THE SUB­URB OF Up­per Hutt has not been known for craft beer his­tor­i­cally but today, with the ac­tive sup­port of the lo­cal coun­cil and sym­pa­thetic land­lords, it hosts four craft brew­eries – the es­tab­lished Ker­erū Brew­ing and Pan­head Brew­ery, along with new­com­ers Te Aro Brew­ing and Bone­face Brew­ing Com­pany.

Bone­face opened in March 2017 and is plan­ning to pro­duce 100,000 litres of beer in its first year. Founder Matt Dainty is an ex­pe­ri­enced brewer, hav­ing worked for the award-win­ning Re­nais­sance Brew­ery in Blen­heim for sev­eral years. He was drawn to Up­per Hutt be­cause it of­fered af­ford­able space but was still close to Welling­ton.

The grow­ing range of Bone­face beers have dis­tinct comic book-in­spired art­work, which makes them stand out on even the most crowded shelf. The Bone­face Hop­tron (5.5 per cent) is an ap­proach­able in­tro­duc­tion to the wildly pop­u­lar Amer­i­can pale ale (APA) style. Hop­tron has a pleas­ingly dank hop char­ac­ter with notes of fresh grape­fruit, peach and grass. This hop pro­file is bal­anced by a firm caramel malt back­bone then fin­ished by a dry, mea­sured bit­ter­ness. It is bal­anced and flavour­some.

Match­ing beer and wings risks be­ing a cliché but it’s a clas­sic com­bi­na­tion for good rea­son. Hop­tron cuts the rich­ness of the suc­cu­lent turkey wings (page 72), cleans­ing the palate, while its hops cool the spicy buf­falo sauce and its fruiti­ness counters the vine­gar and Worces­ter­shire sauce. Try to use turkey wings (though chicken works), and do not skimp on the hot sauce.


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