Day 13 – Beers of Auckland – Epic Imperium

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 13 – Imperium by Epic Brewing Company

Epic Imperium Day 13BOTTLE: Imperium
BREWED: Steam Brewing Company

ABV: 9.0%
HOPS: Fuggles, Chinook

It got to 6:30pm this evening and all of a sudden I remembered the Advent Calendar. It was a huge day at the Lumsden Freehouse yesterday. Thanks to everyone that come along to have a beer with us for our 9th Birthday, it was a really fun day. Once again my Spotify playlist was a bit of a hit, even if I was only allowed to play my 2pm to 4pm choice of tunes. I even had someone subscribe to the playlist during the day. I have embedded yesterdays list on the side bar.

So a lazy day, lead to a lazy beer choice. As each day passes I think more and more about Alice Galletly and the massive undertaking she did with her blog Beer For A Year. I have only just passed half way on my 24 day endeavour, yet she did this for a whole year. Hat off to you Alice, I don’t think anyone realises what you achieved, I am only just starting to gauge how massive your undertaking was.

Unfortunately I haven’t brought home my stout glass, so just used a wine glass instead to appreciate the aroma, which has hints of mixed spice and Christmas cake. (I put the bottle in the freezer for 30 mins before opening just to get a chill on the beer).

On tasting the beer, the roast and bitterness dominated, and came across as being a bit young (this is the 2014 Vintage Ale). It isn’t an Imperial Stout like many people think or expect , but more of a foreign export stout. As it warmed the malt became fuller, but it really needs another 6-12 months before that maltiness is going to work with the bitterness, and the fruity hops will back off a bit. This beer has done well in awards this year winning a couple of gold medals.

For dessert this evening there were some fresh blackberries, blueberries and Whittakers Dark Chocolate with Almonds. I tried each separately with the Imperium, and BOOM!, the blackberries were an incredible match (chocolates and blueberries didn’t work so well). The blackberries became joyously spicy with the black berry goodness, and the beer became more malty and chocolatey (without eating the chocolate). I would have never have guess these two would have worked so well together.

Alice Galletly with a flaming marshmallow as part of the brewing process for the Beervana Media Brew in 2012
Alice Galletly with a flaming marshmallow as part of the brewing process for the Beervana Media Brew in 2012

 

 

 

Craft Beer in Auckland

#craftbeer, #auckland, #newzealand, #lumsdenfreehouse #epic9 #adventcalendar

These links might help you find out what is on tap around Auckland

https://twitter.com/TapHunterAKLD
http://auckland.taphunter.com/location/
https://twitter.com/NowPouringAKL

Day 12 – Beers of Auckland – Epic 1991 IPA

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 12 – 1991 IPA by Epic Brewing Company


1991 Tap BadgeTAP: 1991 IPA

BREWED: Steam Brewing Company

ABV: 6.0%

I’d like to invite you to come and taste this beer with me at The Lumsden Freehouse today. It is being released for the first time at Epic’s 9th Birthday Party, starting at lunchtime.

Why 1991?

This beer is made with all USA grown ingredients (malt, hops and yeast). This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity in NZ to do this. Cryer Malt imported some US grown malt which we have used to make this beer.

The recipe was design as a hat tip to the moment in time where I had my lifes path changed by having a craft beer epiphany, which has ultimately lead me to making this beer.

In 1991 I was at university in California, and got my first taste of craft beer (this happened to be Sierra Nevada and it was first drunk in Chico).

The beer captures the light pale ale style that has influenced me, my beer tastes, and the way I like to brew. It is pretty simple, with the hop flavour being driven by old school aroma hops – Cascade & Centennial . 6% abv and 40 IBU. Intended as a light floral easy tasting summer pale ale (from Epic).

This beer will only be available on tap over the summer. (No bottles). So enjoy it when you see it. (and there will be some available in Australia in the New Year)

One of my favorite songs while living in California, was “Epic” by Faith No More (link NSFW, use headphones). I’ve wondered for years if this song and this influential time in my life, was the reason for the naming of Epic Brewing Company.

