#357 Wigram – Spruce

Wigram SpruceName: Captain Cook Spruce Beer
Brewery: Wigram Brewing Company (Chch, NZ)
Style: English Pale Ale
ABV: 5%
Source: Vic Park New World

Historical brews are just about my favourite thing ever right now, and are tipped (by me) to become trendy after the upcoming sour explosion (also tipped by me) simmers down. I’m very much looking forward to this period – just as I look forward to a time when balaclavas are acceptable winter accessories and bacon-based desserts are a thing.

Like the slightly more famous Captain Cooker, Spruce Beer is based on Captain Cook’s original 1770 beer recipe and is flavored with rimu (spruce) and manuka. I reckon this must taste a lot better than the OG version, or else New Zealanders would have been far too advanced to ever drink anything like Tui.

At the risk of seeming exceedingly lazy, I think the best way for me to describe this beer is to simply show you my notes:

“It’s so fuckin weird I feel like I’m eating ferns” was Olivia’s contribution, and in some ways that sums it up quite nicely. What perhaps doesn’t come across in this list though, was how totally and weirdly nice it was. All those complex “bushy” flavours were carried by lovely sweet malt, balanced by a little bitterness at the end, and it was actually totally quaffable. Perhaps a touch more bitterness might have improved it for me, but then it wouldn’t have been so historically accurate now, would it?

Today’s thank you goes to Olivia (my sister, in case you missed that), who has been my number 1 sidekick since day one of the blog. She’s embraced beer with the same level of enthusiasm that I have, and will be  the person I geek-out about beer with long after the blog has finished. Thank you Livy!

PS – If you want to get ahead of the historical trend, might I suggest brewing a Harry Potter themed buttered beere based on this 1588 recipe and then instagramming the shit out of it. Also send me some, because I’ve been fantasising about drinking that since I was 12.

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Published in: on August 1, 2012 at 10:36 am  Comments (7)  
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#301 Garage Project – Oldham’s Farm

Name: Oldham’s Farm
Brewery: Garage Project
Style: Traditional Ale
Source: Galbraith’s Alehouse
ABV: 6.8%

I think I was already mildly drunk when I wrote my notes on this beer on my phone, because they consist almost entirely of heart emojis* and this little OMG face that looks like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”.

Oh-em-gee indeed, this beer was freaking delicious. So delicious that I had two pints during the rugby (it was on at Galbraith’s) and was too busy obsessing over it to notice all the cheering and table thumping going on around me. “Are you serious?” my sister replied when I asked who’d won the rugby. “Where have you been?”

I’d been in the land of deliciousness, that’s where. Oldham’s Farm is, according to this blog by the brewer, a wet-hopped beer. I’ve just now learned what that means, and it’s that the hops are picked and used at the peak of their freshness, rather than dried first. I don’t think I’d ever had a wet-hopped beer before, and I didn’t know this was one at the time, but something made this beer extra special.

The aroma was different to any other beer I’d smelled before. I imagine others would interpret it differently, but to me it smelled like fejoas and Fruit for Yonks. Remember Fruit for Yonks? They were those sticky strips of dried fruit that were about a metre long and always ended up in my hair. Then in the mouth there was this awesome malt that tasted just like an ANZAC biscuit – toasty, chewy, full of golden syrup. It was SO GOOD!

It wasn’t as insane as I’m making it sound either. It was well-balanced, a little bitter, and totally quaffable for a 6.8 percenter. I want more. I want it all. I want it now!

*Hi Grandparents! Emojis are little pictures that I can make on my iPhone – that black thing I’m always ‘playing’ on. Will call you from it soon. Love you!

Published in: on June 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm  Comments (5)  
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#27 Yeastie Boys Hud-a-Wa

Yeastie Boys Hud-a-WaName: Hud-a-Wa
Brewery: Yeastie Boys (Wellington, New Zealand)
Style: English Strong Ale
ABV: 6.8%
Source: Galbraith’s Ale House (Mt Eden, AK)

Oh God. Drunk. Too drunk to be blogging, too drunk to have work at 9am tomorrow. Powering on anyway…

Tonight I’ve been at Galbraith’s. Probably my second favourite place in Auckland after my own bed, I’ve decided. I had lots of great beers, and a bloody delicious dinner of roast pork belly with all the trimmings – even Yorkshire pudding!

As you can see I’m actually in my beer photo tonight, looking a bit blurry and awkward – but it’s for a good reason. Notice that I am wearing red trousers – a symbolic gesture which should resonate deeply with Yeastie Boys fans the world over, and mean absolutely nothing to everyone else.

Tonight I had a Hud-a-Wa – the amber ale with the sassy pink electric magenta label. The aroma was slightly musty, like an old bookshop, but in a good way. It was strong, bitter, and gutsy as hell. It had a crisp, assertive mouthfeel (since when can a mouthfeel be assertive you ask? Like I said I’m drunk), a nice restrained sweetness, and a dry finish that kept me thirsty for more.

After my Hud-a-Wa I had an 8 Wired Superconductor, a Yeastie Boys Weemix, some Mata Taniwha and a taste of four different Galbraith beers. That’s why I can’t write so good, and why I’m cutting this post short to get some much-needed sleep. Goodnight!

Published in: on September 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm  Comments (5)  
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#1 Emerson’s Bookbinder

Emerson's Bookbinder

Name: Bookbinder
Brewer: Emerson’s (Dunedin, NZ)
Style: English Ale
ABV: 3.7%

As soon as first I had the idea for this project (which was only two hours ago), I knew that I wanted Emerson’s Bookbinder to be my first entry.

If there are beers that you go out and have wild, unforgettable one night stands with (Rex Attitude, I’ll get to you soon), then ‘Booky’ is the kind of beer I would want to marry.

You could take Booky to a barbecue and feel relaxed knowing he’d get along well with everyone there. You would leave him on his own to mingle, occasionally looking over to catch him impressing small children with magic tricks, or entertaining your friends with a hilarious fishing anecdote. He’s an anywhere, anytime kinda beer.

Over-extended metaphor aside: Bookbinder is a lovely take on a classic English ale, with enough bitter hops to keep things interesting, a refreshing dry finish, and a low alcohol content which makes it the perfect long-term companion.

One bottle of beer on the wall!

Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 10:21 am  Comments (3)  
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