I’m a bit prone to the SADs during the winter months. As such, I always try to make the most of any fine weather we get down here in Wellington during these cold, dark, wet days; getting out to walk or run as often as the weather allows; enjoying the sun as much as possible between work and the grey overcast skies.
So, it was great two Sundays ago when the sun came out and a burst of unseasonably warm June weather came over the city. After spending some time getting the laundry out on the line and basking in the sun as it came into the house I then headed out for a run around the hilly streets of Kingston.
Well, I was intending to have a run. However, I’d just overcome a bit of a head cold, and when I turned around into the uphill part of the circuit my lungs let me go about fifty metres before giving me a stern “oi, fuckhead, what are you doing? We’re not recovered yet, ease back a bit, pal!” So, instead, I walked home uphill instead, swiftly as I could, getting the blood flowing, enjoying the sun on my neck.
Back at the house, I caught the last rays of the warm sunshine out on my deck with a ‘Woodrow Veto’ IPA from Newland’s Finest, Bayland’s Brewery. And it was a perfect beer for the occasion, a little burst of summer, bright golden with a big fresh hop aroma wafting upwards as it poured from the very attractive can into the glass.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love canned beer. And, as I said back then, I love cans for not just their convenience and lack of weight, but because I think they protect the flavour of beer better than even the darkest of dark glass bottles could hope to do.
Perfectly sealed, perfectly light proof. We’re all accepting of beer served to us from great big aluminium cans (via taps in bars), but for some reason there’s this stigma that comes with beer being put into serving-sized cans. But a can is just a smaller version of the keg, that you open and drink the contents of, without any thought to storage or resealing – fresh, well preserved, each time.
Mind you, there was no way of testing that with Woodrow’s Veto – this beer tasted fresh because it was very fresh; the cans had only just arrived at Baylands before Nikki Styles (who works in the same building as me) turned up at my desk bright and early in the morning with a couple of “nano-keg” samples for me to try.
Naturally, my boss was standing there talking to me at the time. Open mouthed the boss looked at me and at the departing Nikki. Turning to me, they asked “um, did she just… give you beer?”
“Does that… happen often?”
“Well, sometimes. Not usually at work, though.”
Which led to a discussion about beer, about good beer, and what an IPA was and what Baylands were up to. And, eventually, tentative agreement that I’d take my boss out for a drink and show them some of the more interesting things that are going on in Wellington’s beer scene one night soon.
Sharing the beer love!
The Woodrow’s Veto is certainly sharing the IPA love. It’s a hop bomb through and through. A fresh, vibrant aroma of pine and newly cut grass fills the air above the glass, and when it hits your mouth the big hop flavours are balanced nicely on a big, strong sweetness. The flavour in the mouth is full of grapefruit, leaving that sharp, slightly acidic, very more-ish aftertaste I always get from that fruit.
Very fruit, very exciting, very summery. A hop bomb, done very well. And delivered in the can, it should keep its bright hoppiness for many many months, while the mellow sweetness should probably bind it together even more nicely as it ages. Only one way to find out, though. I’ve got a can set aside for just that very reason…
From bringing a bit of summer to a June Sunday, to enjoying in the sun when summer eventually arrives, this is another great beer from a little brewery steadily increasing in both reliability and confidence. And for Baylands take that step into what is for many small brewers “the great unknown”, eschewing bottles for cans, is great to see. I wish them success!