Since when did you see a label that clean and pretty? Nicely considered and good looking both inside and out, Johnny Gold, Boston Breweries' take on the hefeweizen, is a slightly sweet, uncomplicated beer that's sure to appeal to people not usually so keen on weiss.
Pouring dark gold with a healthy but quickly dissipating off-white head, Johnny Gold looks good from the outset. With plenty of banana on the nose, you’d expect a lot of sweetness. It delivers.
Sweet from banana notes and slightly bitter from citrus zest, cloves and just a dash of what tastes a lot like peppercorns, Johnny Gold is a really pleasing beer. Medium bodied and softly carbonated, it finishes surprisingly long and strong, but never overly bitter.
Like its label, it’s clean cut, pretty and simple. Much the same as Darling’s Bone Crusher, the other weiss brewed at Boston Breweries’ premises, it’s crisp and refreshing. While I’d recommend both beers for a good summer weiss, I’d recommend you try Boston’s over Darling’s if you weren’t such a huge weiss fan, even though Bone Crusher is a firm favourite for weiss lovers, including myself. Johnny Gold is just somehow lighter and a tad more cheery. I can see it appealing to those people (who there are a lot of, in my experience) who usually don’t like local weiss.
Drink this with seafood or anything deep fried. It cleans the palate well.
Boston Breweries Johnny Gold Weiss Beer; 550ml bottle; 5% a.b.v.
Pros: crisp and good looking; sweet and refreshing.
Cons: might be a bit uninteresting to the serious weiss lover.
Durban is braai city all year round. When it’s rainy in Cape Town and icy on the Highveld, Durban continues to churn out pearlers every week. Sometimes the sunlight seems a little too white to be sunlight, and the palm trees look like they were extracted from a movie set. I love it. It’s good to be home.
My mates convened a braai in the middle of the week. I made up some lentil patties (much to their chagrin) and brought along Darling's Bone Crusher to try out.
Bone Crusher is what I guess to be a Belgian-style witbier. I say I guess because I was too distracted by the label to read it, although it is very attractive with its hyena skull and (unintentional, but hilarious) reference to a rapper I listened to when I was 13.
I ain’t never scared. (link for extra lols)
Anyway. Bone Crusher was passed around the table, and while some didn’t like its bitterness, my friends who liked witbier enjoyed it. I did too. It’s flavoured with orange peel and coriander, and explodes with bitter fruit – mostly citrus – on the palate. It has a bouquet of citrus to match, with slight toffee and spicy twangs. It has a light, spritely carbonation and a light body to match. Seeing as it’s 6% a.b.v., this is impressive, but also slightly worrying, not least because the high-rising, fluffy head it pours with is so inviting. So if you’re a fan of witbier, I’d treat this one with care: it’s stronger than it seems.
I like Darling’s labeling and their beer, along with the impressive fact that Bone Crusher, and the rest of their beers, are brewed from local wheat grown in the small town of Darling itself. I think they do their little farming town proud, and judging by the reactions to their beers that I’ve seen in Cape Town, they’re making an impression in the big city.
Perhaps they should make a Big Boi Bock or an N.W.A. IPA? I’d buy it.
Darling Bone Crusher; 6% a.b.v.; 550ml bottle
Pros: Nice identity; bags of tart citrus; positively lively witbier.
Cons: Possibly too bitter to get some people hooked on this style.
Oh yes, if you can’t find Darling beers in your local bottle store, you can order them from http://ebooze.co.za like I do. :)
Practicing before a show at Wolves in Johannesburg with my band, The Life of Riley. Note the distinctive Brewers&Union Steph Weisses on the table. They were R40 a pop - took up a good amount of our earnings from that night. Nice enough beer, but not really worth forty bucks.
Have a great weekend, everybody.
Photo taken by Kirstin Conradie