I picked up a 12 pack of these on our Anzac weekend trip to the west coast last year, I saved one to review and waited until now due to issues with my blog (don’t ask).
Backstory: when I first got out of university I once had an interview with a man who wanted candidates to sell shares in his brewery at commission without salary. Given I was fresh out of university and didn’t fancy myself that good of a salesman (even with my love for all things beer) I politely declined. That man was Paddy Sweeney and he started the West Coast Brewery. He had big plans for the brewery and the label but sadly it didn’t get much further than the South Island, which is why I was super excited to see the brewery in all it’s glory (albeit with a for sale sign outside that I later found out was due to foreclosure) when we rolled into Westport. I am happy to see that things have since been turned around and the brewery has secured contracts to brew Cider and non-alcoholic craft drinks to Asia. Westport needs the brewery and it would be a shame for it to be lost.
The Punakaekae Pilsner is aptly named – the taste is much like the picturesque west coast. Just the right balance of smooth velvety barley with sharp rough hops. For anyone that has been to the west coast will know, its rugged beauty is a dazzling contradiction.
You could fault a lot of New Zealand craft beers for overdoing it on the hop front but West Coast made it work – it’s beyond tasty and even now I am considering a drive through the beautiful yet annoyingly winding Buller Gorge to go pick up another 12 pack. If you haven’t spotted the pattern I am going with here – well I’ll just leave this as it is.
Thank you Paddy Sweeney for bringing this brew and the brewery into the world and also inspiring other wanna-be entrepreneurs such as myself with your bravery, I am sincerely sorry I turned down the job opportunity all those years ago but at the same time, it was for the best.