Some video highlights from last years 8th Birthday Party at The Lumsden


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Here is another fun reason to come to our 9th Birthday party on Friday at The Lumsden Freehouse. The magnificent Giapo has created us some "Lupulingus Zabaione" </p> <p>What is Zabaione? (YUM!)<br /> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZabaioneHere is another fun reason to come to our 9th Birthday party on Friday at The Lumsden Freehouse. The magnificent Giapo has created us some “Lupulingus Zabaione”

What is Zabaione? (YUM!)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zabaione

This limited edition T-shirt is only available for pre-order till 15th December. We will only be doing a single print run of this commemorative Epic 9th Birthday T-shirt. Please add size in comment box when paying.

http://www.epicbeer.com/product/9th-anniversary-tour-t-shirt/

 

 

 

 

 
The front has the shields from each of the new beers brewed in 2014.
*2014 – Imperium Stout
*Spider Pig – Loves Bacon
*Lightening Bolt – Lupulingus
*Unicorn – Mosaic OTP
*Imp – IMP
*42 – Apocalypse BIPA
*Chillies – Carolina Amber Ale
*’91 – 1991 IPA (new release for 9th Birthday)

The back lists all the beers we brewed in 2014, in order of release.

Epic Culley's Matador Pie from Green Meadow BeefWe also have THE “Matador” pies from Green Meadows Beef. The pie is made with Epic Imperium Stout, and Culleys Habanero Sauce‪ #‎hotandtasty‬

 

Craft Beer in Auckland

#craftbeer, #auckland, #newzealand, #lumsdenfreehouse #epic9 #adventcalendar

These links might help you find out what is on tap around Auckland

https://twitter.com/TapHunterAKLD
http://auckland.taphunter.com/location/
https://twitter.com/NowPouringAKL

 

 

Day 11 – Beers of Auckland – Endless Summer Pilsner

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 11 – Endless Summer Pilsner by Shakespeare Tavern


Shakespeare Endless Summer PilsnerTAP: Endless Summer Pilsner

BREWED: On Site – Shakespeare Tavern

ABV: 4.2%
Today it was my intention to try Baroona from Waiheke Brewery, but it wasn’t on tap when I got to No 1 Queen Street (saving this for next week now). Next venue the Shakespeare.

I haven’t been to the Shakespeare since previous brewer Barry Newman passed away a few years ago. No one really talks about the Shakespeare anymore, so it has kind of been forgotten in my mind.

I had a quick small sample of the three beers brewed on site. I decided to get a glass of the Pilsner. It did remind me a lot of the beer that Barry use to brew. The quality of it seemed pretty good, but the hops aren’t as intense as I remember. It was bright, and looked good in the glass. The aroma was low. The beer has a slight grainy sweetness and good balance and cleanness. The lingering hop flavour though slight is pleasant. I’d happily drink another glass of this beer if I happened to be in the Shakespeare.

Ron MJ and Barry
Ron Urlich (previous owner), Michael Jackson (beer writer) and Barry Newman (previous brewer, RIP) 1999.

Barry’s passing was a loss to the local Auckland and greater NZ craft brewing industry. I think of him like our Richard Watkins, when he was at the Wig & Pen in Canberra. He always had something secret, fun, strong and interesting tucked down in the cellar. He won many awards, and made many inspiring beers.

Since it was lunch time I thought I better get a quick bite. I thought compare apples with apples, so I had the burger. OMG. This burger was $11.95 compared to the Galbraith burger the day before at $18.90. I can tell you I got more than twice the joy from eating the Galbraith burger. The Shakespeare burger – had the bun previously been frozen, or was it just old, as it was dried out and crumbly. There was extra lettuce, but the tomato looked like it had been precision cut with a laser it was so thin. Patty was not good. Amount of chips wasn’t very generous, then again it was a $11.95 meal in the CBD. The chips also tasted like they had been cooked in dirty oil. The only reason I thought about that was because yesterday a comment was made about how the Galbraith chips tasted amazing and must have been cooked in clean oil. The tomato sauce may not have ever been in contact with a tomato, it seemed just like red sugar sauce and flavourless

The over all feel of the place seemed tired and distant from its craft brewing roots. As I was sitting at the bar a guy came out of the pokies and asked for another glass of chardonnay.

