OPINION: I got called a beer snob the other day. If that means I prefer handmade beer crafted with quality ingredients by enthusiastic brewers more than formulaic swill that relies on tribal marketing - not taste - to sell, then yes, I am.
However, it is a pointless argument. Drink what you enjoy but keep an open mind. Not all craft beer is great and not all macro beer is horrible.
The Twisted Hop Brewery, of Christchurch, offers further wisdom. Their bottle label says, "You are the drinker, we all have different tastes; so pop the top, pour into a glass and imbibe!" I did just that with their sauvin pilsner.
The popped top revealed a deeper colour than expected. Rather than the usual straw shades, the beer was closer to orange and looked more like a malty lager. However, the taste conformed to the pilsner style. It was light and crisp with definite lemon notes and a pleasant yeasty whiff. The head faded a bit too quickly and there was little lacing on the glass.
There was no doubting the presence of the sauvin hops. These impart a distinctive aroma and flavour to any beer. While the bottle label says, "you don't need us to tell you that this beer tastes of passionfruit and bubblegum", those flavours were clear, and tasting this was a pleasure. Nelson sauvin hops were developed in the Marlborough sauvignon blanc wine region and they share the same tropical flavour profile.
The Twisted Hop was a brew bar that used to be located in The Poplar Lane entertainment area of inner Christchurch.
It was known for it's fantastic cask-conditioned beer and a vibe consistent with other bars in the same funky spot. Sadly, the Canterbury earthquakes, while not destroying the already strengthened Twisted Hop Bar, laid waste to surrounding brick buildings and the area was shut down. Now, like much of the rest of Christchurch, the business has relocated to the southwest of the city in Wigram. The Twisted Hop has re-emerged bigger and better than before.
While it's great to be able to buy Twisted Hop bottles from other parts of the country, cask conditioned, hand-pumped beer is a delight.
If you're ever in Christchurch, The Twisted Hop is a must. Warwick Foy
- © Fairfax NZ News
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