Tag Archives: from New Zealand

Mac’s ‘Brewjolais’ 2008

Mac's 'Brewjolais' 2008
Mac's 'Brewjolais' 2008

Verbatim: Mac’s new(ish) ‘Brewjolais’, their stab at a pale ale. And it’s a delightful little success, you’d have to say. A tasty, zingy little aromatic number that I’ve definitely taken a shine to.

Afterthoughts, October 2010: Not just a ‘pale ale’, historical-me; a wet-hopped pale ale. Which is a great and all-too-rare example of a big brewery making something properly Out There and Yum. Wet-hopped pale ales are made with the freshest-possible hops, which gives them an awesomely distinct flavour and nose. A few more will pop up in later entries, I’m happy to say.

It’s also a bit sad to note the passing, since this photo was taken, of the brewery at the Mac’s Brewery Bar. That leaves Wellington (currently) without a commercial brewing operation in the City itself — Tuatara is nearest, but still an hour or so drive away. (And don’t ever let Maurice Bennett tell you that he has a ‘Wellington brewery’, either. That’d be borderline fraud. But we might get back to him later.) Given the increased levels of beer-nerdery in this town, I do find that state of affairs rather bizarre and equally sad.

Three Boys Porter

Three Boys Porter
Three Boys Porter

Verbatim: Three Boys Porter. One of very-few good things about Christchurch, these guys make a lovely few brews, and the porter is an especially good way to end your evening.

Afterthoughts, October 2010: Firstly, I can’t believe I actually drank something else after the Skull Splitter. No wonder I didn’t actually write anything down for this one. I probably couldn’t. Secondly, damn the lighting in this pub used to be a lot uglier (he writes, as he sits at the bar after work and tinkers with his webthing).

But thirdly, the Porter Flood. The text on the label reads, in part:

Such was the popularity of porter in old England that legend has it townsfolk drowned when vats at a local brewery burst, flooding the streets.

Which always struck me as tosh. (And there is a lot of nonsense, in the historical ‘legends’ surrounding beer and brewing; we’ll get to a lot of those, eventually.) But I was delighted to discover that I had under-estimated the weirdness of the world. The porter flood actually happened, just a bit more than 196 years ago in London, when the maturing tank (a behemoth of a thing, at several hundred thousand litres) burst at the Horse Shoe Brewery. The ensuing carnage claimed a few lives, and a few buildings. It must’ve been insane.

Since the anniversary (October 17) of the event happens to be so coincidentally close to the time when I’m writing this, a useful piece recently popped up in a local(ish) paper; it’s worth a read.

After-afterthoughts, still October, still 2010: I’ve stumbled upon an excellent beer blog, Zythophile, and found that the writer there has very nicely covered the story of the Flood, in a book of his and a follow-up posting. Even more worth a read.

Waiheke ‘Baroona’

Waiheke Baroona
Diary entry #47 - Waiheke 'Baroona' Pale Ale

Verbatim: Waiheke Island Baroona Pale Ale. 16/5/08, 330ml, $4.5, at work, auditioning. Gorgeous curvy bottle; good honest stuff. Nothing too unique. Bubbles vanish quickly. Drinkable and very marketable. If the contract wasn’t fucked, it’d make a great guest.

Afterthoughts, October 2010: Is that really the first instance of ‘bad language’ in the Diary? That doesn’t seem like me. But man, that contract really was fucked. The previously-mentioned genuinely-mad new owner set me to the task of sorting out a beer list, and only after a few days of figuring (and auditions like this and the previous entry), did I discover (from someone else), that she’d signed an exclusive contract with one of the Big Breweries, Lion. So all my work was for naught. Shit like that made me give up.

As for the beer itself, though, this is another small brewery that just can’t get its positioning and descriptions to make any sort of sense. It’s named as a pale ale, but then goes and describes itself as “German-style”, which is horribly confused. For the record, it’s the former bit that’s accurate.

Emerson’s ‘Taieri George’

Emerson's 'Taieri George'
Diary entry #44, Emerson's 'Taieri George'

Verbatim: Emerson’s Taieri George. 14/4/08, 500ml, $7.5. At home, with leftovers from Moth’s birthday dinner. Dark, dark ruby. Surprisingly clean nose on a nice big warm ale. Not scary at all, I think. Very smooth.

Afterthoughts, October 2010: “Moth”, by the way, means “my mother”; we’re an odd family for nicknames. And many other reasons. (My father is usually referred to as “Grim”.)

And there was another four Mysteriously Blank Months, just there.

Hofbrau Munchner Weisse (et. al.)

Hofbrau Munchner Weisse
Diary entry #37, Hofbrau Munchner Weisse

Verbatim: Hofbräu Münchner Weisse. 500ml, 5.1%, 20/8/07. Reward for fixing the German flatmate’s ‘puter. Nice cloudy straw wheat. Not overfly fruity or flowery. Clean and smooth.

Afterthoughts, October 2010: Oh yeah, in addition to being a Beer Nerd, I’m something of a Regular Nerd too. Sometimes, the two “talents” come together nicely.

The Schneider Aventinus will crop up much later in its (gloriously mad) ‘Eisbock’ form, but that’s my first confirmed Malthouse Diary entry. For rather-obvious reasons, it’s destined to be the site of a ludicrous chunk of the book from here out.

