Day 3 – Beers of Auckland – Hot Water Brewing Barley Wine

LumsdenAs I think about how to track down Auckland brewed craft beer on tap I am finding it not as easy as I thought. Tonight I attended an event at The Lumsden and found that they have a South Island tap takeover. (pretty cool story. Evan the owner of the Lumsden Freehouse, headed to the South Island, rented a re-location Camper Van for $5 a day, and spent a week traveling around the South Island visiting craft breweries and picking up kegs, and putting them in the back of the camper van. The trip was called Lumsden to Lumsden. Check out their twitter, follow them if you aren’t. If you live in Auckland you should visit the Lumsden right now as there are beers from the South Island you won’t see in Auckland again on tap).

So I arrive and find there aren’t any beers on tap. Boo. (well boo for this Advent Calendar Boo, not for the cool selection of beers we don’t normally see here in Auckland).  Next I check out the bottled beer list. All I see is Epic (I have this as back up beer for the days I really get stuck on the Advent Calendar), Liberty & Hallertau also, but it is my plan to visit them and drink from the Fountain. I am recommended Behemoth and Schippers but the bartender can’t confirm where the beer was brewed, and I said I need to know it is brewed in Auckland.

I am now digging deep, I nearly consider getting a Steinlager Pure (the 102 metre dive could be an interesting angle) but can’t bring myself to do it. I ask for a Boundary Road Brewery Flying Fortress, with a screwed up face and probably funny sounding voice. They say we sold the last bottle a couple of days of go. I have a big sigh of relief. I am still stuck though. Oh no, what am I going to do?? Damn it, I’ll have a Hallertau #3. This isn’t the beer I wanted to review from Hallertau. I made some notes, but my evening continued on. Not happy.

I caught up with heaps of great beer industry people. Including John Morawski and asked him what beers from Laughing Bones I could try and where I could try them. I was a little confused when I assumed his beers would be on at Brothers Beer where he brews his beer, but he said they don’t stock them. He did say that his beer would be on again at Sky Sports Grill in the next couple of days.

Dave Kurth Fashion
Dave Kurth with an amazing Westport hand knitted jersey on

Dave Kurth from Hot Water Brewing Company was there and for some reason he was the lucky brewer tonight, as one of the South Island kegs ran out and his Kauri Pale Ale was put on and was tasting as good as I have ever tasted it. (quick get to the Lumsden ASAP to try some). It is always a pleasure to catch up with Dave, as I am assured of receiving some form of verbal abuse or teasing. (Love you Dave, and you make great beer, pity no one realises that yet)

Finally I catch up with Joseph Wood from Liberty Brewing Company, who turns up late. I was planning to head to Riverhead this evening to spectate at the Oyster 100 Club, but couldn’t bare driving out there and back to the Lumsden in the Auckland traffic. Joseph ate 101 Oyster in an hour and a half, and then drove to the city (with his lovely wife Christina). First thing I do is to run over and punch him in the guts. Yes he was in a distressed state and I believe he has actually eaten that many oysters. What a legend. Must also give a shout to The Plow, Dave Huff and Tom Madams from Cryer Malt, all of who ate 100 Oysters as well. Seems like an odd and difficult way to get a free tshirt. Eat $100 of oysters. Steve, you own the company, just buy a tshirt, and avoid the gastric distress. I am interested in hearing about how all four of you feel tomorrow morning.

OK, getting to the point of Day 3 of Beer of Auckland Advent Calendar. It was less than a perfect situation, so I have stretched my definition of Auckland, to Greater Auckland and included Whenuakite. Joe comes out (outside was a lovely evening with a moon getting close to full, slightly cool, a few clouds and the light getting low and dusky) with a can of the Hot Water Brewing Company 2014 Barley Wine. BOOM. That is the beer. (Cheers Joe for giving me the other half of the can)

So I had to revert to a can!?

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
Hot Water Brewing Barley WineDAY 3 – 2014 Barley Wine by Hot Water Brewing Company

CAN: 2014 Barley Wine (355ml, 12 oz, can. I don’t know why)
BREWED: Hot Water Brewing Company
ABV: 9.5%
IBU: ??
HOPS: ??
AWARDS: Gold – 2014 NZ Beer Awards

Barley Wines are not that easy to make, and really hard to sell, especially in this country. Only a small handful of breweries make them. Dave made a couple of Barley Wines while brewing at West Coast Brewing Company, which were pretty nice. But he has really nailed it on this batch. I would call out that this is currently the best Barley Wine in New Zealand. (go on show me a better one. this did just win Gold).

