Dylan is the deputy editor of the Bay of Plenty Times.

Quench: Stoked by balance of subtle flavours

I've been a fan of the Stoke range of beers for some time.

The beers are brewed by the McCashin family who were behind the celebrated Mac's craft-beer brand before it was sold to Lion in 1999.

The family returned to brewing with the Stoke range that came out a few years back and began appearing on shelves in 2010.

The brewery prides itself on using only natural ingredients and a brewing process that ensures full fermentation and full flavour without artificial additives.

Stoke is among a number of boutique beers that are successfully challenging the main players in New Zealand's brewing industry for shelf space at wholesalers and at supermarkets.

Under the Stoke label they released a range of three beers: Dark, Amber and Gold.

My pick of the bunch is Stoke Gold. It has a smooth hop bitterness with a hint of honey.

It's easy drinking with very little after-taste.

Stoke Dark's flavour is toasted malt with intriguing hints of black coffee.

A fine balance of bitter and sweet.

The malty taste is evident in Stoke Amber but not as strong as in the Dark.

The bush honey flavour comes through strongly and there are hints of caramel.

- Hamilton News

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