24 November 2015 - Best Beer HQ
Garage Project Hops on Pointe review
What: In typical Kiwi fashion, I wanted a beer to drink with my fish and chips. However, in not-so typical Kiwi fashion, Lion Red, Tui, or any of that other domestic dross by New Zealand’s major breweries just wouldn’t do.
So after placing an order for a scoop of chips, a hot dog, and a large piece of battered hoki at my local chippy, I dropped into the Glengarry’s next door and picked up a 330ml can of Hops on Pointe craft beer by Wellington brewery Garage Project.
Like a magpie, I was attracted by the golden can, shining in the setting sun. I saw only that it was a ‘Champagne Pilsner’ by one of my favourite craft breweries, and that the price was agreeable. Little did I know that, by grabbing a can of Hops on Pointe to drink with my cheap and cheerful fish and chips, I was playing right into their hands.
I, too, was teasing the traditional boundary between high and low culture.
Blurb on the can: Beer and ballet – an unusual pas de deux. Brewed by Garage Project for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Hops on Pointe teases the traditional boundaries between high and low culture.
Brewed with premium German malts, Nelson sauvin hops and finished with Champagne yeast, the result is a pale gold lager with a crisp, clean palate, rich tropical fruit aromas and tight champagne bubbles. Available at all good barres.
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.
Tastes like: The perfect accompaniment to my greasy meal.
The bitterness of the beer cut through the high salt content of my fatty feast, and its prominent hop nose – citrus rind, passionfruit, fresh-cut grass – was complemented by the lemon slice that I squeezed all over my battered fish.
Meanwhile, the beer’s very lively carbonation cleansed my palate between fistfuls of hot chips, drenched in tomato sauce.
Frankly, I’m making myself hungry again just writing about it.
Is it the best beer ever? You could say that Hops on Pointe is everything I love about craft beer. Like it says in the Garage Project’s mission statement, the best craft beer is about pushing boundaries, taking something we all know and love and breathing new life into it.
In this case, Garage Project has produced an exciting variation on the tried-and-true pilsner. It’s not my favourite version of the pilsner – I prefer mine to be fruitier, a little less bitter – and it’s not the best beer from the Garage (also check out my reviews of Tournesol, Garagista, and Bossa Nova), but it is an excellent one. I’m certainly glad that its shiny can caught my attention.
Meanwhile, it’s pretty ballsy to see a craft brewery teaming up with the Royal New Zealand Ballet (drinking this beer will probably be the closest I’ll ever get to the ballet). How’s that for pushing boundaries?
I look forward to seeing – or tasting – whatever Garage Project comes up with next.