DB has always had a connection with this brewpub as they helped set it up originally. Now you have to ask the question why does this place even have a brewery anymore. I am sure it is cheaper to buy beer in from DB than to make it. The beers on offer aren’t really that interesting, and not markedly different from the DB beers.

Based on this experience, where the beer wasn’t bad or interesting, I can’t come up with any compelling reason why you should visit, unless you are walking past and just curious to check it out. There is some great history in the building, but unfortunately the walls can’t talk.

They do have Tanqueray 10, which makes a lovely martini or G&T.

 

Craft Beer in Auckland

#craftbeer, #auckland, #newzealand, #shakespeare #adventcalendar

These links might help you find out what is on tap around Auckland

https://twitter.com/TapHunterAKLD
http://auckland.taphunter.com/location/
https://twitter.com/NowPouringAKL

Day 10 – Beers of Auckland – Bob Hudson Bitter

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 10 – Bob Hudson Bitter by Galbraith’s Alehouse

IMG_1305TAP: Bob Hudson Bitter
BREWED: On Site – Galbraith’s Alehouse

ABV: 4.0%

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Galbraith’s Alehouse.

I had a glass  (Colonial size 425ml, I’m guessing this is vs Imperial size) of Bob Hudson Bitter. It was exactly as I remembered it. Perfect balance of malt and hops. This has to be the original Auckland craft beer pint you can session on.

From the cask this beer is  lovely and clear, and presents with good foam. The rich juicy malt and hop flavours are seamless, yet flavourful. There is a bitterness which you don’t notice without looking for it. And the bitterness lingers in a way that it creates the desire to have another mouthful.

A really great beer, which put a smile on my face.

Galbraith's BurgerIt has been even longer since I have had a meal at Galbraith’s. Something they have always done well is the food. (sorry still not got the turning of the images sorted out yet).

Today though I was seriously impressed. I think I might have had the best burger I have ever had in a restaurant in New Zealand. It was simple, and had all the basic fixings, but the flavour and the ratio of meat/bun/fixings just was magic. This was on par with some of the best burgers I have ever tasting (burgers from the land of the burger, USA).

Just go and try it for yourself. It might have been a little situational, and the other feel good feelings I was having around a great beer might have helped too.

I had a sip of the session IPA Redemption  4.0%. That is a face full of hops. I’d say I will be heading back here again very soon to try the rest of the beers. (also had a little sip of Epic IMP too, which is currently on tap there, and it was a taste of big ripe nectarines)

Mr Sam Williamson you are doing a very excellent job on brewing the beers I tasted, and I hope Mr Galbraith is proud of your workmanship.

Glass of Bob Hudson Best Bitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside Galbraith's Alehouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presented by Luke Nicholas of Sparging Magazine
This little picture frame can be seen in the entrance at Galbraith’s. It was presented in 1999 by Luke Nicholas of Sparging Magazine

 

Craft Beer in Auckland

#craftbeer, #auckland, #newzealand, #galbraiths #adventcalendar

 

These links might help you find out what is on tap around Auckland

https://twitter.com/TapHunterAKLD
http://auckland.taphunter.com/location/
https://twitter.com/NowPouringAKL

 

Day 9 – Beers of Auckland – Jokers Wild

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 9 – Jokers Wild by Laughing Bones

Jokers Wild Laughing BonesTAP: Jokers Wild
BREWED: Brothers Beer

ABV: 6.6%
IBU: ?
HOPS: Amarillo & Simcoe

Last week when I was talking to John Morawski (owner/brewer of Laughing Bones and previously of Brewery Britomart) at The Lumsden Freehouse he said his new beer would be on tap at Sky Sports Grill, so I headed down today.

An observation I have made is it is hard to gather much information about some of these beers I am trying from the people selling them. (Not your fault Ben, you obviously hadn’t been told). Maybe there is an opportunity for brewers to spend some time with bar staff and educate them about the beer, and leave some support material for them to refer back to.

