Hamilton really does get a bad rap. Frequently from me, I’ll freely admit. It just has this big, flat, sprawling bland black hole kind of a feel to it — especially when you’re trying to get through it on your way somewhere else.
But there were increasing rumours of Good Pub To Be Had in the City, and so I seized the chance for a roadtrip up to visit a friend and conduct some “research”. Kirsten and I had a nice little wander through town, stopping at several suprisingly-civilised (but non-amazing) places on our way here, to the reputedly-lovely House on Hood.
It’s a charming little place, really; the decor is comfortably cute and quirky but not overdone, and the atmosphere seems pretty relaxed. The beer selection is pretty damn good — I really want to say especially for Hamilton, but that would just seem like lingering bigotry, after this opinion-changing night out — and the list has helpful notes, some of which are summarised and repeated on a handy Big Board for the tap selection. I got the distinct feeling that Nerds would be welcome and wanna-be Nerds would be well helped. I met the owner, and he definitely seemed to have his head screwed-on right; beer is a thing for civilised enjoyment, not for wankery.
And… the Croucher brewery made them a golden. I do loves my golden ale, I do, so that felt particularly welcoming. House fell into the easy and often-done trap of describing it as a lager-ale hybrid, which is a strange combination of kinda getting across the right idea and kinda missing the point entirely — but you get used to that, as a fan of the style, and I suppose it would work to pique the curiosity. Anyway, descriptions aside, it’s lovely. Light and quaffable and refreshing and different enough to be interesting, and fairly sessionable too, at 4.1%. All in all, a damn good idea for an own-brand offering from a place like this — “house beers” are utterly bleh all too often, even when you find them at otherwise-genuinely-lovely places like Betty’s here in Wellington.
Verbatim: House / Croucher ‘Mighty’ Golden Ale 29/10/10 4.1% $8.30 @ House on Hood. Had a few decent little pubs here in the Tron before making our way here — just nice, nothing special. This place looks lovely. Nicely shambling slightly-kitsch interior. Quite a diverse crowd. And Croucher made them a golden! Tasting notes on the wall are a bit limp (“cross between lager + ale”…) but still. It’s proper Golden — light + pretty lovely. When the notebook + camera came out, Kirsten pretended not to know me. Understandable. I borrowed the beer list + met Nathan, the owner; all the right ideas about enthusiasm for good beer while avoiding over-done wankery.
One thought on “House on Hood, and House / Croucher ‘Mighty’ Golden Ale”
Nice couple of posts on the ‘Tron. Yep, we’re certainly on the improve here. Gothenburg might just be the coolest little beer cafe ever, and House is just about the perfect local. Next time you’re up this way, let me know – I always love meeting beer people. First round is mine! 😉
Just a little bit of history for you which might help you swallow the “ale/lager hybrid” description. In this case, it’s 100% accurate! Well, it was. When Nathan and co. (Matt, Jason, and Darrel are the other Phoenix Group chaps involved – top blokes all) commissioned the Mighty Golden Ale from Paul Croucher, they wanted something fairly unchallenging. They pretty much asked Paul to make something “pale and boring”, and he complied. When they tasted it, having developed their craft beer creds a little since, they asked Paul if there was anything that could be done to make it a little more interesting. Obviously, given it had fermented and conditioned at this point, there wasn’t much to be done but… blend! So blend they did. With Croucher Pilsner. So it really was a chimera! These days, it’s not a blend, but the tasting notes reflect the origin of the beer, and it makes for quite a nice little tale. 🙂