Tuatara Tu-Rye-Ay

Total Score: 8.25/10 Earth1Peppercorns1Coffee1Tulipglass1

From one dud brew to Tuatara Tu-Rye-Ay. These guys (and girls – let’s be inclusive) get. Beer. So I’m under no illusions that they will fudge up a brew by making it entry-as-f**k like Burleigh did with Twisted Palm. Let’s face it the bottle is attractive with that classic Tuatara lizard skin neck (Tuatara is a type of NZ lizard I discovered after drinking my first one – proving beer can be educational!) and denim dungarees (a tribute to the greatest band that ever existed, EVER: Dexys Midnight Runners!) adorning the label – who could resist its charms? Not I. Plus we all know I have an affinity with beers that contain Rye – Hook, line, sinker Tuatara.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: More dark brown than obsidian body, but opaque? You betcha! Foamy mocha coloured head on top that leaves a real nice lace ‘scrawl’ on the side of the glass. One look at this and you know that you’re in for a real treat. 9/10.

S: Damn with a capital ‘D’ this is one bold aroma! Nothing unexpected from Tuatara – these guys (and girls – we discussed this already) know how to throw down a gauntlet. Aromas of: Earth and pepper upfront mingle with cacao nibs, dark chocolate, espresso and a piney hop character. Impressive work Tuatara. 8/10.

T: Earthy and peppery Rye notes right from the get-go. This is a Rye beer that you can tell has really had a decent quantity of Rye added to it [about time]. Dark chocolate/espresso coffee notes come in mid-palate, trample on your tongue a bit before opening up for a late herbal/piney bitter finish. It’s definitely slanted towards the darker beer flavour spectrum (think Russian Imperial Stouts), and the coffee notes are sublime (and slightly smoky) so if you go in to this wanting Stout flavours you will indeed be one happy camper. 8/10.

M: Medium bodied with a thin(ish) carbonation that could have been improved with oats [just saying]. Overall textures are good enough, though not on the same level as a brewer like Founders. 8/10.

D: What an unexpected hit (like ‘Come on Eileen’ no doubt was in the 80’s). It has been a while since I’ve dabbled with a dark beer – what with Queensland in summer and all those +30c days and whatnot. So this was a pleasant reminder of how great dark beers truly are, and I’ve even got a Sierra Nevada Narwhal sitting in my fridge atm, happy days! *ahem* Yeah, as advertised and delivered once again Tuatara, one of my fav NZ brewers, chairs bra! 9/10.

Food Match: Poor old Johnny Ray, you might want a cigar with this, come on Eileen!


Newstead Wastelands Red Rye Ale

Total Score: 6.55/10 Biscuit1Lemon1Peppercorns1Nonicpint1

The latest batch of Newstead’s limited release beers is a Red Rye Ale. Now if you’ve been reading my reviews for a while you’ll know there is one thing I hate (other than macros, of course) are half-assed Rye beers. If you put “Rye” on a label it better taste like there was Rye in the malt bill, none of this wishy-washy “hint of spice” crap, I want dirty/earthy/spicy notes aplenty! I want to be sickened with Rye-overload! Now, time to see if Newstead can pull up their socks and redeem themselves from being one of Brisbane’s most average craft brewers – or will they fail? [they will likely fail with this one]

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Cloudy deep amber/brownish body with a nice 1 centimetre off-white head that leaves some decent lace on the side of the glass. Strike one on the colour though – hardly what one would consider to be ‘red’ without an Instagram filter. 6/10.

S: Citrus/stonefruit hops with *gasp* a hint of spice. Yep, another f@&king wishy-washy Rye beer… I didn’t doubt it would be piss weak on the Rye like nearly every Rye beer ever made, but somehow I expected… well not more from Newstead, but about the same – disappointing. Second whiff reveals a clearly barley malt biscuit base – no surprises there. Overall aroma isn’t bad at all, just not enough Rye for this white guy [give it to me baby – aha, aha]. 6/10.

T: Peppery notes front palate ease into some biscuit/caramel malts, then follows through to a citrus/stonefruit hop finish – which is mid to light bitterness. Sweet/Bitter balance is a touch on the sweet side until the aftertaste when it leaves a bit of a classy bitter dump on the tongue. This would almost pass as a straight American IPA… a Rye beer though? No. 7/10.

M: Medium bodied with a bit of stickiness and a light but dense carbonation. 7/10.

D: Hey it may not live up to the Rye promise but it’s not terrible… though that lingering bitterness in the aftertaste is distracting. Another run-of-the-mill craft brew from Newstead (who did surprisingly well with The Outpost American Stout) obviously The Outpost was an anomaly in their catalogue of average beers. If this wasn’t classified as a Rye beer, and it didn’t have the bitter aftertaste that overstayed it’s welcome like some sort of derelict unmarried uncle, Newstead might have produced something worth a second taste… oh well. 6/10.

Food match: Newstead was doing this beer with a Reuben sandwich – I missed out on that one.


Sierra Nevada River Ryed Rye IPA

Total Score: 8.3/10 Peppercorns1 HopFlower1 Bread1 Tulipglass1

Sierra Nevada again – I can never seem to get enough Sierra Nevada, I’m insatiable, like some SN thirsting beer-beast. This time SN made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, and not in the twisted Godfather horse head under my blanket kind of way. They did it in the kind of way that involves adding rye to beer. Rye is one of my favourite grains – I have pumpernickel every other day (granted pumpernickel isn’t representative of the peppery characters that rye brings to beer – it does have sour notes though). Anyway River Ryed you da man. Game on!

Poured from a 355ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazed copper body with a massive dense 1 inch cream coloured head that sticks around for a while like a uni student wanna-be writer in a hipster-trendy cafe [aka me]. When it finally recedes it leaves a fantastic complex spider web lacing on the inside of the glass – I could stare at this beer for hours. 10/10.

S: Smell factor 8! This beer smells great. With notes of spicy rye, a bouquet of floral and earthy hops, a sour tinge and hints of caramel. This (so far) is a Rye Beer done well – the rye is the centrepiece of the brew as it should be (looking at you Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Route Des Épices!). 8/10.

T: Again this beer looks great – I poured the rest of the can into the glass and the resultant head came up all big and creamy… anyway, how does it taste? I’m getting to that dammit, I just wanted to look at this brew a bit longer… done. Flavourwise – Damn SN! You boys brought together a Rye Beer and IPA with complexity and class: Big peppery notes upfront lead through to a modest but tasty sourdough/caramel centre, followed by a piney/floral/earthy bitter hop finish. Balance is exactly what you would look for in a RyePA (lol, RyePA, I crack me up) and I’m not left wanting one iota… well that’s not true, maybe a little bit more rye please. 8/10.

M: Medium bodied with a creamy but slightly sharp carbonation. Sits well in my belly. 8/10.

D: If you like pepper and you like IPA hops (done to a fairly moderate level for an American brew) there is little here that can go wrong. IF you’re not into those things give this a go anyway – maybe you’ll grow to like it. In any case this brew is tops – buy it now I say. Do it. 9/10.

Food match: Pepper cheese with green peppercorn salami on sourdough bread with a hit of hot English is your meal ticket 😉