10 December 2015 - Best Beer HQ
Stoke Pilsner craft beer review
What: I grabbed a six-pack of Stoke Pilsner (330ml bottles) from the Glengarry liquor store in Parnell, Auckland, because it met two essential criteria: it was craft, and it was cheap (I was between pay days).
Blurb on the bottle: New Zealand Pilsners have redefined ‘refreshing’ by layering flavoursome hops over a crisply bittered lager style. Ours will land you in sunny Nelson with its aromatic Motueka/Nelson Sauvin hop finish.
Extra pale malt for a nutty touch, with an extended cold conditioning period gives this classic Pilsner style a Kiwi twist.
Other points of interest: According to the bottle, Stoke Pilsner has been brewed for eight weeks and the Stoke craft brewery is “actually NZ owned”.
Who or what is Stoke? Based in Nelson, the McCashin’s brewery has been churning out micro-brewed beer since the early 1980s – first Mac’s beer (which was bought out by Lion Breweries at the turn of the century) and then Stoke.
It also produces Rochdale Cider, which my wife tells me is quite decent.
Taste: Despite what it says on the bottle, this beer doesn’t exactly taste like your typical Kiwi pilsner. Instead, it’s much more of a European-style one – its bitterness and hops work in harmony, not against one another, with neither influence overly outweighing the other. Though it must be said that the yeast is strong in this one.
The aroma is fruity and fresh, but the taste is more restrained. The carbonation is good (perhaps even too good; I found myself getting quite bloated by the third beer), with a crisp and refreshing finish.
Is it the best beer ever? Nope. Others are better than this one.
These days, I prefer my pilsners to have a fruitier, more hop-forward character, and if I am in the mood for a Czech-style pilsner I’ll likely pick up a box of Pilsner Urquell.
But Stoke Pilsner isn’t a bad beer by any means – especially for the price. You could do far worse than fork out around $14 or so for a six pack. Even then, I think some of the other beers in the Stoke range are superior; for instance, Stoke Amber is a goody.
Want to give me a second opinion? Leave a comment below.