Origin – New Zealand
Style- Indian Pale Ale
In 2015 the Wellington-based Garage Project took out the number one ranking in the Deloitte Fast 50, while earlier this year Singapore Airlines teamed up with them to put its beer on all flights to and from NZ. But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, I bet if you told brothers, Pete and Ian Gillespie, and their old mate Jos Ruffell, after they had just brewed their first 50L batch from within a derelict petrol station, surrounded by busted-up engines and old rusty cars, that these feats would even be a best-case scenario, I’m confident they’d have politely told you to ‘get munted’. But as they say, timing is everything. And although these days there’s a microbrewery on every street corner, back in 2011 Wellington’s bohemian-minded population was desperate for something other commercial beers, and Garage Project was their saviour. That said it wasn’t all fluke either. Pete, the brewing brains of the operation, already had a CV to make most craftys envious, with decades of experience working in breweries across the UK (Brakespear and Hepworth) and Australia (Maltshovel), and Jos was also well connected with the owner of Hashigo Zake, Wellingtons top-tier bar who first served up this local beer innovation for the trio. And an innovation in beer it was, with a new beer severed up every week for the first six months. Word spread, fans swarmed and Garage Project grew. However, the innovation remains, with the lads every month still selling 25-plus different beers. In the past 6 years they have produced a mind-blowing 129 different varieties, including ‘Beyond The Pale’, a white tea- and jasmine-laced sour wheat ale, ‘Cabbages and Kings’, an Imperial Oyster Stout brewed with fresh Te Matua Bay Pacific oysters, and this ‘Garagista’, a double dry hopped IPA. And although it sounds much less unusual, don’t be fooled. Pouring a deep orange colour with a surprisingly solid creamy head, the hop aroma of this Indian Pale Ale is so intense you can smell it from across the room, leaving you wanting to continue inhaling this tropical and citrus fruit aroma. But get around to drinking it, and you notice the full-bodied mouth feel is as unique as it is amazing, being dominated by the big citrus hops with the malt sweetness seemingly restraining it just enough, ensuring equals parts sweetness and bitterness in the long lingering finish. So next time you kick off the jandals, grab some hot chups and set sail for the South Island, make sure you’ve got plenty of these in your chilly bin, they’ll ensure you don’t become thirsty should you become beached as!