So IPA Week 2011 has gone slightly longer. The beer I planned to review died an untimely death late on Thursday night. So here we are the following Monday, finally with a chance to give the replacement beer a whirl. Let’s ‘whip it on’.
I’ve tried a few of Emerson’s beers, and they pop up in a handful of bottle stores and restaurants around Melbourne, but quite often seem to be sold out. There was a weekend where I went to two different places and neither had the Emerson’s promised on the menu. Maybe it sells very well? Maybe they just don’t brew enough.
Coming out of Dunedin, New Zealand, Emerson’s brew 8 regular beers, and some seasonal beers to go with it. Their spiced beer ‘Taieri George’ is one of my favourites and always a good one to have on hand in winter time.
This is an IPA and comes in at 5% abv. I got it in 500ml bottle from Parkhill Cellars in North Melbourne, who have a more than respectable range.
How does it look?
I love Emerson’s bottles. They are old fashioned. I feel like I should be buying them in a crate and sitting round with a few mates and a guitar to sing rubbish songs and watch the All Blacks play.
It is very clear in the glass. Deep amber, with a white head that lingers and laces on the glass as it’s drunk. It looks much like a NZ ‘draught’ beer. Slightly darker than an Australian ‘draught’, with a touch more clear white head.
How does it taste/smell?
You know how I said it looks like a NZ ‘draught’ beer… well it kind of smells like one as well. That makes me nervous. It smells of sweet malt; but much to my relief it is tinged with a very light grassy hop character.
It tastes very clean. There is a small hit of those grassy hops right as you swallow and then a nice long bitterness. I’m not getting a huge array of flavours other than toffee, maybe a bit spicy pear and some light hops; but that is by no means a bad thing. It feels like like it has nothing to hide. It is almost flawless. It is by no means the tastiest beer around, and not even close to being the tastiest IPA, but I get the sense that was never the plan with this beer. It is clear, crisp, balanced and very enjoyable.
When should I drink it?
While watching the 2011 World Cup probably (that’s rugby to my Melbourne readers). It isn’t a huge beer, but it is smooth and very drinkable. It’s the kind of beer that you could turn up to even your most stubborn ‘big beer’ drinking mate’s house and they wont be overwhelmed by taste. In saying that, the lack of imperfection is also quite beautiful here. It’s balanced and tasty enough that not too many ‘serious’ beer drinkers would say no to one or five of these.
Well I’m a big fan of this. It’s not going to satisfy all craft beer drinkers looking for their next fix of interesting and big beers, but it is going to really hit the spot on a lazy weekend with some friends. It wont dominate the conversation but it will provide a great backdrop to good times.
This is a beer that after one bottle, I love. It’s a great, but understated way to end IPA Week 2011. I’ve tried 5 beers that I hadn’t previously tried and absolutely loved all of them for different reasons. I guess that proves the strength of IPAs. The versatility of the style. All five beers are ones I would definitely try again.
If I had to pick a favourite, I would say it was the Kooinda Black IPA. But they were all great in their own ways.
Check ’em all out here: