Posts Tagged ‘Founder’s’

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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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I love beer!

August 13, 2010

I haven’t written a post in a while – I’ve had some beery ideas but then I get too lazy to bother writing a full post – this is usually after sampling a couple of my latest home brews and wasting time on Facebook. So anyway, here’s a summary of some beer stuff I love.

  • I love vouchers – the perfect birthday present. As a result I now have Pete Brown’s ‘Man Walks Into A Pub’. A while back I got his ‘Three Sheets To The Wind’, which was a great read on global beer culture so I’m looking forward to getting into this one. I also have a spend up at McCashin’s pending thanks to my sister – they’re now making beer and I had a couple of samples of their lager trials last time I visited. Also on the cards is a visit to Founder’s as I recently won their e-newsletter beer quiz. You can sign up for this on their website. It’s their 10th Anniversary and have some celebratory brews coming out. I’ve tried and enjoyed the Blonde, plus a barrel-aged Stout is also now also available.
  • I love all-grain home brewing. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the use of a friend’s all-grain gear for the past few months and popped out five brews – all rather good if I do say so myself. It’s a bit hard to go back to malt kits after that so I’m investing in my own gear which should be up and running soon. Just in time for the SOBA 2010 Homebrewing Competition, which begs the question is – is the World ready for Wrecking Ball Pale Ale or Pacific Gem Golden Ale?
  • I love local beer. I don’t buy that liberal, middle-class guilt that buying local is the solution to the World’s social and environmental problems but I’m quite happy to celebrate good quality, local beer. For the past month, the Moutere Inn and the Free House have had only local beers on tap as part of the Nelson Ecofest Challenge. While it might be a dubious decision to allow in riff-raff from Marlborough, I’m prepared to be flexible considering the calibre of beers coming out of the Renaissance Brewery. I managed a trip over there recently and had a great hand-pumped Elemental Porter and some delicious pizza from the Dodson Street Bistro. Last night, I picked up a bottle of the 2010 batch of 8 Wired’s Hopwired (contract brewed at Renaissance) and am prepared to say that this is the best beer I’ve ever had (yes, it’s true)! I was a bit apprehensive as the bottle I picked up last year didn’t compare to the freshness of the pint I had from the pub. However, it’s hot off the bottling line and just as good at the moment – I just can’t get enough of the amazing Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops. Brewer Søren reports that this year’s crop of NZ hops are a little different from last year’s and I picked up similarities to the 2010 Sauvin flowers I’ve used in my home brew. The Moutere Inn and Townshend Brewery are also holding an IPA challenge on 19th August featuring three versions of Townshend’s JCIPA on hand pump- the favourite one will go on to be brewed as a springtime release.
  • I love contract brewing. Hopwired is proof of the great things NZ’s contract brewers can achieve and Yeastie Boys discuss this successful business model further here on their blog. Of course, Yeastie Boys have been up to great things themselves lately – their ‘Return to Magenta’ Belgian Pale Ale impressed me greatly – it doesn’t get much better than enjoying a pint of this on a clear and warm autumn day, sitting outdoors at the Moutere Inn while taking a day off work. There was also the battle of the NZ and US pale ales – Motueka Monster vs Yakima Monster. Eric at Offsetting Behaviour puts an economic spin on the discussion here. I like the idea of micro economics, as in micro-brewing far more than Alan Bolland and his weapons of macro destruction!

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MARCHFeST 2010

April 20, 2010

[UPDATED]

Well, this blog is almost a year old so it’s time to end four months of no blogging due to laziness and get things going again.

Saturday was Marchfest here in Nelson and you’ll probably have guessed by now that it’s not actually in March anymore. Aprilfest just doesn’t have the same ring to it does it? I imagine this is better timing for the brewers to prepare their harvest beers but means a bit less sunlight for the punters.

