26 April 2012

Canterbury stale

Three from Kiwiland today: Harrington's of Christchurch have been going since 1991. These bottles haven't been in my fridge since then, but I've held on to them for far too long, with the expiry dates for this lot having come and gone towards the end of last year. No matter. Here goes.

The Rogue Hop is first, an organic pilsner. The label claims Bohemian credentials for the recipe but I detect more than a little Kiwi influence. Off the dusty-looking pale gold beer I get hints of sweet tropical fruit, mangoes at first, turning sharper -- more towards satsuma -- on tasting. It's an aroma and flavour I associate strongly with New Zealand hops. The promise is a short-lived one, however, and it all fades away quite quickly leaving a slightly stale and hollow-tasting lager. Drink this when it's fresh, I guess, preferably at lattitudes below 30° south too.

I hoped the Classy Red would be a bit more robust. It's cloudy again, and while I'm not a subscriber to the importance of how a beer looks, red ales are always much more attractive when they're limpid and crystalline. Hazy reds just look unpleasantly swampy. There's an odd mix of flavours here, mostly over-ripe strawberries plus an added bitter yeast tang. It's OK as these things go, but I'm not detecting a whole lot of class in my glass.

The style designation "Porter Ale" will induce a shiver in anyone familiar with British brewing history, but that's what Wobbly Boot claims to be. It's an attractive dark red-brown and the cleanest tasting of the lot. I get a nice hit of smooth caramel, with some heavier burnt toffee behind it, shading up to full-on roast after a few sips. A little one-dimensional but not at all bad.

Nothing to travel 12,000 miles and write home about, then. But I have cleared three bottles of elderly beer out of my fridge, which counts as a win.


  1. I'd say its a little unfair to judge them 4months past their sell-by

    1. If you think so then ignore my review. I did make it clear in the second sentence that the bottles had been hanging around a while. If you're looking for something other than What I Thought Of Beers I Drank then you're reading the wrong blog.

  2. Replies
    1. I thank you.

      Freshness is over-rated. Discuss. Or don't.

  3. Anonymous10:35 am

    Always feel that best by dates are just a consumer guide and a safety net for producers

  4. KeeganAles1:33 am

    That "odd mix" in Classy Red is not entirely surprising, given the beer was re-badged (with no change in recipe) from APA to Extra Special Bitter in 2010 - clearly a beer with an identity crisis.