99*

99 Not Out.

Not just an unfortunate end to a cricket innings but rather the punch line to one of the more interestingly marketed beers in recent times.

Additionally, it’s also the result of a New Zealand brewery rather oddly celebrating the ‘not-quite-achievement’ of an Australian cricketer.

It was November 2001, I was 13 (a few years off beginning my beer odyssey) and Australia was playing New Zealand at the WACA in Perth. Having played the role of middle-school bully and completing the cricketing version of stuffing their Trans-Tasman rivals into a locker for many years the Aussies were in the rare position of needing to win the final test of a home series to claim victory.

Swashbuckling tail-ender Shane Warne had reached 99 and was on the verge of notching his maiden Test century. In typically Warne fashion he suffered a brain-melt, tried to hit Daniel Vettori out of Perth and was dismissed. Video replays revealed that Daniel Vettori had over-stepped – but much like the inability to undrink that pint of Carlton Draught – there was to be no recall for Warne.

*Let it be known that in my search for an image to match this blog post, the irony that is Shane Warne ’99 Cricket as a video game title is immense*

In their wisdom and appreciation of the mother of all tragicomedic moments, Moa decided that this moment should be immortalized in a beer. Thus, the 99 Not Out Pale Ale was born.

The brew was allegedly brewed in consultation with Shane Warne, but considering that this guy was notorious for ending endless tins of baked beans rather than sample local cuisine on tour, I don’t know if I’d trust his ideas.

Nonetheless, Moa are a quality brewer and makers of the first Breakfast Beer I ever drunk!

The 99 Not Out is made with NZ Kohatu and Cascade hops, and is described as a “new world style Pale Ale”.

For those who don’t sprechen sie Deutsch (no, not German, but Beerish), in essence it’s a lighter-bodied, less-full-on pale ale that’s designed for people to be able to comfortably drink a lot of it.

Pouring a hazy amber with a fruity malt base, the ale displays the expected passion fruit aromas you want from a pale ale and demonstrates some spicy hop flavours and a mild bitter aftertaste. In conclusion – the 99 Not Out is the strange love-child of a Kiwi desire to possibly patch up created animosity between Shane Warne and New Zealand – and is actually a strong sessionable offering.

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