Malted barley. Hops. Yeast. Water.
(And sometimes; a special secret ingredient)
Yet, the most amazing breadth of flavours can be created by the master-brewer.
Beer is such a diverse drink; a yeasty Saison bears little resemblance to a roasty Stout. And even within a style, one example can be poles apart from another.
One of the great things about craft beer, is that this diversity is celebrated. It’s perfectly ok for a beer to divide opinion. And, a beer that divides opinions more than most, is RexAttitude from New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys.
Rex is a beer brewed with peated malt. XeRReX is the one-off single-batch Imperial version.
Actually, I think it’s really important that brewers brew beers which split the craftbeer world in two. I’d rather open a beer that I really dislike, than one of which I have no opinion.
Death to mediocrity!
I’m not sure that this is a mindset shared by some other craftbeer drinkers.
XerreX currently rates at 3.58 on @untappd. This means that either the majority of drinkers/raters think it’s unremarkable (seriously unlikely) OR the lovers balance the haters (much more likely).
WARNING: SCHOOLBOY STATISTICS ALERT! Using the mean is less useful than the mode. Mean is when the sum of the responses is divided by the number of respondants, while Mode is simply the most commonly selected response. 3.606 tells us nothing, but knowing that most people rate it 5, slightly fewer rate it 1 (nobody rates it 3) tells us much more.
I’ll fess up. I really disliked it, right from the moment of the click-pfft, even before I’d poured it; the smell of smoke was overpowering. And lifting the glass to my mouth brought me closer to the smell.
And in the mouth, all I got was smoke. People talk about its balance malt profile. I couldn’t taste anything but smoke.
The odd thing about Yeastie Boys XerreX is that despite finding it revolting, I love it!
Don’t get me wrong, I never ever want to drink it again, but I love that it exists. I love that some mad kiwis have been told “You can’t do that: It’ll never work!” But they did it anyway.
Think of all the people throughout the course of history to whom that was said; Leonardo DaVinci, Gallileo, The Wright Brothers, Christopher Columbus, James Cook, Edmund Hillary.
I love that while I hate XerreX, I love Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta. I love that the same creative spirit that embraces peat-smoke also embraces tea leaves. I love that there are brewers out there pushing the boundaries of what can be done with 4 simple ingredients. I love that in the craftbeer world there is a place for beers like XerreX.
So, how do I rate it on @untappd?
5 because I love that it exists? Or 1 because its horrible*?
Definitely not 3, because it is anything but mediocre!
(* other opinions are available and welcome)