Golden Pints 2013 – the beer

The idea of starting a beer-and-music blog has been long lurking around the back of my mind, from a suggestion planted by that creative madman Stu McKinley, of Yeastie Boys fame.[1] Good beer and good music.  Interesting beer and interesting music.  A pair of passions that take up far too much of my time and income, but they reward, entertain and comfort the attention I give to them.

I think about both similarly.  I’m always seeking out the new; new flavours, new sounds, new colours, new textures.  There are favourite beers and albums of course, brewers and artists I’ll always go back to, enjoy and discover (and rediscover).   But I’m not one to sit back and be content with the same beer every time I visit the pub, nor am I one of those people whose musical tastes ossify by their mid-twenties.

Others may be happy to drink the same beer and listen to the same music while doing so.  But it seems to me that such people are also those who complain that “there’s no good music being released nowadays.”[2]

Not me. I’m always seeking out tasty new beers and interesting new albums, and in this blog I’ll be taking turns to write about one then the other, linking the two when I can

But first, what better way to start this blog than by diving straight into presenting my favourite beer of 2013?  With no prior posts to establish any bona-fides or credibility, what better moment is there to pass judgement on the year’s best?

Of course, there’s no better moment.  I don’t claim to be any kind of expert – about either beer or music.  I just love them both, and want to share the love…


I went dry for a few weeks in the lead up to my 40th birthday. I broke the drought with this bottle of Gunnamatta, at Bin 44.

Yeastie Boys ‘Gunnamatta’– buzz and hum’s favourite beer of 2013.[3]

I didn’t like it.

I can’t remember exactly where I was when I first tried Gunnamatta, Yeastie Boy’s “dry leafed” IPA, flavoured with Earl Grey Blue Flower tea.  I’d certainly heard about it before hand, the excited reports coming back from the 2012 Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular – for which the beer had been specifically brewed – had New Zealand’s beer twitter community abuzz.

It was likely at Hashigo Zake.  And while I can’t remember exactly where I first tasted it, I can still recall my reaction.  Immediately, I felt my mouth tighten and go dry.  I might’ve gagged a bit.  I may not have finished the glass, as the intense tea bitterness had left me with a headache.

I’m just not a tea drinker, you see.  Tea’s tannic bitterness has always been difficult for me, and I find myself wanting to dump lots of sugar and milk into the cup.  Which is sort of defeating the point, really.  My reaction to my first tasting of Gunnamatta were clearly prejudiced by my “don’t like tea” attitude.  Almost certainly, I went into that first pint expecting not to enjoy it. And I didn’t.[4]

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years enjoying Yeastie Boys product is that there’s always a method to the madness, and each beer they produce deserves a second chance – results may surprise.

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