A Case of Kiwi Craft Beers



“Your mom busted in and said, “What’s that noise?” Aw, mom you’re just jealous: it’s the Yeastie Boys!”


Ok, so a slight departure from whisky today – I have here a fine selection of beers from the Yeastie Boys, a brewery outfit from New Zealand who’ve started selling beers here in the UK with the help of our beloved renegade Scottish beermasters, Brewdog.

As you probably know, beer is just half-finished whisky so it mostly qualifies as a relevant post, right? Yeah, of course it does*.

Founded in 2008 by Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie, and using a fierce blend of savvy modern branding, a love of experimentation, and the ability to make high quality, interesting beers – these chaps are really doing the Southern Hemisphere proud on the global craft beer stage.

So let’s get it in the glass, eh?

* To make sure I’m appeasing the wrath of the whisky gods, one of these beers is made with heavily peated malt. Oooh! Aaaah!

IMG_20160330_203819369Stairdancer (Pale Ale 4.4%)

Colour: Cloudy yellow.

Nose: Fruity! Lemons, Golden Delicious apples, Grapefruit. Quite doughy, and slightly herbal.

Palate: Malty, soft, frothy and tart developing to salty hops. Slightly chalky.

Finish: Lipsmackingly salty.

Pretty straightforward overall. It’s smooth and clean – as you’d expect from a pale ale.

I think I’d have this one with food; it’s more interesting than your average lager but it’s not complex enough to be spoiled by an unclean palate.

IMG_20160329_205748037Digital (IPA 5.7%)

Colour: Golden yellow, slightly cloudy.

Nose: Floral blossom. Hay, wax and chamomile with a little waft of tropical mango and wet honeydew melon slices.

Palate: Light and crisp with more delicate floral notes. Akin to a dry cider without the sweetness. Fruit skins and tangy salty malt.

Finish: Salty and yeasty with a gentle bitterness coming through.

This is a really easy sipper. Made dry-hopped with Motueka, Nelson Sauvin, and Southern Cross hops, it’s a lovely light floral twist on the IPA style.

I could drink this all day long.

IMG_20160401_200000152Cloudbuster (Saison 5.8%)

Colour: Cloudy pineapple.

Nose: Coconut shavings, lemon pancakes, grapefruit, yeasty white bread.

Palate: Pear, nectar, tropical fruit, vanilla cream, more grapefruit and floral hops.

Finish: Malty and wheaty with dry hops.

This is one for the Weißbier lovers.

Yeasty, wheaty and tons of bright fruit and floral notes. Would pair well with smoked meats and charcuterie.



Gunnamatta (Earl Grey IPA 6.5%)

Colour: Cloudy amber.

Nose: Salty, grassy, herbal, and slightly medicinal. Jasmine blossom and honey.

Palate: Bitter orange peel, tangerines, more jasmine. Peaches and soft fruit, becoming fresh, hoppy and grassy.

Finish: Salty, nutty, tangy, with dry tea leaves.

Mmm, another great twist on the IPA style.

This is a personal favourite of mine as an Earl Grey tea drinker – the dry, floral notes really work with the hops. It’s more robust and challenging than the Digital IPA but very refreshing and accessible all the same. Yum.


Pot Kettle Black (Porter 6.0%)

Colour: Jet black, beige froth.

Nose: Brazil nuts, dark chocolate, iron, and salty Marmite.

Palate: Dark malt, Bourbon biscuits, bitter treacle, dark liquorice, granary bread.

Finish: Tangy, with more iron and liquorice root. Ever so slightly smoky right at the end.

This is a lovely malty, chocolatey porter.

Lots of depth to those rich, dark, heavy flavours – this is a quiet fireside sipper on a wet, cold night.


IMG_20160402_180753538xeRRex (Heavily Peated Imperial 10%)

Wow, here’s the pièce de résistance. An imperial strength ale with heavily peated malt. This really is not something you see every day!

Colour: Cloudy chestnut, with quite a bit of sediment. Is that peat floating in it??

Nose: Wow, medicinal peat smoke! Germaline and soft rubber. Bacon rind masks a very soft fruity note of stewed apple.

Palate: Surprisingly very fruity, malty and dry, like a Belgian beer. Peaches, pineapples and cream and then the peat rushes in and pow! It’s Bonfire night and wood smoke, dry leaves, and salty smoked ham are all over your tongue.

Finish: That smoky smell that clings to your clothes in November. Keeps going and going, long after the last sip.

Wow, what a singularly unusual beer. You’d have to travel far to find many others like this. It reminds me of the wash we tasted on the Lagavulin tour (though not as yeasty).

Definitely challenging, and don’t expect to be able to taste much but smoke for a while afterwards. If Rauchbier or peated whisky do it for you then you’ll definitely appreciate this.

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