Posts Tagged ‘Dux De Lux’

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A holiday is as good as a change

November 2, 2010

I’ve had a bit of a holiday from blogging with not much going on in my beer world lately…but then when I look back I think I have enough to scape together a post, including a nice trip away on a real holiday. Getting ready for holiday is always a busy time, especially with a 1 year old. There was the job interview the day before, getting everything ready at work and home and then making sure that you get your bottles of beer sent away for the SOBA National Homebrew Competition. This was judged over the weekend and Grieg, the 2010 organiser (and judge) has a nice write-up here at his blog. I entered my Wrecking Ball Pale Ale – I have to wait till the 13th for the results but am a little nervous. It was a little different to the previous batch and sometimes I liked it, sometimes I wasn’t so sure + the judges probably hated the dark Crystal malt which started to come through more strongly as it aged.

Anyway, though preparing for holidays can be lots of work – once they’re under way, you realise what it’s all for. We arrived late afternoon in Rangiora for a nice catch up (and home brew) with my Grandparents. We conveniently missed an aftershock before heading to Kaiapoi and then Christchurch city. While there’s lots of evidence of the quake, much of the city seems generally OK and back up and running again (taking into account the clean-up so far and hidden damage) – it was quite different from the news which only shows the wreckage. Of course, you also start looking at everything and wondering if it was due to the quake or just general wear and tear and the ‘spot the collapsed chimney’ game gets old pretty quick.

Next morning we headed to Lyttleton and after a few tense moments in the tunnel, enjoyed a great antidote to the generic shopping experience of the city malls. I bought some Spelt grain from Piko Wholefoods for a brewing experiment and then a Mike’s IPA from a deli where we also had a nice coffee. From there it was into town and avoiding the CBD road works that have been in progress for the last few years as much at the quake damage, we did our bit of aid for the inner-city retailers. It looks like it was also ‘move your fermenter day’ as these vessels were being relocated at both the Dux de Lux and the Twisted Hop.

Next it was off to Banks Peninsula and after some stops at Little River, Barry’s Bay (for some delicious Peppered Havati and Maasdam cheeses) and Akaroa, we reached our ultimate destination – one of my favourite spots in the whole World – Le Bons Bay. After settling in at my Auntie and Uncle’s home, we enjoyed some home brew and home cooked food before retiring for the evening, when I experienced my only aftershock of the trip.

Saturday saw us back in Akaroa and then later fishing down at the beach, followed by a BBQ of our modest catch (1 Flounder and 1 Sole), amongst other goodies and some more home brew. On Sunday I whipped up a Spanish Tortilla for lunch using delicious and colourful free-range eggs and Purple Heart Potatoes and then it was off for a walk at a conservation project my Uncle is involved with. The trust has purchased a beautiful block of land incorporating re-generating native bush, a distinctive rocky peak and trampers’ hut. The perfect Sunday afternoon.

Catching tea

Dad and Bub enjoying a Sunday walk

On Monday we reluctantly headed back to the big smoke, but not before stopping again at the great cafe / gallery at Little River where I had an Epic Pale Ale with lunch – I noticed that a great range of craft beer is increasing available and high profile in Canterbury (far more so than when I lived there). That night we went to our old haunt, the Dux de Lux where I had to have Ginger Tom after smelling them brewing it earlier in the week. Unfortunately, my palate has been hoppified since I left Christchurch and I didn’t enjoy it like the good old days. Luckily, I was able to wash it down with a Nor’Wester Pale Ale.

After a few difficult days back at work, it was the long weekend where I brewed a Summer Ale using the Spelt. This went well, even though pre-mashing the unmodified grain was a bit of a chore. This was followed by a great day off on Monday where we checked out the finale of the Arts festival at Founder’s Park, including two great festival beers from the brewery.

Bring on Christmas!

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The wall of beer

July 10, 2009

Nelson, far from being a regional backwater is filled to the brim with all kinds of great beer – the only problem being, which beer to choose? In no place is the problem more acute than at the wall of beer at Fresh Choice, Collingwood St – conveniently located just round the block from work. Many a lunchtime and Friday evening have I spent at the wall, eyeballing all sorts of delicious looking bottles – the English Ales, the Belgians and just about every NZ craft beer known to man. Fresh Choice also do a beer tasting every Friday at 4pm, though unfortunately, I’m usually otherwise occupied with a little diversion called work.

