Ale (Hashigo Zake, tap) 

05/08: Townshend Wedding FSA (Wedding, handpump) 

29/07: Emerson's JP 2010 (Regionals, bottle) 

22/07: Hallertau SOBA NHC Coconut Porter (Malthouse, tap) 

15/07: Hallertau Statesman (Hashigo Zake, tap) 

08/07: Eugene City Tracktown 200m IPA (Hashigo Zake, tap) 

01/07: Townshend Dubloon (SOBA Matariki Winter Ales Festival, handpump) 

24/06: Invercargill Sa!son (Invercargill Brewery, rigger) 

17/06: Baird Brewing Dark Sky Imperial Stout (@seatounsteve, bottle) 

10/06: Mikkeller Sauvignon (@jedsoane, bottle) 

03/06: Tuatara APA (Malthouse, tap) 

27/05: Mountain Goat Surefoot Stout (Mountain Goat Brewery, tap) 

20/05: Rogue American Amber Ale (Hashigo Zake, tap) 

13/05: White Cliffs Organic Ale (Regional Wines and Spirits, 2L rigger) 

06/05: Epic Oak-aged Armageddon (Malthouse, tap) 

29/04: Galbraith's Best Bitter (Galbraith's Ale House, handpump) 

22/04: Moa Resurrection (Marchfest, tap) 

15/04: Flying Dog Ragin' Bitch (Hashigo Zake, bottle) 

08/04: Green Flash 'Double' Stout (Beerstore.co.nz, bottle) 

01/04: Mac's Brewjolais (Regionals + Bar Edward, conditioning tank rigger) 

25/03: Rodenbach Grand Cru (2yo from Island Bay New World, bottle) 

18/03: Emerson's Old 95 (Miramar New World, bottle) 

11/03: Mata Blondie (Liquorland Beer Festival, tap) 

04/03: Yeastie Boys PKB Remix 2009 (Malthouse, tap) 

25/02: Townshend Cathcarts NTA (Ruakura Campus Club, handpump) 

18/02: Emerson's JP 2009 (Regional Wines and Spirits via cellar, bottle) 

11/02: Thornbridge Raven (Kelly Ryan, bottle) 

04/02: Green Flash "Le Freak" (Sam's friend, bottle) 

28/01: Hogs Back "Santa's Wobble" (Rumble's, 330ml bottle) 

21/01: Hallertau "Minimus" (Malthouse, tap) 

14/01: 8 Wired "Hopwired"  (Regionals, 500ml bottle) 

07/01: NZ Natural Brewing "Deliverance Dortmunder" (Hashigo Zake, tap)



Wishing you all a late Merry Christmas... and a just in time happy new year.


Slainte mhath



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Think you're under represented, do ya!?

Yeh, it was cracking drop when I tried it recently but it was duringy "X" phase.

OK, I'll have a crack (in no particular order):


Mike's IPA

8 Wired Hopwired

Yeastie Boys Return to Magenta

Yeastie Boys Nerdherder 'B' (think this was early 2010 when I had it)

Invercargill Brewery Pitch Black

Twisted Hop Challenger

Townshend Cathcart's NTA

Budějovický Budvar

Fuller's Golden Pride

SKA Modus Hoperandi


Damn, knew I'd forget something. No. 11: Founder's Barrel-aged Stout.

Cheers Christian... those possibly my two favourite Yeastie Boys beers this year as well, although it's hard to choose a favourite child.  The Nerdherder 'B' was the only beer we've ever put out that was pretty much 100% as I envisaged it. Someone called it something along the lines of 'Hopsmacker on steroids' and that was incredibly flattering...  It was certainly inspired by Hopsmacker, and Rennaissance Perfection, though certainly not a clone attempt at either (and had a significantly lower ABV).


I really love pretty much all of those beers in your list.

I miss Hopsmacker. *sniff*


Me too !

Was probably one of the first real craft beers I tryed



Amen brother Chris,


Me too !

Was probably one of the best beers I tryed

Excellent Stu, love it

And to think you've only put one of your own beers on the list too


Biggest suprise, 'Four Square Strathmore' is there, that's got to say something for distribution of beer, yea ?


Biggest suprise, 'Four Square Strathmore' is there


I know. I popped in there for some milk once and ended up having a long chat about craft beer with the young guy there.

