Drunken Speculation

#38 Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA

yeastie boys gunnamatta ipaIf you were to map out my ascendancy into beer geekery, it would look something like:

It was my mate’s twenty-fifth at the Archive. The night was winding down and it was one of the first times I’d strayed in the Next Door bar, where the expensive hardcore geek beers are kept. With a $14 price tag per schooner, I was a bit unsure. Fortunately, one of my friends stumped up for two because I’m not the only one who can’t go past an amazingly good pun.

It was an unbelievably good beer, the feeling of which still resonates with me a year on. This was before I knew about GABS and how Yeastie Boys’ Gunnamatta IPA was judged the best in show by the people in 2012. But when an opportunity came to buy a couple of stubbies recently ($8 each!), I jumped in with both hands…to buy two.

To back up, here’s what the creators had to say:

When the team behind the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular asked us to create a special beer for their 2012 festival, we started by searching for musical inspiration from their Australian homeland. The tunes led us on a wild conceptual ride but we ended up settling on this hugely floral India Pale Ale that is “dry-leafed” with a massive load of Earl Grey Blue Flower tea.

On the pour, there’s a generous fluffy white head, which collapses a bit faster than you’d expect in my Spiegelau pilsner glass. It has a classic IPA orange colour and not a huge amount of carbonation. It goes down silky smooth and has an amazing aroma – easily detectable over a metre away – which, today, mixes tea, lemon and toffee but other times has been like a bunch of flowers.

Yeastie Boys have mentioned problems with consistency in the past. I’m not sure if that’s why I have three sets of tasting notes for three attempts at the beer:

  • 11 August 2012 – Smooth drinking, fantastic beer with tons of hops and a well-woven tea flavour in the back. After six or ten beers that night and trying to remember a year down the track – adjust as you think is required
  • 4 August 2013 – Big fruity aroma and like biting into a floral bag of potpourri
  • 13 August 2013 – Heaps of aroma, mostly toffee and flowers with a lemon lozenge taste and tea bitterness on the aftertaste

If I was being generous, I’d say the beer was complex and ever changing. If I was being harsh, I’d say Yeastie Boys didn’t have control of their beers and should sort out their blog. If I was being realistic, I’d suggest that my memories have so much nostalgic sepia tint to them, that they’re unreliable.

What I have in front of me now is most definitely an interesting beer. To say whether I like it is being torn between my previously established fondness for the beer and the fact that I’m seriously just getting lemon lozenge right now. As I always say (or will from now on), context and expectation define these kinds of experiences with the experience itself almost irrelevant.

Is it a good beer? Maybe not, too much wash and lemon.

Is it a sessionable beer? No, I’d only drink one in a sitting.

Do I like it? I don’t know but probably.

How’s that for an opinion?


  • Website
  • Genre: IPA
  • Regionality: Wellington, NZ
  • Strength: 6.5%
  • Rating: 2 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 3.5 / 5
  • Plus: You won’t find anything else like it in this hemisphere
  • Minus: Expectations and memories make reviewing difficult
%d bloggers like this: