Alice partakes of a pineappley pale ale, while Henry pops the cork on some French fizz.
BEHEMOTH PRETTY PRETTY PRETTY PINEAPPLEY PALE ALE
5.3%, 330ml, $3.99 from Fine Wine Delivery Co
Hot on the heels of Kind of a Big Deal, which honoured San Diego’s finest son Ron Burgundy, comes a Behemoth tribute to another comedy icon — Larry David of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Pretty Pretty Pretty Pineappley pays homage to Larry’s glorious catchphrase: “Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretttttty, prettttaaaay good.”
I’m not sure quite what the connection between Larry David and pineapples is, but I can’t say I really care, because this is a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretttty, prettttaaaaay good brew.
You’ll often hear hoppy beers described as having fruit characteristics, whether it be passionfruit, mango, grapefruit, stonefruit or any number of others. This comes down to the different hop varieties used in the brew (eg, in a New Zealand context, Rakau is stonefruity, Taiheke grapefruity, and Riwaka passionfruity).
You can probably guess which fruit is being evoked in a beer called Pretty Pretty Pretty Pineappley. Behemoth used American and Australian hops that have particularly pineapple-esque attributes — I dunno which, but I’ll hazard a guess that Citra’s in there somewhere — as well as adding actual pineapple to the brew.
The result is a delightful pineapple aroma as soon as you open the can. Once you pour it, it’s a full-on assault of the senses. You could be about to tuck into a pina colada, but instead — great news! — you have a lovely beer to consume.
After this pineapple aroma onslaught I was surprised to find that the flavour is actually pretty subdued — you can taste the pineapple, but it’s subtle. The beer is super light in both colour and body, a beautifully easy-drinking pale ale for summer. It’s not too bitter so would be a good gateway beer for a pilsner or lager drinker.
So go outside, pour yourself a Pretty Pretty Pretty Pineappley Pale Ale, chuck a bloody cocktail umbrella in there and pretend you’re in the tropics.
Verdict: If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, you’ll find this pretty, pretty etc good.
KRITER BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT
France, 11.5%, 750ml, $17.90 from Fine Wine Delivery Co
Look, if I told you this was champagne or a champagne substitute, I’d be lying. The makers of champagne vigorously defend their brand because only champagne is champagne and everything else is something else. I understand that can sound snooty or pretentious or whatever, but not only is it true, but it is also, IMO, something more winemakers outside of France should fight for.
That doesn’t mean that other sparkling wines are, therefore, not as good as champagne, just that they aren’t champagne. And calling them a champagne substitute gives the drinker certain expectations they shouldn’t have. If someone told you they’re opening a bottle of champagne and then hands you a prosecco, you’re going to be disappointed, even though prosecco is delicious and should be appreciated on its own merits.
The same with this Kriter Blanc de Blancs. Forget about it as a “champagne-style wine” (not quoting anyone in particular), just enjoy it for what it is: a delicious sub-$20 sparkling wine from France that is cleanly dry, lightly acidic and subtly fruity. This isn’t so much a wine to sip with caviar or oysters, but a wine to pop in celebration or just for fun. Needless to say, there are gonna be a lot of reasons to be popping bottles for fun over the next couple of months. And you’re not going to do better for the price than this.
Verdict: Pop this for good times.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.