Emerson’s ‘1812’ IPA

Emerson's ‘1812’ IPA
Emerson's ‘1812’ IPA

My impromptu round of Kegtris was apparently enough to earn me a second pint, this time of the also-just-tapped Emerson’s ‘1812’. The fashion for hop-tastic IPA being what it is, old-school classics like this are often unfairly passed-over. “Old-school” is obviously a fairly relative term, given that ‘1812’ isn’t old in IPA-itself terms — but it’s still pretty grandfatherly in the New Zealand craft brewing sense. It was an early example of local beer getting ‘noticed’ on the international stage, too; Michael Jackson (the beer and whisky writer, not the ‘other’ one, obviously) selected it for his 1998 book Beer (which was about as definitive, in its day, as its maximally-simple title suggests) and it’s even one of the dozen that also make the cover.

There are a few stories about the name. 1812 the year is a bit too early to be anything-much to do with the style itself,1 so it’s often suggested that there’s some slightly-too-clever reference being made to the beer’s hoppy ‘overtures’ (hur-hur, very punny), but there’s also the odd-and-maybe-related fact that 1-8-1-2 are the last four digits of the brewery’s phone number. All this numerology and allusion-chasing is enough to make me remember just why the fuck I gave up on watching Lost.

But no matter. It’s a catchy, simple name. And a charming beer; a nice counterpart to modern, flashy, boistrous pale ales (as much fun as they no doubt are, when the mood for them strikes). The malty body is delightfully smooth (particularly off the taps, I thought), and there’s a very pleasant, gently-building marmaladey fruit character comfortably mooching around in the glass. Just a bloody marvellous sit-and-sip kind of a pint.

(And no, the bar didn’t get lighter inbetween this and the ‘Rapture’ that preceeded it. Rapture was on the front taps, and I was a little rushed by the General Populace surrounding me, so I didn’t muck about and obsess as much as I ordinarily might. With the 1812 on tap at a much-quieter end of the bar, I set up a proper long exposure shot. Hence the blurry people. I do like my new toy, I really do.)

Emerson's ‘1812’ IPA
Diary II entry #74, Emerson's ‘1812’ IPA

Verbatim: Emerson’s ‘1812’ IPA 11/3/11 on tap @ MH, also. Further reward! And a chance to show off the camera, since a few stoppers-by were seeing me do some updates + having a tinker. If memory serves, this was a very early notable New Zealander. And it’s very tasty. B[y] current standards, it’s astonishingly mild, of course, but it’s always good to go old-school occasionally. Smooth malt body, nice, almost marmaladey fruitiness in there.

1: At least when it was known by that term. But from the opposite angle, 1812 is quite a bit too late to have much to do with the origins of beers vaguely of this sort (whatever they were called) and/or their export to India.

4 thoughts on “Emerson’s ‘1812’ IPA”

  1. Huzzah! Confirmation, of sorts. Did you just up and ask one day, to save yourself the pondering? But there must be more to it than that… Why the last four digits, rather than a different set; why of the phone number, not of something else; why as the name of this beer, rather than another? Does the musical reference return, to begin to account for that?

  2. Richard has con firmed it in the past. Many of the Emersons names have very local origins, Bookbinder originated as a brew for the Bookbinders wedding, JP for Jean Pierre, Taeiri George… I think it appeals to Richard that blokes in pubs swear that its an important date in the India trade when in actual fact its the phone number.

  3. Nice. “Messing with people” is an under-used motivation for beer-naming. (Well, at least when it’s harmless and funny, rather than some marketing department trickery.) I like it. Ta for the inside scoop.

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