The perfect drink for icy climes

00:30, Sep 24 2014
WIGRAM'S C-130 STRONG ALE: The perfect drink for the ice continent.

IceFest is being held in Christchurch from September 27 to October 12. The festival celebrates New Zealand's role in the management of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The Hub for the festival will be in Cathedral Square.

Wigram brewery was asked to brew a couple of beers to celebrate the festival and they came up with the pilsener Winfly and C-130, a strong ale. Wigram Brewery has branded its beer on an aviation theme, due to their close proximity to the old Wigram Air Force base, so these two new bespoke beers fit in well with their range.

I don't know a lot about aircraft, and I prefer keeping my feet on the ground, but the C-130 is a mighty big plane that is used to fly all the equipment down to Antarctica. During the IceFest it might be spotted in the skies about Christchurch.

Wigram's C-130 strong ale, while brewed specifically for the festival, has a story behind it. Paul Cooper, the brewer at Wigram, is a bit of a legend in the New Zealand brewing industry. He was one of the first commercial brewers in the country (excluding Mac's in Nelson), and has been brewing for over 20 years.

In the early days Paul designed an English style special bitter, which won champion beer at the Australian beer awards. This beer was the inspiration for Wigram's Tornado beer which has just won a trophy at the New Zealand Beer Awards and the C-130 is a close relation to Tornado.

Some great brewing history, so let's see what it tastes like.


In the glass a nice thick white head formed with big bubbles that settled quickly to leave a thin film. The liquid was a deep amber colour with an edge of auburn. The nose is not bursting with hop aroma but there are some subtle sweet hop fruit notes.

In the mouth the first thing I noticed was a silky soft texture. It wasn't that sweet initially but it quickly became richer and a fresh malt intensity dominated through the middle. Some nice caramel roasted malt.

The finish still has a sweet edge but is joined by a drying hop bitterness and a subtle green hop fruitiness. There is also a hint of roasted malt in the finish.

I can easily imagine this to be the perfect drink for the ice continent. It has this wonderful warming edge.


Style: ESB

Made by: Wigram Brewing Co.

Alcohol content: 6.5% abv

Available: IceFest in Cathedral Square

The Press