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.