This was my opportunity to try a beer at Vultures Lane, as I was having a lunch meeting there. Again it was a little hard choosing an Auckland brewed beer. I’m still to decide what the issue is. Is it because of availability? quality? consistency? popularity?
So I had a Citra Jnr. It has good balance. Soft and juicy malt. Great drinkability. Nice bitterness in the finish. I did find the hops where on the herbal side, and not the big citrusy notes one might expect from Citra / Citra hops. Overall a satisfying glass of beer that disappeared all too fast.
It’s been a few months since I’ve had lunch at Vultures Lane. There is a new menu, so I decided on the Chicken burger with bacon, cause who doesn’t love bacon. (Epic Loves Bacon).
The burger was tender and delicious, and a very welcome spiciness that was a happy surprise. Not hot spicy, but more of a zippy, sparkle on your tongue. There was possibly a little too much rocket on the burger as it did dominate the other flavours. (I love how the food I have tried in the last few pubs has been above expectations. I use to love the Pulled Pork Sourdough sandwich. A-Mazing.)
The cool thing was, with the food the beer came to life and that citrusy note I was looking for came forward. That always fascinates me how different things like food can change how you experience the beer you are drinking. Even more confusing to me is how can the same beer taste different out of different glasses. I’m calling black magic.
Joseph, once again you have made a very enjoyable beer.
Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014 DAY 7 – Halo Pilsner by Liberty Brewing Company
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
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
BOTTLE: 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.
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.
As 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 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)
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.
Thursday evening saw a quiet little beer launch at a place with no name on the door. Three of the Horsemen gathered for the 2014 release at Golden Dawn in Ponsonby. A handful of the craft beer purists turned up to taste the new batch
The 2014 return of the Four Horsemen of the Hopocalypse
Friday 24th January – Luke Nicholas, Kelly Ryan, Joe Wood, and Steve Plowman got together again to brew a batch of Hopocalypse. Below are a few moving pictures from the day. I will expand on these with some commentary and additional photos soon.