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One solution I like is to simply to buy more beer. I’ve had a hop craving all day and so tonight, Pale Ale was always going to be on the menu. I went for the Dux Le Lux Nor’wester which I developed quite a taste for on my last trip to Christchurch. This is the first beer of theirs that I’ve tried in the bottle after many glasses on location in the Garden City. I’d have to favour beer fresh from keg but this was still an enjoyable brew despite the lack of foam – rich and dark, the strong 6.5% abv is certainly evident. There’s a full malty sweetness upfront, followed by an enjoyable hop bitterness. This beer is mainly about the malt and the caramel/toffee biscuit finish completes this beer as a fine example of a New Zealand Pale Ale.

Few things in life could be more luxurious than Dunkel Weiss or dark wheat beer. After trying Emerson’s example a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try Green Man’s new Choc Krystal Weiss. This is obviously an entrant in Wellington’s Beervanva coming up in August as this is advertised on the cap. Like Emerson’s, I assume the same yeast as their regular Hefe Weizen offering has been employed in this beer – therefore comparisons can be drawn. And while Emerson’s was a fine conventional example, Green Man – like some of their other beers – is somewhat off-the-beaten-track.

The aroma is chocolate-chip muffins, spice and then unusually, a whiff of olive brine! The beer pours with a lovely creamy head. I wasn’t quite sure if this beer was filtered as the name suggests and thought I spotted some yeast in the bottom of the bottle which I swished with the remaining beer and poured into my glass. If there was indeed yeast it was minimal. For the taste there is certainly banana but what sets this beer apart is the restrained sweetness – standing out is an enjoyable chocolaty dryness, plus a slightly tart savoury finish. And yes, that unusual seawater/olive brine aroma is also evident in the taste.

I’m not sure what the Beervana judges will make of this – probably imperfect by the manual but I found this to be a unique and enjoyable  beer, plus it challenged my previous perceptions of dark wheat beer.

Call the craft beer movement a bunch of sandal and beard wearing boffins, but I had to laugh at this Victoria Bitter ad:

Update: By way of comparison, I just saw this terrible 33 Export ad on TV:

(almost as bad as the Air NZ Bare Essentials safety video with the naked, toupee-wearing flight attendant)

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Beer roundup

June 11, 2009

Scientific American reports on a 9,000-year-old brew hitting the shelves this summer. Unfortunately it’s not a robust brew that has aged been aged for this ridiculous length of time (by which point it would probably be nothing more than oxidised dirt anyway) but rather an ancient recipe consisting of an intoxicating blend of rice, honey and fruit – sounds like a breakfast cereal ad!

The article discusses Dogfish Head Brewery and their penchant for crazy beers. I haven’t yet had the privilege of trying any of their beers but have enjoyed a library book called Extreme Brewing by brewer Sam Calagione. The book is great inspiration for the home brewer looking to experiment. While some of the beers look out-of-reach for the beginner, the recipes provided are at an intermediate level and should be easy enough to try, once the basics have been mastered.

Geoff Griggs continues the great standard of beer articles featured in the Marlborough Express with his introduction to NZ beer. He features the Dux De Lux’s Nor’wester Pale Ale – ironically I spent around 8 years in Christchurch sipping on Dux Lager and only discovered how great this beer is now that I no longer live there. Luckily you can now purchase it in bottles here in Nelson.

Speaking of Pale Ale, I had an afterwork pint tonight and think I’ve had my first craft beer failure. I took a lucky dip and tried Tuatara’s APA.  Aroma was like a boy’s changing rooms after PE class and the taste was packed with phenols – for the unfamiliar, these taste like delicious burnt plastic and sticking plasters. I’m not trying to rag on Tuatara – this is only the second beer of theirs I’ve tried and I really like their Hefe. Rather, I had previously been suspicious when people say they’d had a bad NZ craft beer as all mine to date had been fine.