I didn't want to pick any but that week wasn't a great one and the Remix was tasting superb... the pick is really a nod to Colin at The Malthouse for holding a couple of kegs back for 5 months. That beer really really aged well... I'm picking 2010 will too.

I suck at "best of" lists. I think it's because I live very much in the moment, and enjoy every good beer for what it is at the point I am drinking it. I also tend to not hold "beer grudges". A faulted beer will have to be repeatedly faulted over many batches before I give up on it entirely, so very few beers get a chance to make my "worst of" list either! :)


That said, I've had a few stunners this year, so I'll attempt to list beers that have made me go WOW at some point during the year, along with where I was and why (in rough chronological order, useless memory failings and all).


  • Wanaka Brewski - a fresh keg on tap at the Ruakura Campus Club. Possibly the tastiest malt character I've ever had. Crisp, and delicious, in a way that "lawnmower beers" should be, but far more satisfying than that expression implies.
  • Townshend Cathcarts NTA - In the Moutere Inn, and later, at the Free House in Nelson. It suddenly transported me to Lewes in Sussex, England. I honestly felt like I was drinking the best and freshest pint of English beer that there was. Juicy malt, zingy hops, just so moreish. I couldn't get enough of it.
  • Bells Two Hearted Ale / Three Floyds Alpha King - Both on tap in Chicago, and both just incredible beers in their individual take on the IPA. The Bells offering is more restrained, fruity, and "English" in nature, while still a tour de force in American hops, and Alpha King achieves that trickiest of feats - a hop smack in the face that gives even hop heads pause, combined with extreme drinkability. I got accidentally trashed on both of these because I just couldn't decide which was the best so kept ordering hoping to make a decision. Cue flashback to drunkenly attempting to tip a bemused McDonalds worker...
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Stout - also in Chicago, at the Goose Island brewpub on Clybourne. Probably my biggest "wow" beer of the year, and sadly, it wasn't a kiwi one. Never mind, one must grab these opportunities when one can. This was just an incredible beer. If you get a chance to try it, do so. I won't attempt to describe it here, without any exaggeration, it was a beer that changed my ideas of what beer can be.
  • Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black - batches three and four (I think) on tap at House on Hood in Hamilton. A constant favourite, but with these last two batches, I think perfection has been obtained.
  • Hallertau Maximus Humulus Lupulus - on tap at Hallertau. I think this might be the most balanced and drinkable "hop monster" ever brewed commercially in NZ. A testament to the skill of Steve Plowman (and his brewers and assistants too).
  • Emerson's JP 2010 - bottle at my house. There's nothing I can say about this amazing beer that hasn't already been said. Just amazing.
  • Epic Armageddon - frequently on tap at House on Hood. A constant source of "WOW", and a beer that makes me smile every time I drink it. The only one on this list (well, Maximus too, but it's not as obtainable for me) that is likely to be on every year's list, and not as a result of a single "WOW" moment, but rather an accumulation of hop-fuelled dopey grins.
  • Galbraith's Antipodean - handpump at Galbraith's Alehouse. Brilliant merger of English and Kiwi styles, this is a seriously unique beer, and one I'm glad has made the permanent range.
  • Townshend/666 Brewing collaboration Sutton Hoo - in rare "real ale" form, handpump from the cask at the Ruakura Campus Club. An incredible lesson in the use and blending of NZ hops, and bold malt character. Maybe the perfect "NZ Ale". The best thing about this beer is that you could taste both Martin and Graeme's influences on the beer.
  • 8 Wired Tall Poppy - Tap at House on Hood. So hoppy and delicious it nearly brought a tear to my eye. Another one I got trashed on because I just couldn't stop myself ordering another. I want this in a session strength!
  • Croucher Pilsner - bottle, about 4 days ago. I'd not tried the Pilsner in the bottle, now brewed at Steam. Am I glad I did. I just couldn't believe what a truly stunning beer it has become. Drink the 500ml goodness!

I am sure I've forgotten a few, but those are the ones which have burned themselves on my cortex. Thank you to all our craft brewers, whether represented here or not, for making 2010 a truly remarkable year in beer in New Zealand. Thanks to every brewer making great sessionable ales and lagers of non-WOW, but truly great quality. I love you all. :)


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