Posts Tagged ‘Geoff Griggs’

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Get it while you can

July 16, 2009

I recently developed a bit of an interest in a drop called Thomas Hardy’s ale after reading about it in a beer mag. It’s an 11.7% Barley Wine that was first brewed in 1968 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of the novelist and poet. As such a robust brew, the ale cellars well and the local Fresh Choice recently obtained quite a stash of the 2004 vintage. While always intending to pick up a bottle, at $9.50 for 250mls I wasn’t in a huge hurry.

So this morning when I read Geoff Griggs’ weekly Marlborough Express column where he notes that the ales days are quite possibly numbered, I made haste for the Supermarket and picked up two of the remaining four bottles.

th ale

In addition, I got chatting to the beer guy and quizzed him about the availability of the soon to be released Epic Armageddon. The rep had just been in and there’s only one pallet for the South Island, which means only a couple of cases for Fresh Choice – looks like I better keep my eyes peeled for that one.

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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.

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Beer Review: Townshend Old House ESB

May 15, 2009

Well, it’s Friday night and I’ve had a Pilsner craving all day (the taste, not the alcohol in case you were wondering). I was looking forward to a fresh NZ example with tasty crystal malt and lots of tasty, smelly hops but decided to take advice from this article in the Marlborough Express (no by-line) and pick up a can of Radeberger Pilsner. Tasted a bit watery at first but as I worked my way through it, I was very satisfied.

Anyway, onto the Old House ESB from Rosedale’s Townshend Brewery (inland from Motueka).

Style: Extra Special Bitter, 5% abv, 500ml bottle

Traditionally I haven’t been much of a connoisseur of British real ales (something about not living in England) so it’s great that Townshend have focused on this style and it is served in the traditional way in two local pubs – the Freehouse and the Moutere Inn. I first tried this a few weeks ago off beer engine / hand pump at the Free House and was blown away. So naturally when I saw it in the bottle at the local Supermarket (the range is pretty much on permanent discount at Fresh Choice Nelson) I had to get one.

The aroma from the bottle was fruity vinegar and then almost mushroom like when pouring into my pint glass – I was starting to worry a bit – however, the first taste was amazing (definitely nothing wrong with brew). The taste is sweet malt – the comparison that came to mind was that fudge slice yo momma used to make from malt biscuits, butter, sultanas and chocolate icing, and in this case she also dropped in her stash of bubblegum. This beer is all about the quaffable smooth malt but there is also a nice balance of bitterness. The aroma remains slightly vinegary – as in a fruit chutney with a touch of smelly socks someone wore on their armpits thrown in (I promise to tone down my future reviews).

If I gave beer scores this would be 10/10. Not sure how widely available this is but you must try it – now!

What Friday night review of an English ale by Townshend Brewery would be complete with without a song by The Who: