After my blog post about New Beers Everywhere, But Buyers Beware which also linked to Dodgy brews bringing industry into disrepute by Geoff Griggs and The Emperor’s New Suds by Greig McGill, I thought I would do something about it.
I thought it might be useful to go to the local craft beer bars, and taste the beers. Not only taste the beers but actually arrange to taste the beers on tap with the staff that work at the bars.
So today I started with The Lumsden Freehouse. I rocked up at 11am, had a handful of staff, and just tasted our way through the taps.
First question I asked “have the beers been pulled through” answer wasn’t the best start from the guy on duty, but at least it was a good learning.
(edit: it is important that a bar pulls through at least the beer in the beer line from the tap to where the cooling ends, as this beer will had sat warm overnight, and wont be in the best condition. Plus it will also create extra foaming when pouring the first beer of the day as the gas will have broken out of solution.)
Ginger Fusion – from Hawkes Bay Independent Breweries, aroma ginger and lemon/orange, flavour is very sweet, a difficult pint for me, but might be good as a mixer for a cocktail.
– from Laughing Bones
(brewed at Brothers Beer
by John Morawski, ex Britomart Brewery). 5.25% abvThe beer is obviously coffee beans in the aroma, and the flavour is like cold plunger coffee. Good clean beer, well balanced. Reminds me of when I have drunk Youngs Chocolate Stout. Aroma and flavour start off big, but fade away as you work your way down the pint as your palate gets use to the intense flavour, in this case the coffee.
White Lady – from Ben Middlemiss Brewing (not sure where Ben is brewing at the moment, so if someone wants to add that info below thanks). This is a pretty nice Wit Beer, 4.5% abv, makes it easy to drink, nice aroma of coriander, and citrus (more lemon then orange peel), the body feels very full, maybe a little lighter would increase drinkablity, but not to say this isn’t a nice beer.
Guinness – Lion Breweries 4% abv (I thought it was 4.2%, then again it has been a long time since I have had a try, then again it did use to be 4.9%) The bar staff passed on a story from a punter that says that it is Steinlager with roast malt extract added. It did use to be that, and it could be again. It had an aroma that just seemed to be grainy with fermentation/yeasty notes, the flavour was more washed out than I remembered it with a slight burnt toast note.
HBIB Pilsner – Hawkes Bay Independent Breweries, 5% abv very pale colour, the very slightest hint of hops on the aroma, light body, hop bitterness a little astringent, and some what sweet finish, but overall, an OK beer.
Sawmill Saison – sweet alcoholic aroma, on the palate the alcohol was quite hot, it was 8% abv, the bitterness/ hops came across a bit sharp and astringent.
Old Speckled Hen – 5.2% abv for some reason I remembered this being lower in alcohol, and therefore watery. This beer for what it was, seemed OK, the caramel character was dominate, with a hint of English hops.
Electric India – Brew Dog – 7.2% abv, because it was on tap and had come from Scotland, my expectations were low for this as I had had other Brew Dog beers in NZ when they first arrive and they were in shockingly bad condition. When I smelt this it was like “WOW”. It was in great condition. It was big spicy Belgian yeast character, and some nice IPA hopping. Overall a pretty cool beer, in good condition. This is worth a try before it runs out.
– a Dark Lager (Schwarzbier
) 5.1% is not the most interesting beer in the world, but this is a pretty cool, and tasty example of the style. Actually it is one of the beast batches I have tried of this beer from Hallertau (wonder if it is from the new Brewery?) Flavours of toasty dark/black malts, and dry finish.
Sawmill Crystal Wheat
– 4.5% abv Diacetyl
/smokey ash like notes in finish
Epic Armageddon IPA – 6.66% abv very hoppy aroma and flavour
Liberty Oh Brother – 5.1% abv hoppy Pale Ale, sweatness from hops accentuated from drinking after Armageddon. Good beer though.
Mustang Ale – 4% abv at only $1 per pint less than Armageddon and no real flavour other than priming sugar (sugar added back to the beer to give some body, and sweetness) maybe a little from the caramel that is added for the colour too, it surprises me people would bother drinking this at $9 a pint. Then again maybe they only drink it when it is on special at $6 at Happy Hour.
A pretty good selection of bottled craft and imported beers, incase you have tried everything on tap
A fantastic selection of Bourbon. Love to know all the places in New Zealand with a better list than this
Totally Insane Wings
If you like it hot, then you have to try the Hot Wings.
You have to sign a disclaimer to eat them and they serve them with safety gear on.
OUTSIDE GARDEN BAR
HOT WINGS DELIVERED WITH SAFETY GEAR
The Nachos are on par with some of the best Nachos I’ve had in New Zealand. Plenty of beans, meat, jalapenos. Maybe a little more cheese would be nice.
So for New Zealand I’ll give it a 9.5/10
|Jalapeno Poppers – second place I have found these. The other place is Hallertau.
A few other cool things to know about the Lumsden.
- get your cell phone charged
- get free WiFi, you need to tell the staff a funny joke to get the password, the dirtier the better
- there are assortment of board games on the tables inside
- there is chalk on the tables outside and each table is a blackboard
- when it is cold in the winter months, there are free blankets and hot water bottles so you can still sit outside
- free popcorn
Comments and Discussion about this blog post
David Gaughan Great work Luke. Your progression to the first elected beer ambassador continues….
David Wu That’s awesome Luke. Hope the bar staff appreciate your comments and the time you have taken to make them.
Allan Rodgers We tried this once in a Micro brewery in Amsterdam: https://www.facebook.com/debekeerdesuster
(well we tried tasting all the beers) but our note taking wasn’t so great…
Wij zijn een eetcafe met eigen stoombierbrouwerij in het centrum van Amsterdam….See more
Chapel St Cellars
That’s Great Luke – we welcome you any time you wish to visit us and will happily discuss any of our beers as we have tried pretty much all of them – on tap and those in our fridges or shelves. However, please don’t take offence if we do not join you for a drink or beer tasting as that would get us into serious trouble with Liquor licencing xx
Well done Luke. Great to hear your fresh Armageddon beer was as good as anything on tap. The Nachos sound tasty
Awesome! there’s a little bar/restaurant in Gympie, QLD that would appreciate your input:)
I tried doing that here at my local, The Devil’s Advocate in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, they have like 40 craft beers on tap, ranging from 6 to 11%. I lost my notes, and all bodily functions, after my first seven pints. That said, I would love to see an Epic handle up there one day.
Joseph Benjamin Smith Good stuff Luke that was informing. One thing I don’t think you mentioned was that the inside of The Lumsden smells of damp spew and the outside of cigarettes. Otherwise great bar.
Joseph Benjamin Smith Maybe I went on a bad day for the cleaning lady. What’s next on the bar crawl?
Winston Aldworth replied · 3 Replies
Catherine Mueller I really hope for all our sake that all bar staff are ‘allowed’ to taste all the beers on tap while on duty, its essential to ensure the quality of the beer & that they know what they are talking about/offering to customers. Daily tasting maybe not so important with keg (stand to be corrected here though)
but cask beer absolutely please! Thanks Luke for taking on the challenge to make this happen out there
Golden Dawn probably won’t make the cut as they don’t stock a range of beers, just Hallertau’s. But I’d be interested to see what you make of it Luke Nicholas
because the beer tastes mucky compared with a pint at the actual brewery – and has for a long time. Dirty pipes?
** I am hating on Blogger, I might have to look at another blogging platform as the positioning of images are not easy. Maybe I just have to learn how to do this better.