After watching Invictus the other night and then scoping out my fridge for what to taste next, the New Zealand trio seemed almost perfect given the how big the All-Blacks rugby team had figured in the film.
As bold as Eastwood was to dive into a sacred moment in world history, Renaissance Brewing is equally brazen to create a gorgeous medieval label and declare and name this beer “Perfection.”
The beer pours a perfect amber and, with almost no head, this unfiltered beer is a perfect pint for anyone who doesn’t want to feel “full” after drinking beer.
I dare say, this is one of the best English-styled ales I’ve ever set lips to — the waters are like diving into a glass of toffee. The brewmaster didn’t need to write “toffee” on the label anywhere to communicate these flavours, but impart them he did … with a resounding and lasting effect. There are no bubbles to get in the way of these simple flavours that are in perfect balance with the alcohol hops. Toffee with a crisp apple finish, sweet, but tart, with a refreshing bitter ending that just leaves the mouth feeling like it had a full-body massage. Damn that’s good.
While the brewer hasn’t made any claims to this effect, based on the hazy colour and the sediment in the bottom of the bottle, and because it has a natural carbonation feel along with a yeasty aroma, I’d wager this has been brewed sur lies – which I give a big thumbs up. I don’t particularly understand why people think head is an always important attribute in a beer. Personally, I think mouthfeel is more important … and more important is balanced carbonation that accents but doesn’t get in the way of flavour — which, more often than not, is the case with poorly crafted beers. I may be a contrarian in this opinion, but I think Renaissance and I see eye-to-eye … and they have nailed it with this beer. It would only be conceited to call your beer “perfection” if you missed the mark. While they haven’t listed the IBUs on the label, I would say that the bitters are higher than I’d expect for an English Pale Ale … and the ABV is probably higher too. So if you were measuring this on “style” or “aesthetics” (i.e. being a purist), it would probably lose marks – however, on the merit of taste alone, this is an awesome beer and very appropriate for the season and a great way to settle the back after a hard day of playing in the snow.
Here’s to New Zealand and an excellent first entry in this blog. Let’s see if Renaissance’s next two entries can hold the line.
Stats: English Pale Ale. 5% ABV. Marlborough, New Zealand.
Colour: Dark gold – Medium Amber
Mouth Feel: Light carbonation, creamy, smooth, and refreshing finish.
Pairings: Teriyaki Chicken.