Let me state first up that I had a great time at the festival but I was a little disappointed in comparison to last years event. The addition of brewers talks and cider and beer making demonstrations this year was great, even though I ended up missing them all due to beer drinking commitments. This year the main venue was in the large field at Founder’s Park rather than in the ‘Energy Centre’ and surrounds, which didn’t seem to work at well though the view of the Park and wider region was great. This centered around a giant tent with the music at times crowding out conversation even outside. Last year you could sit inside the energy centre where the beer was being served and get down to the serious matter of beer drinking without the distraction of music! The queues were massive at times and dominated the inside of the tent and the free movement of punters. Perhaps a separate area to buy drink tokens or separate lines for each beer would help? There was some good outside lawn with picnic seats but access to these was restricted by the railway, food carts or the tent. It’s the small things and maybe I’m getting too fussy about service but these issues are easily solved and you expect a certain level of service for your entry fee.

This was the other problem with 2010 – the ticket price has increased; it didn’t include a first drink + the half pint serving size increased from $5 to $6. Inflation rises are inevitable at some stage and obviously keeping the beer prices in whole dollars is easier to deal with, but when you take the full increases over the night into account that is about $20 extra compared to 2009 for what didn’t feel like any extra value – far more than inflation. I imagine the huge tent and Don McGlashan bulked up the costs this year and as you can probably tell by now, I’m happy to keep things basic – I’m there for the beer after all.

Anyway on to important things – the beers, which featured 10 new brews from Top of the South craft brewers.

Sprig and Fern: De-Vine Inspiration: A kiwi pilsner with Riwaka hops. Stangely enough it tasted just like Emerson’s Pislner! Love that buttery NZ pils taste.

Moa: Blanc Resurrection: A Belgian Wit. This was quite unusual and complex. Clear with a nice wheat background + hops. Some phenolic funk character.

Townshend: Roger Parks IPA: Nicely sweet and intense – malt driven but balanced with some nice hops. One of my favourites of the night.

Totara: Ninkasi Green: Green hopped, amber / IPA-ish. Nice enough but finished far too short on both the malt and hops.

The Mussel Inn: Missing Linx: Marzenbier? Definitely an NZ interpretation. Complex with some nice smoked malt and Manukasimilar to a lighter Captain Cooker at the end of the day.

Lighthouse: April Fuel: Nice enough amber ale. That’s about all I scribbled.

Founder’s: God Knows Best Bitter: Pretty similar to Mac’s Sassy Red – a bit less sweet and smokyer. Nice.

Renaissance: Funkelryesen: Spiced Rye beer. Unusual and complex – lots of floral liquorice notes. Big points for using Southern Cross hops and mentioning these in the tasting notes!

Golden Bear: Liquifaction: Golden Bear seem to excel at strong beers and this was the business. Stunningly rich and smooth with NZ hops plus some Styrian Goldings coming through with a British punch at the end.

Monkey Wizard: Golgotha Porter: Sweetish Porter, not much complexity in the malt but it does take a rather good dark beer to impress me.

A final whinge before I go – if you’re a food stand at a beer fest serving curry, make sure you have enough rice cooked for the night and if you serving German small goods, have all your products grilled and ready to go!

Update – Marchfest organiser Mic Dover responds:

FYI the Marchfest ticket price has been $25 in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and no Marchfests have ever featured a free 1st drink. You are getting confused with Nelson Beer Fetes which are small events with low overheads.

A small minority of people constantly make this mistake so we are looking at how we market the events differently in future to avoid the confusion.

BTW The increase from $5 to $6 per drink is the first price rise in 3 years.
Cheers, Mic

My reply: Thanks for your response Mic – my recollection is that the early bird price was $15 in 2009 and $20 in 2010. After purchasing my early bird ticket last year I won an entry pack – this included a free drink ticket. I thought this was part of the general entry as the drink tickets were in the glasses at the door but perhaps these were just for prize winners / VIP’s etc. As I said, it’s inevitable that beer prices rise and I’m sure that the decision wasn’t made lightly – I was probably just expecting that the prices would remain the same as those at pubs considering the rate at which you’d turn over a keg but then I don’t know much about the economics of running a beer festival. I hope my comments don’t take away from what is essentially, an excellent beer event.

