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Ammunition Bunkers have been in Birkenhead at Kauri Point since 1935. During World War 2, the US Navy took them over and developed a range of newer bunkers. This link to our local Heritage honors them with a great American Pale Ale - Bunker APA.
When we developed Bunker APA, the feedback suggested we make a juicy, grapefruit, aromatic, slight bitterness, mid strength ABV beer. We blended 3 great american hops - Ahtanum, Mosaic and Citra - on a 'secret malt base' which results in this balanced and clean beer running at 5.4% ABV. This beer is pleasantly aromatic, tasty and juicy with a clean finish.
I will start off by saying that if there was a bottle of wine, beer, vodka or other spirits on the table, beer would be my very last choice, however, I'm always open to trying new things because you never know when you might find a beer that is enjoyed. I like to look at glass bottles, their shapes and asthetics, having grown up with an older brother who collected bottles, and so a close inspection was held. This is an interesting size at 888mls, which I could easily understand if we were in China, where it is considered lucky, but not as much from something crafted in NZ, nevertheless, this adds to the individuality of this brand. It's also very easy to see both how much alcohol percentage this has but also its IBU score (aka its bitterness rating).
Opening this up, I did wish that it had a screw top, as not everyone has a wine stopper or similar handy, nor is everyone going to finish a bottle in one night (I certainly don't have any friends local to call over to share this with at the drop of a hat). Giving it a sniff I found the aroma very pleasant and poured myself a small drink, still loving the smell, to me it was reminiscent of a cider so based on that I was keen to give it a try. However, upon giving it a sip I found that it was a little more bitter than I was expecting and had a bit of a sharp edge to it. Since drinking it straight wasn't my idea of a good drink, I decided to make it a shandy by addin some good old L&P. Whilst the drink still had a slight bitterness to it, it actually went really well together and made a very palatable drink.
If this was on offer, I'd happily have it as a shandy, straight from the bottle it won't be a first choice but I know a few people who this would be a good gift for.
The Birkenhead Brewing Company have come out with an interesting little APA. This Bunker APA contains three American hops; Ahtanum (known for its earthy, citrus, floral, and grapefruit notes), Mosaic (sweeter notes of berry, fruity, herbal, tropical, citrus, and pine) and the more popular Citra (tropical fruit and citrus aroma).
This APA comes in a unique 888ml bottle. An odd mid-point between a 750ml Swappa and a 1L Squealer, it appears to be appealing to the Chinese market (who see the number '8' as lucky, thus 888 = triple fortune). An interesting choice to crank out bottles of this size for that reason, but it's definitely an advantage to have something larger than the 330 or 500ml bottles, as everybody inevitably wants to try a craft beer due to the novelty of it, so the more you have to share, the better.
Pouring the beverage into a glass, a low-density head forms, which rapidly dissipates until only a thin ring remains around the edge of the glass. The beer has minimal lacing, but the thin head does regenerate when swilled due to a reasonably high level of carbonation. The Bunker APA is translucent, and has a deep golden hue. there are definite sweet floral and citrusy notes present in the aroma. There is a good mix of sweetness from the malt to complement the earthiness from the hops, and the wheat provides a thickness to the flavour without adding too much density to the beverage, in a physical sense.
Lovely and crisp, it's an enjoyable drop, that leaves you content, though there is a slight harshness to the flavour. One does not need to continually drink large volumes to enjoy this; the flavour profile makes it a beverage you will want to sip and let the bubbles flit about your tongue as you enjoy the strength of the fruity hops and malt. Sitting at 5.4%, the Bunker APA is slightly higher than your average run-of-the-mill beer, but requires much less volume to enjoy, which equals better value.
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