Wasp Honey Pilsner is a uniquely New Zealand beer that’s been inspired by Nature’s Raider. A great summer thirst quencher featuring Kamahi Honey, the bee-blended taste of Catlins Forest Park. Best served chilled.
Pouring a rich golden hue beneath a wispy white head, Wasp has a sweetish aroma and palate combining biscuity malt, caramel and floral honey. Medium-bodied, with a spritzy mouthfeel and lingering vanilla note that remind me of creaming soda, the beer finishes crisply with an edge of citrusy tartness from the hops.
Invercargill Brewery’s Wasp is the chameleon of the brewery range.
The label was originally launched in 2002 as kristal weizen an filtered wheat beer for a market that was largely unprepared for anything as a radical as cloudy beer. However, as the craft market evolved and more mature tastes developed by 2007 we’d noticed an interesting trend – although the kristal weizen had won a bronze medal at BeerNZ kegs sales were languishing behind a Honey Pilsner developed as a trial for a contract client looking for an export market that never eventuated. By the same token Wasp bottle sales were holding steady.
With one beer too many for the existing tank space a decision had to be made.
Hmmm. Popular Beer. Popular Beer Label.
By popular demand Wasp became a 5.2% Honey Pilsner in 2007.
“The light flavour meant it was a deceptive tap beer with a tendency to sneak up and surprise people,” Mr Nally said. “We had some bars take it off tap for that very reason.”
So, in 2012 a slight change to the honey content bought the alcohol level back to a sessionable 4.8% more suited to the domestic market, which paradoxically enhanced the distinctive Kamahi Honey flavour.
It may never have won a beer medal but it’s certainly won hearts.