Five Barrel Ruru NZ Pilsner, Gnome Project NZ IPA & Checkmate American IPA

Style
NZ Pilsner & IPAs
ABV
5.0% & 6.8% & 7.0%
Bitterness
39 & 70 & 70 IBU

How do I order this trio?

I considered pairing the two IPAs together to compare and contrast them, then finishing with Ruru. I even briefly considered taking Gnome Project separately to Checkmate and Ruru, since I have no urge to kick chess pieces or owls whenever I see them, unlike garden gnomes. But in the end I settled on: ascending ABV order and keeping the two New Zealand styles together.†

Ruru is a great example of what I expected from a New Zealand pilsner. The pilsner malt aroma is sweet, almost syrupy, but it isn’t the malt that holds all your attention once you start drinking. Its full body sets the foundation for showing off the hops – Motueka, Nelson Sauvin and Kohatu Unfiltered bring a flap of Bickford’s Lime Cordial and white wine, with a slow bitterness that glides in.

Gnome Project NZ IPA shares the majority of its hop bill with Ruru above, adding Riwaka and Nectaron to Motueka, Nelson Sauvin and Kohatu. But between the extra hop varieties and the rounder, richer malt character (thank you Munich malt), GP doesn’t have those same distinct NZ hop notes. I probably don't use the word "melange" enough for a Crafty Pint writer,†† [I prefer it with an accented first é too – Editor] but the sticky fruit flavours here can be described best as a melange; they’re inseparable from each other, but citrusy and tropical in their combination. This isn’t a fruit juice though, unless it’s a juice that’s been spiked with a shot of dry resin and alcohol flavours as it warms.

When we get to Checkmate, we’re looking at a different beast again. Sure, it may offer up lovely stonefruit and citrus peel on the nose, making you think you’re getting a fruit-driven IPA, but the fruitiness melds with piney dankness on the tongue. Before you know it, the dank has beaten out the fruit. There’s also a rich bitterness that doesn’t hit all at once – it metes out its impact in increments, like the food at a fully catered cocktail party, or the steady beat of an 80s rock ballad where you can tell the producer is really into drum machines. Checkmate finishes with a bitter grainy malt character that makes you feel like a grownup. Which I guess chess kind of does as well.

Mick Wust

† Beer writing may seem glamorous, but a surprisingly large portion of it is just deciding what order to list beers in. †† We have a yearly quota we’re supposed to reach if we want to keep our job at the end of each year. So far I’ve just been scraping by, distracting the boss with an excessive use of non-sequiturs and side jokes in the footnotes.

Published March 2, 2022

Name
Five Barrel Brewing
Address

318 Keira Street
Wollongong
NSW 2500

Phone
(02) 4200 8881
Open Hours

Sun to Wed: midday to 6pm
Thurs to Sat: midday to 9pm

WA Beer & Brewing Conference 2024 1

More from Five Barrel Brewing

Five Barrel Organic Hazy
Midstrength Hazy Pale
3.5%
Five Barrel Red Rice Lager
Red Rice Lager
4.0%
Five Barrel Winner Winner Hazy IPA & Radio Star Oat Cream IPA
Hazy IPA & Oat Cream IPA
6.0% & 7.0%
Five Barrel Explosivo Pecan Pie Pastry Stout & Succession Plan British Imperial Stout
Pastry Stout & Imperial Stout
7.0% & 10.0%
Five Barrel Spud Australian Sparkling Ale
Potato Beer
5.0%
Five Barrel Sticky Beak Australian Pilsner & Possum Paradise, Wild Russell & Checkmate IPAs
Aussie Pilsner, White IPA, NZ IPA & American IPA
5.0% & 6.0% & 6.2% & 7.0%
Five Barrel Frostbite Cold IPA & Fowler’s Jam Raspberry Sour
Cold IPA & Raspberry Sour
6.8% & 4.4%
Five Barrel Flipside, Big Nipper & Norvell Belgian Christmas Ale
Hazy IPAs & Christmas Ale
6.5% & 8.0% & 7.3%
Five Barrel Peacock English IPA & Red Admiral Nazy NZ IPA
English IPA & Hazy NZ IPA
Both 6.0%
Five Barrel Blue Triangle, Local Call & Servants Of The People 2022
Various Styles As Indicated
7.0% & 6.0% & 10.0% & 10.0%
Five Barrel Monarch IPA, Little Duck Coffee IPA, Apple Cider & Mango Seltzer
Various Styles As Indicated
4.0% & 6.2% & 4.0% & 4.0%
Five Barrel Bière De Maison & Side Salad
Australian Farmhouse Ale & DDH Oat Cream IPA
6.0% & 7.5%
Five Barrel Pulp Wave, General Hazy IPA & Extension DIPA
Fruit Sour, Hazy IPA & Double IPA
4.0% & 7.2% & 8.2%
Five Barrel Brewing Pre-Prohibition Porter & Esuna Botanical Sour
English Porter & Botanical Sour
6.0% & 4.0%
Five Barrel Brewing High Water & Big Picture
Helles Lager & Hazy IPA
5.8% & 6.8%
Five Barrel Brewing Hero Of The People 2021
Imperial Stouts
10.0%
Five Barrel Brewing London Calling
ESB
4.3%
Five Barrel Brewing Finger Trap Hazy Pale
Hazy Pale
4.3%
Five Barrel Brewing Puddle Jumper & Always Greener
NZ Pilsner & NZ Hazy DIPA
5.0% & 8.0%
Five Barrel Brewing Ghost Creek Collection
Barrel-Aged Sour Ales
6.0%