Yup, autumn is most certainly here in Wellington. The curtains are shut and the cat’s in front of the heater for the first time this year. Very wet, very dark, not as warm us most of us would like. You can bet Regional Wines & Spirits beer expert and heavy metal yeti Kieran Haslett-Moore loves it.
So, it’s a perfect time to write about a summer beer!
8 Wired Brewing’s ‘Semiconductor’ has been one of the revelations of the summer for me. I’d first tasted it in the beery maelstrom that was last year’s Beervana, but over the summer I had ample opportunity to drink it in the environment I’m sure the beer was intended for – at a barbeque or a party, with friends and food. At 4.4%, this session IPA is available in a neat little easy-carry four-pack, and has become my “go to” beer when taking a few out for an evening. Surely that’s the way brewer Søren Eriksen intended this gentler version of his super ‘Super Conductor’ to be tried – with sunshine, friends, and food.
Did I say gentler? Oh, don’t the lower alcohol content fool you. Though it may be almost half as strong as the Super Conductor, the Semiconductor doesn’t get by on half the flavour. While it is less sweet and less-full bodied, it’s no less hoppy or bright. A crisp citrus aroma lifts above the golden body, the beer is bright and fresh in the mouth, a bright refreshing bitterness buoyed along by a body-enhancing sweetness.
It’s very drinkable, and very balanced. Session IPAs have made quite an appearance in New Zealand over this summer just been, but for me I think this is the best of them. Others tend to lay the hops on a bit too heavily for the less robust body of the lower alcohol pale ale, leading to an overly bitter kick or astringent aftertaste. The Semiconductor manages to keep the sweetness and bitterness in check. It’s clearly an IPA; pushing out far more hop flavours than a Pale Ale and demonstrating more of a crisp citrus flavour than an American Pale Ale. But it’s not too sharp, it’s perfect for easy drinking a few bottles as the sun goes down without getting too boozed too early on.
Also, by coming in a nice little four-pack, it’s a good conversation-starter at parties. I’ve had many discussions about this attractively presented beer, (even once being asked if it was from India, because, you know, India Pale Ale), and each conversation leads to a taste. Sometimes it is too bitter for someone experience a full-flavoured IPA for the first time, but often it leads to “wow, that’s nice. Can I have a bottle? What other beers like this are there…”
Conversations we want to be having!