Beerly Tasting and the Winter Solstice

Last week I ran the second annual beer tasting for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage:

I made a mistake – the same mistake as last year. According to my carefully designed beer menu, I was running a tasting at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. Such an august body does not exist and indeed never has in New Zealand. It is the Ministry for Culture and Heritage though in my defence even the former Prime Minister used to make the same mistake though she probably didn’t have it pointed out to her in the same way I did. Any insinuation that there is a Ministry of Culture and Heritage is erroneous, untrue and quite possible flocculent.

Last night I attended the launch of Mac’s new winter beer Solstice:

Mac’s Solstice is a five malt beer, fermented from a mix of Pale malt, Vienna malt, caramalt, Dark Crystal and Chocolate malt. The Hop component comes from southern Cross and Fuggles, while Horopito adds some mouth-warming clove and pepper aromas.

1 thought on “Beerly Tasting and the Winter Solstice”

  1. Brewer Ally Clem has sent in some tasting notes on the Solstice:

    We wanted something rich, malty and warming, but balanced. The vienna malt was used to get that little bit of extra character into the body, it adds some nut character. We also wanted to give it a little bit of extra complexity in the aroma and ester profile. For this, we used a belgian yeast strain to get some clove and spice character to come through, as well as the fruity esters.

    The challenge was put to us to use some indigenous herbs or spices. We went for horopito because we felt its spicy, chilli-esque, characters would be great to get some warming character into the beer. We added the horopito right at the end of the kettle boil. However, we had to be careful for a couple of reasons. Firstly, too much spice would kill the malt character and horopito is also quite astringent, so we didn't want to ruin the mouthfeel. Secondly (and rather importantly), due to its anti-fungal properties, we didn't want to added too much as this might have killed off the yeast!

    In the end I think we managed to get the balance right; the warmth comes through slowly at the back of the throat, the horopito also adds an earthy note to the aroma, the yeast has provided a lovely, complex ester profile and the beer has a very smooth mouthfeel from the malt body.”

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