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Mac’s goes full circle

November 28, 2009

In disappointing news this week, Lion have announced that they will be closing the Mac’s Shed 22 brewery on the Wellington waterfront (Press releases here and here). The brewery has apparently served its purpose in allowing Mac’s to still be marketed as craft beer and is now costing too much – I guess it’s what you expect when an iconic craft brand is purchased by one of the big breweries. Anyway, can you please stop all the ‘crafty’ marketing and definitely stop calling Mac’s Gold ‘all malt’ when it now appears to be watered down with sugar – that’s false advertising! The Mac’s brand and beers have done a lot for beer culture in NZ and in many way it’s great that they have taken things to the masses but for me it’s probably now moved too far away from what I found appealing in the first place.

In far more positive news – The McCashin’s who started Mac’s but sold the brand to Lion in 1999 are back up and running in the original Stoke brewery which they maintained ownership of (see this Nelson Mail article for more info). The brewery was originally the Rochdale cider plant and this is now back in production and one of several beverages being produced. The brewery shop is now open and I popped in today to check it out – while no beer is yet being produced (beer is listed on their website so watch this space), you can fill your own riggers of locally brewed Founder’s or Golden Bear selections, as well as Rochdale Cider. I picked up Golden Bear’s Best Bitter which was rather tasty.

I was also given a sample of a new beverage called Fruté, which is cider mixed with real fruit. This isn’t something I’d usually be into but it’s very nice and possibly way too easy to drink on a hot day (though the tartness from the cider kicks in at the end). I not very good with obligation-free samples so I had to purchase some. Other products include the recently purchased 26000 Vodka (flashy website but bloody frustrating and not particularly useful) and Palaeo water. It’s really good to see the brewery up and running again and I wish them all the best.

If you’re in Nelson don’t forget next weeks Beer Fête – Saturday 5th Dec, 5 – 10.30pm. The list of participating breweries is here and the Dead Good Beer Events website is here.

 

Today’s clip is nearly 7 minutes long and isn’t even a proper video but it’s too bad because this is one of the best songs ever:

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October Beer Roundup

October 20, 2009

The Nelson Mail has followed the Marlborough Express and looks to have started a regular beer column. I don’t have the details from the actual paper but I’m told Fritz and Maria’s beer column will appear fortnightly. Their first article covers two local brews including Founder’s excellent Show Hopper which I mentioned in my last blog post.

The incredibly popular and hoppy Epic Armageddon has finally made it to Nelson – I was starting to think it would never happen but it’s now at Fresh Choice Collingwood St – $10.99 for a 500ml bottle. Pick up one (or three like me) to supply your end-of-the-world bomb shelter.

In more depressing news, last week I was sent a New Scientist article on the World Health Organization launching a war on alcohol. I was too lazy to blog about it but Eric Crampton gives a good overview on his blog – Offsetting Behaviour. Whoever thought they might be content with tobacco control were wrong – there is probably no limit to what these people will target in their quest to save us from ourselves and they need to be stopped.

Eric also succinctly covers the fun-spoiling ‘healthists’ in this opinion piece from the NZ Herald. My fear is that there are far more interfering healthists in the world than rational Economists.

Update: It’s like beer Christmas here in Nelson. Another one of my beer wants has just today arrived at Fresh Choice – Yeastie Boys ‘His Majesty’. A New World IPA in an appropriately regal-looking 750ml bottle. I’m looking forward to tasting the NZ hops but throwing back the 3.8 standard drinks in it probably isn’t recommended when your wife could go into labour at any moment.

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It’s nearly Hoptober!

