Beer of the Month – January

It’s the first day of February which means, rather depressingly, we’ve already lived through an entire month of 2013. Usually at this point each year, I feel like I’ve wasted about 30 of the past 31 days. But I’ve happened to surprise myself this year.

Maybe it’s had something to do with the fabulous weather Wellington’s had, but as of today, I’ve managed to keep up a semi-regular exercise regime, write a blog post, keep up with my chores, keep my New Year’s resolution¹ and work four out of the five weeks in January. I’ve also managed to drink quite a lot of interesting beer – which in itself is rather impressive. Some months my work schedule conspires against me, and I managed to miss every major beer release or event there is in Wellington.

In a bid to try and keep up my on-to-it-attitude, I have decided to end each month² by selecting and writing about one beer which has left the biggest impression on me during the 30 or 31 (or 28) day period. So without further ado, the beer receiving the nod for January is… Garage Project Angry Peaches.

Garage Project Angry Peaches tap badge. These guys have some of the best branding in NZ.

Garage Project Angry Peaches tap badge. These guys have some of the best branding in NZ. Picture courtesy of Garage Project.

I know what you might be thinking. This tasty IPA has been around before. Garage Project even released a super-sized version for the 2012 Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge, which ultimately won the people’s choice award. But my timing with the peaches beers has been rather awful. I never got to try the first version of Angry Peaches thanks to my work schedules and not being in the right place at the right time³. And I didn’t even try the souped-up release at the Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge, with its 10.1% ABV making it one of the heftiest of the 17 beers on offer that night –not the best turn-on for someone volunteering at the SOBA Winter Ale festival the next day.

But I have certainly made up for all of those missed opportunities this past month. In fact, Angry Peaches was my very first beer of 2013. Depressingly, I was working on December 31 and while my shift was scheduled to end at about 10pm, my workmate and I found ourselves still tapping away at our keyboards as the clock crept closer to midnight. At 11.50pm, we made a mad dash out the door, grabbed a taxi to Frank Kitts Park on the waterfront, where we arrived 90 seconds before the countdown. With no fireworks, we decided to head to Bin44 for a drink to try and brighten a somewhat mediocre start to 2013.

Bin44 was rather empty and had fantastic views of the zoo of people outside – exactly what we were looking for. I wasn’t sure Angry Peaches was what I was after, considering it was my first beer of the night and it weighed in at 7%, but it was the only thing that looked really exciting on the taps and besides, my night needed a powerful kick.

And it was exactly what I needed. The beer looks great, with a red-amber hue and decent off-white head and it smells of citrus, passionfruit and peaches – even though there are no peaches in the beer. It could be that the name of the beer tricks my mind into thinking I smell/taste something that’s not there, but the Amarillo hop – of which they used bucketloads – is known for its ability to give beer stone fruit characters. It tastes a bit peachy too, with that sitting alongside citrus notes, particularly sweet orange, before making way for caramel, earth, and a bitter kick on the finish.

Enjoying an Angry Peaches at Bebemos, Newtown. I did not drink the whole jug by myself. Photo courtesy of David Wood.

Enjoying an Angry Peaches at Bebemos, Newtown. I did not drink the whole jug by myself! Photo courtesy of David Wood.

Angry Peaches made such an impression on me, that I have spent the month of January continuing to try and track it down. My most recent tasting of it at Bebemos a few of nights ago was just as wonderful as every other during January, with its beautiful balance of sweet and bitter making it the perfect beer for the super-warm evenings Wellington’s been experiencing.

I cannot wait until it’s out in bottles, when I can sit sipping it in front of the TV while the cricket’s on.

*****

¹ The trick, as I’ve found out, is to pick a New Year’s resolution that is actually fun. Mine is to see at least one movie a month. Awesome.

² Or begin the following month, as I am today.

³ Which is so much easier these days with Garage Project’s weekly Friday tap roundup on their Facebook page.

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