13 July 2015 - Best Beer HQ
Bossa Nova craft beer review
The bottle: A toucan with a bowtie sits on an orange trumpet amid a tropical paradise. It sounds very abstract, doesn’t it? Bossa Nova sports a quaintly colourful label; it makes me excited to try this beer.
What it says on the bottle: Translated from Brazilian Portuguese, Bossa Nova means ‘the new style’. This beer is uncharted territory for the Garage.
Brewed with a hop cocktail of Equinox, Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy and El Dorado, Bossa Nova is fermented with a strain of yeast’s infamous sibling Brettanomyces, giving it a unique tart pineapple and mango character.
To this idiosyncratic base, we’ve added a fruit medley of guava, mango, papya, passionfruit and lime creating a beer that is part IPA, part tropical fruit cocktail. It’s always good to try something new.
Garage Project: We’re a small brewery, located in an old petrol station in Wellington, New Zealand. It’s an unlikely place for a brewery but our aim in the Garage is to create unique and beautiful beers.
We like pushing boundaries, reinterpreting styles and challenging the notions of what beer can be. We’re here to try something new. Just like you.
Brewed with: Brettanomyces, tropical fruit
Tastes like: Remember how when you were a kid you’d fill your cup with all the flavours at the soda fountain? Bossa Nova is like that: a cup full of Coca-Cola, Fanta, Lift, and Sprite, all mixed together.
That’s not necessarily a criticism. I like a beer that pushes boundaries, and this one certainly does that.
Bossa Nova is deep, complex, challenging. It packs a fruity punch, just as it obviously sets out to, with a caustic bite that’s not at all unpleasant. In fact, I finished the bottle rather quickly, seemingly noting different essences of fruit with every sip.
It pours a hazy orange with a decent white head. The Bossa Nova’s strong, fruity aroma is delightfully tangy; I’m sure you could just about smell it from down the street.
Is it the best beer ever? Bossa Nova is likely to be a divisive beer. Craft beer lovers will likely really enjoy its audacity – combining so many tropical elements into one complicated and tasty brew.
Others, the mainstream-lager boys and Lion Red fans, will likely consider Bossa Nova just another case of a craft brewery throwing everything into a bottle and smacking an expensive label on it. For them, it’ll be a hodgepodge of a beer, too much flavour and not enough balance.
Certainly if you’re new to the wonderful world of craft beer, you might like to work your way up to this one. Walk before you run, so to speak.
For me, Bossa Nova is a glorious experiment – but I’d prefer a can of Garage Project’s Garagista IPA instead. It’s a less complicated, more straight-forward take on the IPA, with enough of a fruit nose to keep it interesting.
Regardless of where you stand, though, you’ve got to give Garage Project maximum points for pushing the boundaries.
What else should I drink? Garagista IPA, of course. Also check out Best Beer HQ’s review of Garage Project’s Tournesol Spiced Saison.