Beer Column – Limburg

Reprinted with kind permission of The Wellingtonian Newspaper

A beer for every occassion

It was a visit to Europe which started Chris O’Leary’s brewing. “I launched myself into Belgian, German and Dutch beers. This experience really got my passion for great beer started. On arriving back, I struggled to enjoy New Zealand amber lagers with friends. I discovered that I loved to see kiwis enjoy beers similar to those I had experienced in Europe.” he says.

He started brewing for friends and family over a decade ago and in 1999 he opened his Limburg brewery ( in the Hawke’s Bay.

Chris says his brewing philosophy is simple: “Make the best beer I possibly can and brew according to the brewing practice used in the country of origin. Who am I to deny centuries of history and knowledge?”

The result is a passionate brewer producing full flavored, award winning beers. He is at the vanguard of the microbrewery revolution which keeps raising the bar every year when it comes to the quality of beer in New Zealand.

Limburg Hopsmacker is a based on the English Pale Ale style which showcases full fruit flavours and hearty hop bitterness. Hopsmacker pours a slightly cloudy marmalade colour with a small fluffy head. It throws a lovely big citrus fruit nose with a touch of spice and blackcurrant near the end. The beer itself is fruity – reminiscent of orange and grapefruit marmalade – followed by a gentle citrus hop finish.

The Limburg Witbier is a Belgian style wheat beer. Raw wheat is used in the brewing as well as coriander and Curacao orange peel. Slightly cloudy, the Witbier is golden, almost orange, in colour with a sweetish aroma of oranges and spice. The strong orange and coriander flavours are often complimented by a clove note to produce a refreshing and spritzy beer.

Limburg Weissbier is a cloudy German style wheat beer called Hefeweizen. The powerful nose has plenty of banana and bubblegum notes. In addition to the abundance of flavours expected in this style (bananas, cloves and Juicyfruit gum), the Weissbier also has toffee, cinnamon and apple notes which call to mind a freshly baked apple pie. The beer ends with a refreshing, slightly tart finish. Perfect for summer quaffing.

The latest addition to the range is the Limburg Czechmate Pilsner. In keeping with his philosophy of using the traditional ingredients, Chris has imported Moravian malt, Czech Saaz hops and a Czech yeast. Only the water is local. The result is an appealing pale golden beer with a rich white head. The nose is dry, grassy and spicy while the beer has the classic Pilsner balance between a juicy sweet malt middle and a crisp clean finish. Chris says this is “a classic, dry, crisp pilsner with a big focus on drinkability for a broader appeal. This is a beer we are really proud of.”

Chris is adamant that there is a perfect beer for every occasion. You won’t go wrong if you start looking in the Limburg range.


Neil Miller

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