Beer Review – Garage Project Garagista IPA

Someone once said to me “when you are on a good thing, you stick to it”. These wise words are the reason that for this week’s beer review I am not only reviewing my third brew from New Zealand, but also my second beer from Garage Project, and my second IPA. I make no apologies for this apparent desire of mine to stick with what I know, because my beer this week was an absolute ripper…The Garage Project Garagista IPA

Regular readers will know I love my craft beer in cans, so I was immediately attracted to this beer before I even knew what style it was. Also, check out the can, the artist who came up with this design is  guy by the name of Tomas Cottle. I think he is pretty bloody talented, and Garage Project obviously agree with me, as they have used him for a number of designs of late.

In talking with the lovely Rosie at Garage Project it seems that there is a bit of a story about the images…

“Sybil Lupp is the woman behind the wheel on the label. Our brewery is based in central Wellington, in the old ‘Archer & Lupp’ workshop that specialised in Jaguars. There are a few reminders of that around the brewery, including one stuck to our toilet! 

Sybil was a real icon and larger than life character around Wellington, and we hear many stories from people who remember her tearing out of the Garage in her XK with one hand on the wheel, and a cigarette in a long elegant holder in the other.

We wanted to brew a beer to commemorate her, and also to give a little nod to our place in the Garage, and also the ‘Garagista’ spirit, from Enzo Ferrari’s famous little slur. We are based in a garage, and great things can and do come from them! Race Sunday, test Monday, keep it light weight and finish first or don’t finish at all. Things we’ve tried to add into this beer.”


I have to thank Rosie for taking the time to provide me with the info above…that’s the craft beer spirit I love!

12145491_160811114271516_1764243862_nNow, the beer…

Let me make this point clear to you beer lovers…if you are a lover of hop aroma, you MUST find this beer to try it. I know I raved about the Hop Oil that Sierra Nevada used in their Hop Hunter IPA in my review the other week, but I actually think that these guys have gone one better with this little hop bomb in a can. I poured this beer into my IPA glass and took a sniff and I think my feet raised a few inches from the floor. The hop aroma was that intense, in a good way, which made me want to just keep inhaling…I honestly think I could pour this in my kitchen and smell it in the next room…just awesome. The intense hop aroma, which in my opinion is mostly tropical/citrus fruits, is due to the fact that it is is actually double dry hopped with hops from New Zealand, Australia and the USA.

The beer, as you can see here, poured a beautiful deep orange colour with a really solid creamy white head that laced all the way down the glass…I just love it when that happens! The taste was exactly what you would expect from this type of beer, nice malt backbone and a really refreshing lingering bitterness at the end. I think that this beer probably had as much flavour and body as some Double IPA’s on the market…it was seriously that good.

It’s been a while since a beer has captured my imagination like this one has, and that’s what I love about craft beer…you never know when a beer is going to sweep you off your feet and take you to a place you ain’t been before. Work with me here while I draw a parallel to my love of roller coasters…

Being surprised by a beer, well it kind of reminds me of the time that wifey and I first rode The Incredible Hulk roller coaster at Universal Orlando. The two of us are pretty experienced roller coaster riders, we just love them, but every now and them one will catch you off guard and re-ignite your love for the ride.

It was the early 2000’s, yep before the kiddies, and we were on the same trip in the USA that I mentioned earlier this week. It was our first ride of the day, we literally walked into the park and straight into the line for The Hulk. I think it might have even been the first ride of the day for the attraction, because the secrets of the ride hadn’t been revealed to us yet.

In the early 2000’s, roller coasters were sticking pretty much to a tried and tested formula of: jump in, pull the harness over your head, get dragged up a big hill by a chain, get tipped over the edge. Once you build up some speed you do a few loops and, smash around a couple of tight bends and then come to a screeching halt. However, The Hulk, in my experience, was one of the first coasters that changed things up a little bit…and it caught me off guard.

The ride started with the usual scene building stuff and then BANG, we were shot out like a cannon and had reached nearly 70kmh (40mph) inside 2 seconds…that’s fast! The rest of the ride was the usual (and really cool) twists and loops, but all we could talk about after the ride was being shot out like a cannon at the start. This ride reminded me of how much I loved the thrill of the coaster and made me want to go back for more. These days, every second coaster is shooting you out at probably faster speeds and I am sure that there will be something game changing that will come along soon enough, but the Hulk will always be my first cannon start. Check out the video below for a first-hand experience of the ride.

I can just hear you saying “that’ a friggen long bow to draw there, Beer Healer…beer and roller coasters?”

Yeah I know, I said you had to work with me on this one. Every now and then you try a new craft beer that just makes you realise why you love this craft beer game so much, just like life (or Roller Coaster Life) sometimes throws something cool at you to make you realise how sweet it is.

Thank you Garagista IPA for shooting me into craft beer bliss at 70kmh!

Cheers to great beers (and awesome roller coasters)!


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