September 25, 2009

In the tradition of naming months after good causes – Rocktober, Movember – I though beer fans could refer to October as Hoptober. Those with some spare hops could even donate them to their local food bank. I’m sure some poor home brewer will be delighted to open their food parcel to find some tasty Super Alpha or Cascade hop pellets. Hoptober is still a week away however, so I’m going to fill this post with my week in review.

It’s been a good week for beer with the 7th Nelson beer Fête, though I’ll admit I was feeling a bit jaded on Sunday morning after upgrading from the standard half to a full pint glass, not eating enough and almost being overwhelmed by Marmalade-esque New Zealand hops.

Hangover reading material of the week: The New Yorker talks to Dogfish Head. An excellent Sunday morning read.

Bargain of the week: After dutifully collecting 15 stamps – one for every $20 I’ve spent, I got my $5 discount at Bin Inn (the only place to buy specialist home brew supplies in Nelson). Wow – that’s almost 1.7% discount if you spend exact multiples of $20 each time. Thanks.

Conspiracy of the week: This is the second week I’ve craved Brew Moon’s Hophead IPA but someone or something just doesn’t want me to have it. I looked forward to having a pint at the beer Fête – I did,  but it really didn’t taste anything like it – lots of banana and no Cascade. Maybe they got the taps mixed up? So this week I thought I could make up for it with a Friday bottle from the Supermarket. But no, after being in stock for several weeks it’s now all gone!

Great beer of the week: Founders Show Hopper at the beer Fête – they ran out early but put on another keg just in time for my last beer. Wow, what an amazing, unique and intensely  hoppy beer – it smelt just like a certain herb I may or may not have encountered before I discovered the superior cousin Humulus Lupulus.

Overrated beer of the week: Emerson’s Bookbinder. NZ craft beer drinkers adore this beer – I don’t get it!  I get the idea of a mild session beer but this just doesn’t light my fire. I may be drawn and quartered by my beer loving brethren but so be it.

Food of the week: Narrowly beating Monday’s Tempura Prawn Sushi was the Cornish Pasty I had at the beer  Fête – I haven’t had one of these simple, yet delicious pastries for years. It’s a shame I only had one, had I spent more money on food instead of beer I might have felt better at the end of the night.

Taunt of the week: “Got a bottle of 120 min IPA. Last one in shop” – Brother and new resident of Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the week: “Barrrrrrrrffffffffff, arrhhhhhkkkkk, brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrffff ” – me conversing with the toilet after the beer Fête.

Song of the week:

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Spring Fever

September 2, 2009

It’s time for a post after over a month off – I’ve basically been on a month long beer bender due to my birthday, a friend visiting from the USA and my bro home from overseas. You might think that would make for good beer blogging material but it turns out drinking beer is actually more fun than beer blogging.

While unfortunately I didn’t make it to last Weekends Beervana in Wellington, I can take comfort in the upcoming 7th Nelson Beer Fête. While my liver is currently resting, it is definitely in peak condition for this event. Which is just as well as there’s going to be quite a line up. The theme is ‘new to Nelson’ and will be featuring brews from Founders, Monkey Wizard, Brew Moon, 666, Arrow, Green Man, Mata and Invercargill.

Not to be missed in my opinion are Brew Moon’s Hophead IPA (had a bottle of this on Friday – packed full of smooth, sweet and spicy NZ Cascade hops); 666’s Gabriel & Roulette (been waiting to try a beer from this Marlborough brewer for a while – a showcase of NZ hops) and any of the five beers from Monkey Wizard (picked up some very nice Riggers from their Riwaka brewery earlier in the month). Plus, I’m sure all the other offerings will be top notch. Saturday 19th September @ Founders Park, 5 – 10:30pm.

And just in case you thought Nelsonians were missing out, The Moutere Inn is holding an Invergargill Brewery Showcase  from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th September. On tap will be the consistently excellent Biman, Pitch Black, Smokin’ Bishop, Stanley Green, Wasp and Nally’s Cider, plus possibly some bottles of Boysenbeery. Check out the Inn’s new website here.