Posts Tagged ‘Pale Ale’

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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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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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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.