I just did a little online searching and found the label.

Jokers WildThe label promises  a lot of late hops. I found the aroma offered a malty caramel character, but not alot of hops. The colour was a beautiful bright copper. It makes me happy to see brewers taking pride in the presentation of their beer. The flavour has a sweetness from some crystal malts, a hint of nuttiness, and it is well-balanced with the bitterness.  There is a presence of hops in the mid palate and a lingering hoppiness on the finish.

One of the cool things about this beer is it truly is very local, travelling less than a kilometre from where it was brewed. Just up the road at Brothers Beer. Try it now while it is fresh.

Something that did pop into my mind was 6.6% alc/vol, and then thought I’ve already tried on of these. 3D IPA is also 6.6% alc/vol.

O-I White Burgundy tastingOnce again I am late to posting my beer of the day and that was because I was out late attending the O-I New Zealand White Burgundy Tasting with Bob Campbell MW. It was more to see how the event was run, rather than my interest in White Burgundy. The angle was to see if something could be created for the brewing industry along a similar format.

 

 

 

IMG_1287 IMG_1281 IMG_1285 IMG_1279 (hey and way can’t I reorient my images anymore on WP?). (this page still some reworking)

#craftbeer #auckland #newzealand

Craft Beer in Auckland

Day 8 – Beers of Auckland – Hallertau #3

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 8 – #3 by Hallertau

Hallertau #3BOTTLE: Hallertau #3
BREWED: The Beer Fountain
ABV: 4.2%
IBU: 4 (I don’t actually know, but its pretty low)
HOPS: not many, if any

I had this the other night at the Lumsden Freehouse, but decided not to write about it as I didn’t think I could be very positive about it. It was not that there was anything technically wrong with the beer, it was just so incredibly underwhelming.

It’s pretty much a version of a New Zealand Draught style beer. Which is incredibly underwhelming. It seems as though the big brewers perfected a commodity they called beer, and convinced several generation of men in New Zealand that this was what beer tastes like. Now men have forgotten what beer tastes like, and are scared to try real beer (currently referred to as #craftbeer . This term will revert back to beer at some point in the future, and what is referred to as beer now, will then be known as #industrialbeer ). Experiencing aroma and taste can be a real shock, but can also be very satisfying.  That’s why you have those senses.

Well word got back to Stephen Plowman at Hallertau (thanks Joseph ;-)), and he dropped me a quick  email today. The email basically said he agreed with my comments, and the beer is boring and doesn’t sell that well. The good news was that he has already redesigned the recipe, and will be brewing it soon. So expect some exciting changes to the #3. I’m looking forward to trying it.

Craft Beer in Auckland

#craftbeer, #auckland, #newzealand, #hallertau, #adventcalendar

https://vine.co/v/OrrZ6lJb0qX/embed/simple

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Day 7 – Beers of Auckland – Halo Pilsner

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 7 – Halo Pilsner by Liberty Brewing Company

Halo Pils Jo
Ever notice that it is Joseph’s face on the Statue of Liberty?

GROWLER: Halo Pilsner
BREWED: The Beer Fountain

Oh dear.  I didn’t make any notes. I did try it, but then continued to try a few other beers. It was nice to drink the beer with the brewer though. As you would expect from Joseph, the beer was great.

On very special occasions we have a friend from Sydney come and visit us. We like to call him “The Mule”, as he is our beer mule. He brings new and interesting beers from around the world for us to try.

So Sunday was one of those special times. It did distract me from getting this post out on time, and from completing it fully.

I did record some of the beers that I tasted on Untappd

(Hope your surgery went well Phil)

Craft Beer in Auckland

#craftbeer, #auckland, #newzealand, #libertybrewer #halopilsner #adventcalendar

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Day 6 – Beers of Auckland – Epic Lager

Next week I’ll need to do more planing and not just go with the flow when it comes to drinking Auckland brewed beers at the weekend.

