I’m starting to feel as if my weekends are not complete unless they involve at least one trip to a brewery, a tasting platter of five or more beers, and some salt ‘n’ pepper squid on the side.
Thankfully I live in Auckland (the brewpub capital of New Zealand, didn’t you know? ;)) so this is easily attained.
On Saturday I made my first visit (yes, I know I’m behind the times, I never said I was hip), to Hallertau in Riverhead. On the trip I made two important discoveries:
1) Riverhead is not a mysterious place in a land far, far away, probably inhabited by unicorns – in fact it’s only 20 minutes from my house along the motorway.
2) Beer can be really hoppy and low in alcohol at the same time.
The second discovery was made when I tasted the Hallertau Minimus. It came as part of a tasting platter along with the 1,2,3 and 4 beers – but this one was easily my favourite.
It had that same gorgeous American hop aroma of it’s bolshier brother Max – and for some reason that took me by surprise. The only low alcohol beers I’d had before were of the English Bitter variety – like my beloved Bookbinder – and so that’s what I’d come to expect. But there you are – if there’s one thing this blog has taught me so far is that whatever I think I know about beer is bound to be wrong.
Even though it smelled beautifully promising, I suspected it was punching above it’s own weight and that the taste was going to let me down. Wrong again. It somehow retained all that lovely hoppy flavour but with only a little bitter bite – a nibble if you will, at the finish. It wasn’t thin or watery either, it was just soft and tasty and incredibly moreish.
If my 16-year-old Kentucky Gold swilling self could see this sentence she probably would have called me “totally lame” but: I love finding beers that I can drink lots and lots of without without getting drunk. That makes this one, along with Bookie and Townshend’s Bandsman, a real gem.
PS: The salt ‘n’ pepper squid at Hallertau is AWESOME.