Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Falling for Autumn...

I woke up this morning to grey skies, sporadic drizzle and a biting Wellington wind. Winter is on its way. But as I wrapped myself in several layers of clothing and walked to uni with my hood on, I had a skip in my step. It's Autumn, which means its time to open all those warming, nutty and spiced ales. Mmmm...

Kid Chocolate
(3.6% ABV)
One of the newer breweries on the scene, Yeastie Boys, first provided a taste of their Autumn seasonal at the Liquorland New Zealand Beer Festival on February 28th.
Their interpretation of an English Mild Ale, this style is traditionally a refreshing, malty brew with subtle flavours and a lower alcohol content.
Kid chocolate pours a
clear, still amber with a creamy light-tan head. The aromas include caramel, chocolate, smooth malt and slight hop notes - very balanced. The initial strong malt bitterness moves through to reveal light caramel, milk chocolate, chestnut and roasted malt flavours, with a lightly hopped finish. This is an incredibly smooth and balanced ale, which is also quite clean on the palate - another gem from Yeastie Boys.

Mike's Mild Ale (4% ABV)
Mike's Mild Ale from White Cliffs in Taranaki also has a dominant malt character. Despite being a tasty beer and perfect for the coming months, it does not work quite as closely to the English style as Kid Chocolate.
Mike's Mild pours a dark brown with a very thin head. Although its
appearance is average, the aroma and flavour are far more than that. Mike's Mild has a yeasty nose with a strong roasted malt character and a hint of dark chocolate and herb. It has a lightly hopped flavour, with roasted malt, a slightly burnt character and a smokey, peppercorn bitterness. Although Mike's is slightly too yeasty on the finish, which leaves an unpleasant bready character on the palate, it is a substantial, warming and malty brew - very tasty after collecting the falling leaves on your front lawn.

Reserve Ale (4% ABV)
Sunshine Brewery in Gisborne continues to produce great beers for good prices, yet are substantially under-rated in the beer community. Their Reserve Ale, available in riggers from Regional Wines and Spirits, is a refreshing ale for the summer - winter transition.
Sunshine's Reserve Ale pours amber with thin, off-white head. It looks a lot like Tui actually, but tastes A LOT better. The beer has a malty aroma, with subtle vanilla, spice, raisin and yeast. The dominant malt character moves through to the flavour, where it creates a smooth, warming balance with the subtle hop and light plum, raisin and vanilla flavours. There are subtle yeast notes on the finish, which coats the palate beautifully. A well-brewed ale with smooth flavours and reccommended for regular consumption over the coming months.

So as the warm, Summer weather that has been gracing our country moves into the cool, wet and windy days of Winter, just remember the skies are only silver because they're filled with that valuable silver lining - Autumn brings one of the best excuses to drink those beautiful malty, spiced ales which warm you from the inside out.


Stu as "Stu" said...

Nice reminder... I'm going to get some Sunshine Reserve Ale on the way home. I've not had it for about 18 months. Thanks Demise!

Demise said...

What I love about Reserve Ale is that it is always tasty no matter what beer-phase one is in. Great value from my beloved Regional too, especially with the SOBA mates rates.