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 6 – Epic Lager by Epic Brewing Company

Epic Lager Mow The LawnBOTTLE: Epic Lager
BREWED: Steam Brewing Company
ABV: 5.0%
IBU: 25
HOPS: US Liberty, US Santiam, (currently also includes some GR Hersbrucker)
AWARDS: Keeps winning silver, but never a gold. Feedback is always too hoppy for style, that will be from the dry hopping.

Epic Lager lives in the shadows of the hops, pale ale and IPA’s of the family. It isn’t often talked about, and is always the last resort beer for people who can’t handle the hoppy ones.

In the early years it was reviewed several times to look at dropping it as a beer in the family, as it was never my intention to make a lager (now it makes up a significant dollar value in sales) . The Epic Lager was brewed as a response to the market feedback from tastings of the Pale Ale in 2006. People initially said the Pale Ale had too much flavour. (funny to get the feedback now 9 years later and people saying how malty it is. How tastes have changed). I positioned it between the hoppy Pale Ale and the green bottled lagers that the mainstream drink. I wanted a stepping stone to help people into the brand. A lager that was pale and light in colour, but had a floral hoppy aroma, and hoppy bitter taste.

It is different from the other craft breweries Pilsners which are driven by big tropical NZ hop character.

Epic Lager continually has its recipe tweaked, and if you haven’t had it in a while then now is as good as any time to give it a taste again.

If you really want to give it a real chance, don’t drink it after the Pale Ale like so many people do. Drink it after say, a green bottled lager, or on a fresh/clean palate. This way you will appreciate the floral and citrusy aroma. The citrus comes through in the flavour as more lime than lemon, with a sprinkling of pepper and salt, which suggests it might be worth trying with salt & pepper squid (sorry, a little hungry). The finish is soft and dry, with the citrus note developing into something more herbal. It definitely offers some great drinkability.

Over the last couple of the years the beer has quietly gained more and more popularity and continues to surprise especially with big jumps in sales during this time of year as new people try it. The handful of places with it on tap, go through a surprising number of kegs every month.

A great place to try this on tap in Auckland is Corner Bar (Hotel de Brett). They even serve it in the Epic Lager glasses.

Craft Beer in Auckland

#craftbeer, #auckland, #newzealand, #epiclager #epicbeer #adventcalendar

Day 5 – Beers of Auckland – Epic Pale Ale

Epic Pale Ale, I know, but it was going to happen eventually. I was going to make it the first beer, but discovered Beachstone on Day 1.

So how did I end up here already, falling back on an easy to get Auckland made beer? I was intending to visit Sky Sports Grill at lunch time to see if I could get my hands on a Laughing Bones beer. I couldn’t make the time for this to happen today. I did make it into Hopscotch and caught up with Hugh. It’s been ages. I was there to pick up some sour beers for a tasting this weekend. Hopscotch has a secret (not so much now) but pretty cool selection of sour beers , many of which I haven’t tried before.

After collecting a few bottles of sours, I asked Hugh “what Auckland brewed beer do you have here” that I can buy for tasting today for the Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar. (Not including Epic, Hallertau or Liberty). The answer was none. We discussed a little further over a can of Beavertown Gamma Ray, which was a super tasty American style Pale Ale, in amazingly fresh condition. It is like drinking overly dryhopped Pale Ale, that hasn’t been fined or filtered, resiny, yum (Thanks to Beertique, who are bringing it in, in refrigerated containers from the UK, only enough stock of each beer so there isn’t stock sitting around for months or years. Very impressed, it is inspiring confidence in the beers they are bring in).

Is it that hard to find Auckland Brewed beer in Auckland?

So I get back to the office and Ed (Production Manager) says, dude there is a four pack of a fresh batch of pale ale in the fridge for you to take home tonight to try. Basically she was giving me home work to do. The good kind of homework. Sometime there isn’t enough time to get tastings done during work hours.