Aroma is rich and malty, with a slight grain huskiness when cold but as it warms there is more caramel and toffee notes. The flavour is sweet but not cloying like some barley wines, notes of toffee and raisins, fruitiness, and barley sugars. The finish seems dry and light , with a bitter edge, but after a couple of mouthfuls this lighter finish actually makes the beer more drinkable than what one would expect from a Barley Wine.

So after a nearly traumatic evening not knowing what I was going to write about I ended up with a special treat, and even got to spend some time with the brewer. You never know what craft brewer you will meet in a craft beer bar in Auckland.

#craftbeer #auckland #newzealand

Craft Beer in Auckland

Day 2 – Beers of Auckland – 3D IPA Isthmus Brewing

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 2 – 3D IPA by Isthmus Brewing Company

isthmus 3d ipaTAP: Sky Sports Grill
BREWED: Deep Creek Brewing Company
ABV: 6.6%
IBU: 80 (wow, was surprised it was so high, very well balance, and perceived much lower)
HOPS: Pacific Jade, Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra, Columbus, Centennial, NZ Cascade
AWARDS: Bronze, BGNZ Awards 2014

The beer presented pretty well, mostly bright but maybe a little haze, but could have been the condensation (OK it wasn’t, very slight haze). Lovely hoppy aroma, which I found was driven by the Centennial hops, with floral and berry fruit notes. The flavour has a hoppy/berry fruit sweetness and a nutty/caramel malt not. There is a candy like alcohol sweetness in the finish. Over all a pretty fun beer which reminded me a little of Armageddon IPA, but with more malt and a fuller body. There was some suggestion that the beer is starting to get on a little, but worth a try if you find it.

“Isthmus Brewing is a small Auckland craft beer company and collaboration between two passionate beer geeks, Matt Littlejohn and Hamish Ward. They are both professional scientists and the company grew out of home brewing together while both working at an Auckland biotech company. Hamish has now moved on to being Deep Creek’s head brewer, and Matt now works as a research scientist at the Uni of Auckland. They contract brew through Deep Creek though own our own fermenters out there.

(Sorry I forgot to find out why its called 3D)

Open for suggestions on how to make these notes/reviews more fun.
**What do you want to know about?
***What would make you head out and try it these beers?

 

#craftbeer #auckland #newzealand

Craft Beer in Auckland

How Many Breweries in Auckland
http://www.luke.co.nz/2014/08/how-many-breweries-in-auckland/

Day 1 – Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014

Beer Advent CalIt’s that time of year and the countdown is on for Christmas. I had a thought about Beer Advent Calendars, which then led me to thinking about maybe reviewing a beer a day till Christmas. I needed a theme, so I have come up with the “Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014”. I am planning on tasting at least one beer from each Auckland based craft brewery. Brewed in Auckland, Drink in Auckland.

New Zealand’s biggest city has been slow to the game when it comes to craft beer, but things are moving in the right direction, and at an ever-increasing pace.

DAY 1 – BEACHSTONE by Bach Brewing Company

Bach Brewing BeachstoneTAP: Sky Sports Grill
BREWED: Steam Brewing Company
ABV: 4.8%
IBU: 30+ (perceived closer to 40 IBU, but could be from the dry finish)
HOPS: Pacific Jade, Pacifica, Riwaka, Motueka and Nelson Sauvin

The use of these hops is obvious when you smell and taste the beer. It has a real NZ hop, tropical fruit and citrus aroma and upfront flavour. In the finish the hops evolve into a herbal grassyness which only NZ hops can do. The bitterness is for grown ups, and might make regular “green bottled lager” drinkers cry a little, and cower in the corner.

With the punchy hops, there is a solid and juicy malt base (from the Bohemian Pilsner and Vienna malt) that carries the bitterness to the end.

When drinking this I thought of Emerson’s and Tuatara Pilsners, both which have historically had the serious NZ hops driving their flavours. As of recently though both have left me less than satisfied and not meeting expectations. Beachstone looks as though it has the ability to pick up the baton. Great example of a New Zealand Pilsner.

OTHER STUFF:

Today I also tasted the Sawmill Brewery (sorry not counting them as from Auckland) Hefeweizen, tasting amazing (at Sky Sports Grill) and the best I have ever had it. Perfect banana and clove character. The yeast load was a bit high, but probably worth drinking through it if you love Hefewezien’s

New BAC level of 0.05 came into law today. If the message is don’t drive if you have had a drink, then maybe the change should have been to have a zero tolerance for alcohol. It seems like a great opportunity for the media to add value and share some facts, backed with science about the effects of alcohol, and understanding how to work out your limits. Is going to dinner and having a couple of glasses of wine OK with your meal? Is scare-mongering more effective over the long-term vs education using facts and science?

#craftbeer #auckland #newzealand

Craft Beer in Auckland