Total Score: 7.45/10
Garage Project, more like “Expensive Project” due to how much they charge for their brews, amirite? Nevertheless, on more than one occasion I have been roused to muster my wallet (which generally contains various moths alongside my well-worn debit card) to purchase yet another Expensive Project beer based on the ingredients listed on the label. They know this. That is why they can get away with being so pricey – because as a craft drinker I’m drawn towards a brew that has chipotle, agave syrup and cacao nibs like a macro drinker is drawn to flavourless beers and flannel shirts.
Poured from a 330ml can into a Duvel tulip.
A: Impressive petroleum black body with a nice half centimetre beige head that sticks around for a while. At 6.7% ABV that’s a reasonably solid head, and for a Schwartzbier this is one of the blackest I’ve seen, so kudos GP. 9/10.
S: Smoky chipotle chilli, dark chocolate and an earthy coffee bean note round out an aroma that is OK but could have a bit more kick to it. However I’ve often found myself with brews that have a great bold aroma but muted flavours, and vice-versa so you never can tell sometimes. 6/10.
T: Toasty-tasty-roasty bonanza right here! Begins smoky with a light chilli touch that helps intensify the dark chocolate/earthy coffee bean characters, then follows through to a spicy bittersweet finish. Agave syrup gives the chocolate notes a kick so that the lingering aftertaste is a sweet (and spicy) chocolate. Flavour reminds me a little of Stone Xocoveza (though obviously not nearly as audacious as that amazing beverage – think of this as Xocoveza Lite). 8/10.
M: Mouthfeel, although in line with what a Schwartzbier should be, is mid to light bodied and slightly fizzy. More body would be ideal, but they did go with a lighter Lager style, so yeah, different strokes. 6/10.
D: This is one of the better GP beers I’ve had, up there with Death From Above and Cherry Bomb in terms of sort of grasping at what the bottle/can label says without fully realising its goal. That’s the bit that always disappoints me with GP beers – I want to have a party in my mouth with the ingredients they describe but it usually comes across half-hearted. This is exactly why out of NZ brewers my list goes: 8-Wired, Yeastie Boys and Tuatara (then maybe GP or Epic). 8/10.
Food match: Not quite a dessert beer here, more of a “let’s char-grill a steak to perfection” kind of beer.