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 5 – Epic Pale Ale by Epic Brewing Company

Epic - SummerBOTTLE: Epic Pale Ale
BREWED: Steam Brewing Company
ABV: 5.4%
IBU: 45
HOPS: US Cascade (15 hop flowers, not different varieties)
AWARDS: Best in Class – New World Beer & Cider Awards 2014 (plus a few other, ok alot, of awards including Supreme Champion Beer 2006, NZ Beer Awards)

Best Before 19/11/15 (we put 12 months best before on our bottles, they are pasteurized, but at a low level, 12-14 PU’s) Batch 902 11:06am

Feels a little weird review this beer, which I taste most days. But here goes. Out of the Spiegelau IPA glass.

Aroma is perfumy in a floral way, centered around turkish delight, with highlights of citrus, spice and a green hoppiness. The flavour is violet-like(floral), with hop resin, the malt balances with the hoppiness, but the finish is clean and soft, with a dry bitterness, and a long lingering hop flavour. Tasting pretty fine.

This is Epic’s biggest selling beer, and likely New Zealand’s best-selling Pale Ale from an independent craft brewery.  The hops have been from the Yakima Valley for the last 3 years, but the 2014 crop the Cascade hops were selected from a Oregon hop farm. So it will be interesting to see how much the beer changes in the coming months, once the new seasons hops kick in.

Epic 8th BirthdayNext Friday 12th December 2014 is the Epic 9th Birthday, being held at the Lumsden Freehouse (lots of out-door space for drinking in the sun, and under umbrellas for shade when it gets too hot). You are invited to join the festivities, there is a new beer being launched on the day “1991 IPA” plus a few other treats and surprises.

Guess I could ramble on about many things Epic, and Pale Ale, but you have done well to read to this point.

#craftbeer, #auckland, #newzealand, #epicpaleale

Craft Beer in Auckland

Day 4 – Beers of Auckland – Pale Pat Supreme

Last night at the Lumsden Freehouse, I was talking with Phil Dale from Beertique, and we discussed doing a tasting of his new imported beers which have just arrived. I said why not tomorrow morning? So this morning Phil turns up with some beers for us to taste. The first one we tasted was Pale Pat Supreme from Brew Mountain (yes Beertique have started distributing some of the newer start-up craft brewers). “WOW” Totally took me by surprise.

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 4 – Pale Pat Supreme by Brew Mountain

Pale Pat SupremeBOTTLE: Pale Pat Supreme 330ml
BREWED: Liberty Brewing Company (The Beer Fountain)
ABV: 4.6%
The aroma is totally New Zealand hops, big and bright but not punchy and in your face. Just right. Memories of Mash Up came flooding back. The balance of this beer is pure class. I immediately call this one of the best beers I have tried this year, and give it a 5/5 on Untappd. The malt and hop are really gentle yet obvious, big and satisfying. The balance is incredible. It comes across as having plenty of hop flavour, but delivered in a delicate balanced marriage with the malt. Absolute finesse.

I thought this beer was from Taranaki. Well it generally is, but they recently got some help from ex-Taranaki based super brewer Joseph “101 oysters in my belly” Wood of Liberty Brewing. (Therefore this batch is actually brewed in Auckland, and it makes the Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar).

I was going to write something about Kelly Ryan another super brewer (who I’ve had the privilege of working with in the past) and his contribution to Brew Mountain. Or maybe a photo of Kelly and Liam while on tour in the US earlier this year (what goes on tour boys, right?). Or Shannon. But no. Just get your hands on this beer, and read the articles below.

Great work guys, keep it up. I know once people get a taste of this beer they will be buying heaps more if it.

 

Some background articles: 

Brew Mountain Guys Shannon and LiamBrew Mountain brewery on swift climb to success – 1 Dec 2014

Just six months after it began, Brew Mountain, a small brewery founded by Liam Tranter and brothers Shannon and Kelly Ryan, has expanded its product range to include bottles of its first and most popular beer, Pale Pat Supreme.

The ascent of Brew Mountain – 10 Jun 2014

One of the boxing writers referred to him at the time as “pale Pat supreme with the choir boy looks”

Many titles, many roles for boxing stalwart (Pat Ryan) – 18 Oct 2013

Ryan, who represented New Zealand at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich

#craftbeer #auckland #newzealand

Craft Beer in Auckland