And there’s Renaissance ‘Stonecutter’. Also set to turn up later with a lovely photo. So, so tasty. Just go get one, now, if you’ve never had it.

Wigram ‘James Cook Spruce Beer’

James Cook (no relation)
Statue of James Cook, Newmarket, Auckland

Verbatim: James Cook Spruce Beer. 500ml, $5, 5%, 18/5/07. Made by the increasingly-appreciated Wigram. Good solid beer, flavoured with spruce and manuka. Tried on suspicion that it’s what ‘Te Kawa’ should be. And it is. This is very nice, unique, and interesting. Still accessible.

Afterthoughts, on the occasion of taking that photo, September 2009: Lion Breweries put up a statue to Captain Cook outside their Megaplant in Auckland. Because, as you may not know, he brewed New Zealand’s first beer. That does give me a bit of Shared Last Name-y Glow, so I snapped a photo while I was up in town for a bit of an after-birthday roadtrip.

If you’re curious, Wigram Brewery make a ‘James Cook Spruce Beer’ which is a rough approximation. New to the country, Cook mistook Rimu for Spruce, and Manuka for Tea Tree, and had a crack at an old (pre-hops) method of English brewing.

The result is, well, woody. It’s like licking an absolutely stunning piece of antique furniture. If you’re going to be licking cabinetry, then this is the way to do it, the best possible of that particular set of peculiar circumstances — but however good it might be, you’re still licking cabinetry.

Still, it’s definitely one to have for Uniqueness Points.

Wigram 'James Cook Spruce Beer'
Diary entry #36, James Cook Spruce Beer

Afterthoughts, October 2010: Odd that I didn’t find this, well, more odd. Because it really rather is. Still, I do like unhopped beers. Certainly much more than most Beer Nerds do. The other beer — actually spelled “TaaKawa” — is another unhopped beer made with native plants instead, in that case Kawakawa, but I just found it too… normal. Not special and different enough, maybe out of commercial caution, but still. Oh, and the mention of it — in the absence of an actual entry — also suggests that I was still pretty lousy at remembering to take notes.

Wigram Hefe-weizen

Wigram Hefe-weizen
Diary entry #35, Wigram Hefe-weizen

Verbatim: Wigram Hefe-Weizen. 500ml, $5, 5%, 19/1/07. Increasingly liking this brewery. This one is nice and cloudy, with sediment. Good that they don’t hid it. A damn solid, straight-up wheat beer. No peculiarities, but no flaws, either. Bananas ahoy.

Afterthoughts, October 2010: And blam, we’re in January 2007. What the hell happened to the rest of 2006? I honestly have no idea. May seems to be an oddly-lucky month, for the early Diary; I’ll have a slack patch, then a (relatively) frenetic May, then… nothing. I really should make some graphs.

Founder’s ‘Long Black’

Founder's 'Long Black'
Diary entry #33, Founder's Organic 'Long Black'

Verbatim: Founder’s Organic Long Black. $5, 4.2%, 11/5/06, 500ml. Schwartzbier; black lager. Nice dark, with lingering bubbles. You can taste the coffee / choc of the malt. But it’s none too bitter, so accessible. I’d prefer more punch, of course. But very tasty.

Afterthoughts, October 2010: Huzzah, I’ve definitively broken free of the gold = lager / non-gold = non-lager nonsense of my earlier days. Black lagers are bloody marvelous things, great for bending peoples’ boundaries and for their easy refreshingness during colder weather. But what’s this “of course” about the preference for punchier flavours? I almost seem like I’m being blokey. Which is horrifying. Let me be quite plain; I do love a good mild beer, these days. Everything in its right place.

Emerson’s Weissbier

Emerson's Weissbier
Diary entry #32, Emerson's Weissbier

Verbatim: Emerson’s Weissbier. $5, 5%, 7/5/06, 500ml. Not too shabby a wheat at all. As you’d expect. Nicely cloudy, a little bit of fruitiness, but none too strong. So: everyone’s wheat beer, really.

Afterthoughts, October 2010: See what I mean by patchiness? A six-week gap, then a new entry the very next day. Weird that I seem so nonplussed and half-hearted in my praise, though; I was fairly sure I loved this stuff. Must have another…

Matson’s Strong Ale

Matson's Strong Ale
Diary entry #31, Matson's Strong Ale

Verbatim: Matson’s Strong Ale. $16/6, 7.5%, 6/5/2006. It’s a bock, and I’m at Fatty’s. Lots of people, lots of Jamie’s Italian Food. All good. Anyway, beer is very good. From Chch, very beery. Can’t quite taste the extra punch. Tanglefooty.

Afterthoughts, October 2010: Six months without a note? This thing is seriously patchy, in its early days. And things are about to get worse… (Meanwhile, the pen from this page is being seriously out-done by the pen from the page before, isn’t it?)

Matson’s have gone through quite a few reshuffles of their range and their branding (landing, currently, on a logo alarmingly reminiscent of that for the Malthouse…), but I do see they’re also fond of that line-blurring nonsense that DB are so fond of — calling a doppelbock a “strong ale”, and all.