Craft beer in New Zealand. How about that? I read an article about their nascent "beer scene" a couple year ago, and here we are in 2012, with the beers of 8WIRED making a splash over here in the US of A. 8WIRED are a gypsy brewer, an itinerant breed a la Mikkeller, Nogne Ø and Almanac, who each brew on other folks' equipment but with their own recipes. As a general rule, both in theory and in deomstrated practice, this allows for more experimentation and a quicker time to market for an oddball beer. I decided I needed to get better acquainted with these New Zealand nomads, and bought two of their creations from the absolutely A-MAZING beer selection at K&L Wines & Liquors in Redwood City, CA. You may have popped the caps on these as well, so I'd love to get your take on 'em too if you don't mind.
8WIRED - "FRESH HOPWIRED": This is a wet-hopped version of the most-praised beer in 8Wired's stable – or at least the one I knew I wanted to most drink – their IPA, "Hopwired". Not surprisingly, it blends Nelson Sauvin hops (from NZ, you know) with Motueka hops, which I can only assume are also from New Zealand. They call it a "refreshing take on the New Zealand IPA", and it's hard to argue. 7.3% alcohol, and a very interesting, different sort of "blended IPA" taste. That's likely due to my unfamiliarity with "Motueka" hops, don't you think? Hoppy carbonated with thin to medium body, and really good. 7.5/10.
8WIRED / RENAISSANCE / NOGNE Ø - "O FOR AWESOME": Hard for me to resist an imperial red ale, maybe the most unsung of all modern beer flavor combos, and even more difficult to ignore a "rare" collaboration beer. This is a combo of two New Zealand brewers and one Norwegian brewer, all brewed "at 8Wired". Now wait a minute, if 8Wired don't have their own facility, where exactly is this brewed at? It actually is a blend of pre-existing beers from each of the 3 brewers. 9% and not particularly hoppy at all, this red is full of sweet malts with a very restrained, creamy bitterness. Clean, sweet caramel taste and a thin body. Might've expected a little more, and as you'll see in an upcoming post, there are folks making imperial reds that blow this one clean away. Still happy to bestow upon it a 7/10, and it was a welcome relief coming into my mouth as a replacement/palate cleanser after the execrable "Tart of Darkness" last weekend.