[TASTING TUESDAY] 140128 – The Lumsden Freehouse

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.
Cool Beans – 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.
Hallertau #4 – 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.



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

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** 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.

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