Although sometimes you do have to fight for your right to party, luckily you don't have to fight for your right to enjoy the delicious artisan ales from New Zealand's Yeastie Boys Brewing Company.
Formed in 2008 by kiwi beer activists Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie, the Yeastie Boys took off soon after with their double award winning Pot Kettle Black American-style porter. This beer, along with their Hud-a-wa' Strong amber ale and Rex Attitude peat-smoked golden ale make up their year-round selection, while a variety of seasonal bottled and draught beers come in and out of rotation depending on the season. And instead of matching their beer with food, the Yeastie Boys like to name their beers after music, films, places, or people.
For this tasting, we tried the year-round favorites Rex Attitude and Pot Kettle Black, as well as the Digital IPA, a late 2011 release which the brewers describe as an open-source beer—the exact recipe is publicly available on their blog.
6 % ABV
The pride and joy of the Yeastie Boys, Pot Kettle Black is a full-bodied and complex porter with strong roasted tones cascading off earthy root notes, thanks, in part, to the complex mix of local malts. The dark, almost cola-like color is topped with a full, micro-carbonated head that emits coffee and burnt tips fragrances tinged with a vaguely metallic essence. This well-rounded beer is reminiscent of an unsweetened root beer and would pair well with a lot of richer foods.
7 % ABV
The Digital IPA, one of the brewery's non-year-round selections, pours with little head and very fine carbocation and results in beautifully cloudy marigold color. Though the strong presence of hops certainly pumps up the flavor and gives the Digital a welcome earthy, tree-bark bitterness, hints of citrus and tropical fruits cut through to balance out this IPA. The elements of the smell carry over to the taste in a classically bitter IPA with notes of fresh vegetables and greens, achieved through the exacting hops additions.
7 % ABV
By far the most "challenging" of the Yeastie Boys beers we tasted, this heavily-peated single malt ale is not for the casual drinker. Though a cloudy, light-golden color and a finely carbonated fluffy white head may present an innocuous appearance, the scotch-like diesel and burnt-rubber smell will quickly reverse those thoughts. This strong Golden Ale has a very dry mouthful with an unmistakably peaty flavor highlighted by cedar and smoky notes. Certainly a great beer to try for the brave, but not one for everyone.