Posts Tagged ‘Nelson’

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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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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.

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Pale Ale über alles

July 31, 2009

It’s my Birthday and what better way to enjoy such as occasion than road test two new NZ Pale Ales.

First up was Green Man’s IPA, a new addition to their permanent line up. Worth buying for the label alone – it looks like the Jolly Green Giant took a stash of Andy Warhol’s acid and ended up on the set of the Brady Bunch. The beer itself is quite light is colour and therefore, the malts are quite restrained. There is a nice, assertive hop bitterness and the beer is quite quaffable, though lacking the rich malts that I really appreciate in a pale ale.

Next up was Renaissance’s Marlborough Pale Ale – an 8.5% Imperial India Pale Ale showcasing of the new Rakau variety of hops. What an absolutely amazing beer this is – the hops are stunning, full of sweet tropical fruit flavours. Like all great beers, there are tastes that you recognise but can’t quite pin down – maybe some Juicy Fruit chewing gum. These hold nicely against the well balanced sweet pale malts and robust alcohol content.

To be fair to the Green Man IPA, there is a large differential in both price and alcohol content between these two beers – so it is understandable that these are two quite different products.

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Inspired by Pale Ale battles in other parts of the country – tomorrow night is the Nelson Pale Ale battle featuring my latest two home brews:

wreckinghop

Vs

Sauvinator2

It’s still cold so I recommend you get jerseys like these:

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A history of hops

July 20, 2009

If you’re into your history and hops, you may be interested in an article I stumbled on today. The article is on a useful local website called ‘The Prow’ which details the history of the Top of the South region. It discusses the development of Nelson as NZ’s hop growing region from the plantings of early English and German immigrants to the tasty, NZ-bred, disease-resistant varieties of today.

This beats the hell out of School!

"This sure beats the hell out of School!"

mmmmmm...sticky buds

mmmmmm...sticky buds

I was given a bit of a tiki-tour of the hop-growing region by a local recently after a day tramp in the Abel Tasman. You can still see some of the old hop kilns about the place but around Riwaka it looks like apples are now the crop of choice (the top wires are still there above the apple trees). However, round the back streets of Motueka there are plenty of small plots – currently being mowed by sheep.

There’s more history on the Te Ara Encyclopedia of NZ site, conveniently located in an article on Hops, Tobacco & Hemp.