Alice is tickled pink with a summery sour beer, while Henry says hola to a super-approachable Spanish white from Gizzy.
SAWMILL BREWERY RASPBERRY SOUR
4.5%, 500ml, $10.99 from Fine Wine Delivery Co
Earlier this year, Scottish craft beer giant BrewDog repackaged its hugely successful Punk IPA as Pink IPA, satirically dubbing it a “beer for girls”. The aim, apparently, was to send up lazy gendered beer marketing as well as to highlight the gender pay gap, but it came across as patronising and lame, and they were pilloried for it.
The bloody beer wasn’t even pink, either! This beer, on the other hand, is delightfully, unashamedly, brilliantly pink — a glorious deep pink that could inspire a lovely shade of lipstick or perhaps a Janelle Monáe song.
Does that mean it’s a beer for girls? No, because that doesn’t exist, dummy — don’t make me go over this again.
It’s tasty though, and about as far away from a hoppy 8 percenter as you can get. For that reason, it might appeal to people who think they don’t like beer — whether you identify as girl, boy, both or neither. Sour beers are good in that way, attracting new fans to the wonderful world of craft brews, but they can be polarising — some people love ’em, some hate ’em. I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, in that I enjoy trying sour beers and I appreciate their nuanced complexities, but they’re not going to replace hoppy numbers as my go-to evening tipple any time soon.
This one, on a rather balmy spring evening, really hit the spot, however. It’s crisp, tangy and refreshing — certainly tart, but not mouth-puckeringly sour. Having drunk perhaps one or two too many hoppy numbers the evening prior, it revitalised my jaded palate no end.
Its lovely pink hue is thanks to the raspberries and hibiscus flowers added to the brew, and the berry flavour comes through beautifully. Could I taste the hibiscus? Um, maybe? Look, I don’t really know what hibiscus flowers are supposed to taste like, but they remind me of tropical holidays and good times, so I’m a hundred percent on board with having them in there. The sourness comes from a probiotic strain of bacteria added to the brew – who needs Yakult! Apparently there’s a touch of salt too, which, now you mention it, I can detect ever so subtly.
Something this fresh ’n’ fruity was always going to be an easy drinker, so thank Kali (the Hindu goddess with whom the hibiscus flower is associated, obvs) it’s a sessionable 4.5%. Drink up, girls and boys (and everyone else too).
Verdict: Je vois la vie en rose
LEFT FIELD ALBARIÑO 2018
Gisborne, 13.5%, $14.90 from Fine Wine Delivery Co
Wine names can be a hard language to learn. If you didn’t grow up around people ordering wine or talking about it at the dinner table, taking a shot at the names of certain varieties can be like awkwardly attempting a writer’s name you’ve seen written but never had to say. And this can determine a lot of people’s wine choices. Who wouldn’t rather order a chardonnay or a sav (you don’t even have to say the whole thing!) than wrestle your tongue around an unfamiliar jumble of vowels?
I honestly think this is one of the reasons there are so many white varieties that get sold only when pushed by a waiter or shop assistant. I can remember the first time I said gewürztraminer out loud – it was terrifying. All of which is to say if you like white wine (who doesn’t?) and you want to expand your options beyond the old chardonnay/sauvignon blanc binary, try an albariño – it’s delicious and sounds exactly like you think it would (well, pretty much – the tilde on the n makes it become a ‘ny’ kind of sound). And this example from Left Field (a sub-label of Te Awa and reliable producer of dependable, affordable wines) is a perfect introduction.
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This Gisborne-grown albariño (the grape comes from Spain but is growing in popularity across Australia and the US) is full on the palate, but pretty non-aggressive across the flavour spectrum. It is fresh and pure, with a citric brightness (the albariños I’ve had before have been much more acidic than this one). It tastes of peach and lime, with an incy wincy hint of oak. This super-approachable wine would go with everything you typically think white wine goes with – especially seafood. I drank it with mussels and spaghetti and it was 😙👌.
Verdict: A perfect introduction to a new friend. Just remember – ‘alba-reen-yo’. Easy!
The Spinoff’s beverage content is brought to you by Fine Wine Delivery Co, which is completely and utterly devoted to good taste, whether it’s wine, food, craft beer, whisky, rum… Check out their website or pop into one of the two Auckland superstores.