Posts Tagged ‘Stout’

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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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Black is the new Black

June 18, 2010

It’s winter and a stereotype might suggest that this is the perfect time for dark beers. Of course dark beers can be perfect any time of the year but there’s certainly an element of truth that they become very appealing at this time of year along with rich, warming food.

Early in my beer drinking career I was a big fan of dark beers such as Monteith’s Dark and Black Mac but then as my interest in beer grew, my taste for dark styles waned. It’s only now that I’m getting back into dark beers and my tastes are quite particular.

Stout in my mind is highly overrated, in particular a certain well-known brew from Ireland. I will grant you that the Pogues and Jameson Whiskey are two of the very best things in this World, but Guinness – please!?! This was a beer that originally used Roasted Barley simply because it had less tax applied to it than malted grain – a cheap adjunct in the same way we beer snobs now think of rice or corn. On the other hand, Stout’s cousin Porter can be amazing. And then there is Dunkelwiezen – proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy if ever I saw it.

My top dark beer recommendations to get you through winter are as follows (some liberty taken as to the darkness of beer):

Renaissance Stonecutter: Anyone who knows me or reads this blog is probably well aware by now that I worship at the Stonecutter altar. This Scotch ale is truly one of the finest beers in this World with its dense layers of rich mahogany and a touch of smoke. Perfect winter nightcap beside a roaring fire (or heat pump).

Invercargill Brewery Pitchblack: Even though I just had a go at Stout, this one is enough to change my opinion. Dark, full-bodied, slightly sweet and displaying just the right amount of that delicious dark malt character, this is an extraordinarily good beer. Nothing at all to fault here.

Three Boys Porter: I haven’t had one of these this year but have fond memories of a couple of pints of from 2009. A very drinkable beer that makes you sit up and think – ‘damn, that’s a good beer, I think I’ll get another!’

Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black: Dark beers are all about the malt – or are they? Pot Kettle Black is for the hop loving, dark beer connoisseur. Call it an American Porter, call it a Black IPA, call it whatever, this beer will change your perceptions about dark beer.

Townshend Old House ESB: A local favourite of mine, the complex flavours of this estery English ale include fudge and cidery fruit – perfect for a quiet night at home by the fire.

Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue): A bit like Champagne for the beer World, a 750ml bottle of Chimay Blue is going to make you feel special during those cold winter months. A bit like drinking spritzy, liquid cinnamon. Proof that beer brings happiness as if you needed it.

Mac’s Sassy Red: Every beer lover without a gold-plated pay packet and family to support needs a good domestic beer to tide them over. For me, this is Mac’s Sassy Red. I wasn’t always a fan – every second one was good but now I’m a total convert to the deliciously fresh, waxy, nutty malt character and spicy NZ hops. Proof that Mac’s can still deliver the goods.

Schneider Weisse Aventinus: Incredibly rich and luxurious, a perfect display of what a combination of wheat yeast and sweet, dark malts can achieve.

Which reminds me, NZ craft brewers need to release more dark wheat beers! And consider more sessionable examples around 5% abv without the hot alcohol flavours that make my tongue itch. I’ve even had a go at this at home (astute readers with an interest in 90’s ‘grunge’ music may even recognise the album I ripped-off this concept for my beer label from):

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I see a darkness

July 8, 2009

In case you didn’t notice it’s now the middle of winter (though I have to admit the last two days in Nelson have been pretty perfect) and that of course means – dark beer!

This weekend the Moutere Inn are holding ‘The Dark Side’ – a dark and winter beer showcase. This will of course bring up the common problem I experience in pubs these days – which beers to choose? On tap will be:

  • Emerson’s Brewers Reserve
  • Emerson’s London Porter
  • Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black
  • Three Boys Oyster Stout
  • Harrington’s Wintertide
  • Moa’s Winter Ale
  • Green Man Strong
  • Plus local regulars – Townshend’s No. 9 Stout and ESB (a personal favourite) on hand pump.

Think I’ll have to try the slightly infamous Pot Kettle Black (hoppy and dark) and Oyster Stout (with real Bluff Oysters).

Another winter treat just out is Mac’s Solstice Winter Beer which I managed to sample this evening at The Vic Brewbar.

The appealing label is matched by an equaling appealing brew from a mixture of Pale, Vienna, caramalt, Dark Crystal and Chocolate malts resulting in a rich, nutty, aroma and taste with hints of Chocolate. Balancing this nicely is spice and bitterness from a mix of Southern Cross and Fuggles hops, plus something extra special in the form of the peppery native plant – Horopito. A fine, well balanced ale perfect for winter.

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Beers for the budget

May 28, 2009

The 2009 budget has been delivered and it’s pretty grim. But that is absolutely no reason to curb your beer appreciation. Now that we’re all doomed financially – here’s 5 tips to survive the recession:

1. Specials: With the range of beer now available in Supermarkets and their penchant for discounts there is absolutely no need to pay full price for beer. The puritans may finger-wag but simply follow the specials each week and save yourself piles of cash. It’s also a good incentive to try something new, rather than your regular favourite. My best deal in the past 12 months would have to be Hofbräu Münchner Weisse for $2 per 500ml bottle which was on special for several months at the local New World. I also kept the bottles for my next tip.

2. Home brew: Yes, that filthy stuff your Grandpappy used to brew during the last depression. However, it’s an obvious progression that a beer fan will want to have a go at producing their favourite drop and it can be a big money saver. At the basic level, you can be producing your own tasty brew for an investment of $100 – $150 on equipment and then $15+ on ingredients thereafter. Of course, you do get what you pay for so for $15 you’re likely to be drinking watery cat pee. For a good basic brew, get a can or two of Mac’s Pale Ale, throw in some hops and you can’t go wrong.

3. Beer as food: Who needs to spend money on food when you have beer – everyone will have heard of the nourishing qualities of Guinness and the accompanying Guinness baby the next morning. Milk Stout used to be given to nursing mothers. Then there’s stout with actual food in it, as in Three Boys Oyster Stout, packed full of real Bluff Oysters. Treat yourself and the Misses to a nice beer meal out at the local pub – she’ll thank you for it.

4. The rigger: Another classic from your Grandfather’s day, the glass half-G (maybe that’s a flagon but whatever). Now we have cheap, plastic versions far less likely to break when you trip over the curb on your way home from the pub. Forget aluminium or glass six packs and their asset inflated prices. Get a cheap 2 litre refill of beer from your local pub or bottle store. Brewpubs will often provide you with the same quantity of fresh, great quality beer at around the same price as a six pack of mainsteam fizz (and much cheaper than buying their product by the bottle).

5. Forget all of the above: start a confidence-lead recovery, avoid the paradox of thrift – go ape-shit and buy any and every expensive beer you can find! Keep craft brewers the world over in employment. Perhaps some imported Belgian Lambic as suggested in Geoff Grigg’s latest column. You could die tomorrow so why not enjoy life to the full. Best example to show your disdain for cheap beer – Green Man’s organic 14.6% Enrico’s Cure – at least $30 per bottle.

And because it’s NZ music month, I better finish with an appropriate song: