Posts Tagged ‘The Free House’


Wimmin and beer

September 22, 2010

I was taking suggestions from my co-workers today on what style of beer I should brew in the weekend (as you do) and was taken aback by one of my female colleagues asking ‘beer is beer isn’t it?!? After recovering my composure and explaining about the numerous styles of my favourite amber liquid, I wondered – ‘are women missing out on beer and if so – why?’

On one hand, this is someone who frustratingly drinks wine every time we go to the Freehouse – a beer candy store if ever I saw it – but then on the other hand, seems pleasantly surprised when sampling my home brew. While I also work with some European ladies who love their beer and either home brew or bring me back bottles of Weihenstephaner after trips home – what makes the average female more often than not, choose wine when not under obligation to sample a colleagues latest garage creation?

There are the biological explanations – woman’s tongue’s have more taste buds than men’s so are not as amenable to the bitterness of hops but I’m sorry, this seems like BS to me. I gave my wife a home brew today and while she thought it was a bit too bitter, I’m pretty sure that any pantywaist male who thinks that Tui makes Pale Ale; Southern Cross is a bunch of stars rather than a high alpha New Zealand hop; and who hasn’t had his tongue obliterated by tons of hops would say the same thing (grrrr, hops are manly!!)

To me, the issue is a cultural one. As my wife explained – beer is perceived as first and foremost, a man’s drink; is highly carbonated so may lead unfeminine belching; and is altogether perceived as a more risky option than safe wine. There is also the perception that beer is a singular and uninteresting entity (an opinion still common amongst many males) which tastes like crap – and this makes perfect sense, given the offerings of many mainstream brewer’s (though said males have learned to enjoy these, again for cultural reasons).

So, like some crazy Pastor who has seen the big JC, I’m keen to spread the gospel of hops (and malt if I have to) – these ladies are missing out and need to see the light! What’s your opinion? Are ladies really biologically wired to  hate hops?; should we leave them to their primitive vinous beliefs?; am I really just a misogynist?


Jools Holland female medley:


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!




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:


2 line beer reviews

May 8, 2009

Now that Twit-er has shortened everyone’s attention span it’s acceptable to write in the minimalist style, which suits me well because I’m lazy.

Went to the Free House tonight and had the best beer of all – free beer. So here’s the quick reviews:

Tuatara Hefe: Aroma and taste – banana chips, yum. Spend ages trying to liken the aftertaste of a Hefeweizen to something, still none the wiser.

Emerson’s Pilsner: Front runner for NZ’s best beer. Amazing hops. Taste likes Marmalade after eating a Dolmade.

Founder’s Fat Lip: brewed for Marchfest. Not sure it’s it’s widely available. Damn, what a great beer – best Founder’s brew I’ve tried. Rich maltly taste like Ryvita crispbreads, balanced perfectly against fresh and tasty Nelson hops.

All great beers – it’s a hard life.


New Pubs on the Block: The Free House, Nelson

May 5, 2009


In what is likely to be an infrequent feature, I bring you – New Pubs on the Block – reviews of new pubs just round the corner from work. However, with two new pubs in the last 12 months – lets hope the trend continues.

From the team who brought us the Nelson Beer Fetes and Marchfests comes the Free House – based on the UK concept of a pub not tied to any one brewery. A somewhat novel concept here in NZ given the propensity to be contracted to one of the big two breweries.

The pub is tucked away in the former Dutch Reform church on Collingwood St painted in attractive new colours. I’ve been into a pub in former church when in the UK which left me with a feeling that that I was displeasing God by drinking in a former house of his. The Free House is quite a different style pub though and feels a lot like relaxing in someone’s living room or a small public hall.

The interior is quite simple yet has some interesting character such as the multi-colour beer tabs and large bug sculptures that long-time Nelsonians will remember from former iconic cafe – Chez Eelco.

On tap you will find a changing selection of the best NZ craft beers from the likes of The Mussel Inn, The Twisted Hop, Emerson’s and Founder’s. Plus this is the only place in town to find genuine real ale from the likes of Townshend on hand pump. Obviously there is a price to pay for this quality but as a place to go for one or two pints – it’s ideal.

One thing that might seem odd at first is the lack of any background music leaving the focus firmly on conversation. Only problem might be the acoustics – it was packed on Friday evening and I lost my voice trying to be heard.

There is also a nice outdoor area with plenty and seating and even a covered bikestand.