#334 Three Boys – Pils

Three Boys Pils Name: Pils
Brewery: Three Boys (Chch, NZ)
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5.5%
Source: Elliot Stables

I had this Three Boys Pils at Elliot Stables recently, which is a posh European-style “foodcourt” in the CBD. I always freak out in foodcourts because I want to eat everything and then end up with something sub-par like sushi, but at this place it’s hard to go too wrong.

The other bonus of Elliot Stables is that, obviously, you can drink there. The bottle shop has a very small but interesting selection of beers (Pink Elephant’s Pink’s Peculiar was on the list for example), and if you’re stingy and have a bottle-opening iphone case like me, you can get around paying any corkage.

This is a pretty classic pils – simple, refreshing and gently hopped. I didn’t get anything on the nose other than malt and metal at first, but as it warmed up this bouquet (wanky word I know, sorry) of grassy, earthy and slightly spicy hops emerged. In the mouth there was a honey sweetness, and a lightly bitter dry finish.

My general verdict is “great, if you like that sort of thing”, but unfortunately I’m yet to become a great appreciator of pilsners. As always though, I’ll happily take one on a summer’s afternoon when I’m thirsty, etc etc…

Published in: on July 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

#253 Dead Good Beer – Pilsner

Dead Good Pilsner Name: Pilsner
Brewery: Dead Good Beer (Nelson, NZ)
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 4.2%
Source: Dave Kurth

A few weeks ago a box of beers arrived on my doorstep from Dave Kurth of West Coast Brewing. Unusually, most of the beer most of the beers weren’t actually his – but were from this brewery called Dead Good Beer that I’d never even heard of.

Because they’re one of the few breweries who aren’t endlessly chattering on Twitter, I still know basically nothing about Dead Good Beer. Their website describes them as a ‘virtual brewery’ (meaning they contract brew – I’m guessing with West Coast?), and it suggests the recipes are created by Mic Dover and Eelco Boswijk, who run Dead Good Beer Events in Nelson.

Whoever they were, I liked the labels and wasn’t going to turn my nose up at free beer. It was late one night last week and I needed something light to drink (and compared to most of the beers in my cupboard, this was), so I poured this one into my fancy Living & Giving pilsner glass and gave it a whirl.

I was half  expecting it to taste a bit dodgy TBH – partly because I’m not a huge fan of pilsners anyway, partly because I thought this must be a brand new brewery (I hadn’t quite realised at the time they were brewed by West Coast).  I was surprised then to find it was actually really good – crisp and clean, with some spicy floral hop notes and a decent amount of sweetness from the malt. Although I drank this sitting up in bed while blogging (it’s the most productive place, I swear), this would have been perfect with my lunch in the sun yesterday.

I’m looking forward to trying the other Dead Good Beers that Dave sent me, along with the slightly crazy sounding brews of his own. In the mean time if you want to try some Dead Good Beer for yourself, you’ll either have to figure out where I live and where I hide my beer, or get yourself to Nelson. The latter is preferable.

Published in: on April 26, 2012 at 2:52 pm  Comments (5)  

#183 Croucher – Pilsner

Name: Pilsner
Brewery: Croucher (Rotorua, New Zealand)
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5%
Source: Waiheke Wines

Ohhhh dear. I have to admit – I’ve been a pretty bad blogger these last few days (weeks?) and haven’t being paying quite as much attention to all the beers as I should.

What I’m saying is, I kinda didn’t make any notes on this, and am now blogging about it some days later with no real recollection of what it tasted like. I could look online at reviews and make it up but… Well.  Who could be bothered?

You know what – I can remember that it was a summery afternoon (Wednesday), that I was standing in the courtyard barbecuing at the time, and that the beer was refreshing, fruity and crisp – perfect for the occasion. I definitely liked it… I just can’t remember why exactly. 

And now please excuse me while I go beat myself senseless for being a bad blogger. And by ‘beat’ I do mean drink.

Published in: on February 11, 2012 at 10:16 am  Leave a Comment  

#179 Emerson’s Pilsner

Emerson's Pilsner

Photo pinched from philcook.net/beerdiary

Name: Pilsner
Brewery: Emerson’s (Dunedin, New Zealand)
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 4.4%
Source: Richmond Road liquor store

Sweet baby jesus this is a good beer.

This is, I think, the first interesting beer I ever tasted. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I have a feeling I was dressed like I was ready to go to war (I was going through a Drum ‘n’ Bass phase at the time), so I’d guess about 16.

I remember being blown away at how fruity it was. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was having my first proper encounter with hops (I would learn what they were a few years later, with the arrival of Epic Pale Ale). It was fruity and yet not too sweet, refreshing and crisp and terribly moreish (which is a pain when you’re broke and underage.)

These days I find it more delicious than ever. While I’ve had loads more hoppy beers over the years, I still find it’s fresh fruit salad (tropical fruit, citrus and passionfruit) taste really unique. I love the balance too – a hint of honey sweetness with a lasting bitter finish.

I also like the label. The mountain makes it seem all fresh and clean and actually healthy, which in turn makes me think I can just drink one of these instead of going for a run. (Did I tell you I’m trying to take up running in order to counter beer consumption? It’s not going well.)

PS – Apologies Phil Cook for stealing your photo.  I’m on Waiheke and the photo I took is trapped on my computer at home. Also yours is better.


Published in: on February 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm  Comments (4)  

#165 Invercargill Brewery – B.Man

Invercargill B-ManName: B.Man
Brewery: Invercargill Brewery
Style: Pilsner
Source: Victoria Park new World

OK. I’m not going to even try and tell you what this beer tasted like. The truth is I only had three sips, and my body was screaming ‘No! No! Whyyyyy!’ (etc) with each one.

I had come from the usual Friday night drinks – checking out the rebooted Epic Pale Ale at Brew on Quay – then had fallen asleep on the couch while watching Evil Dead 2. (Yes – my Friday nights can get wild sometimes.)

I woke up with a dry mouth and pounding headache at about 11:45, then remembered that I had 15 minutes to drink my beer of the day. I chucked this in the freezer for 10, took a photo and a few swigs and then gave the rest to my boyfriend.

I think it was sweet and fruity, and probably would have been quite nice except that I really, really, didn’t want to drink anything that wasn’t water. If you can imagine dying of thirst in the dessert and then being handed a packet of beef jerky (one of my all time favorite things – usually), then you have some idea of how I was feeling.

So uhh, yeah. If anyone else can tell me what I missed out on, feel free to enlighten me in the comments section below!

PS: Finn wanted me to add that he really enjoyed it – but then he had been drinking DB Export Dry all night so I’m not surprised.

Published in: on January 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm  Comments (2)  

#128 Epic – Larger

Epic Larger Name: Larger
Brewery: Epic (Auckland, New Zealand)
Style: Imperial Pilsner
ABV: 8.5%
Source: Epic

“Wow, fuck that’s a flavoursome beer.”

“It tastes like sunshine.”

“I feel like I’m on a picnic on a clifftop with my lover.”

Three very accurate quotes from three friends who I (somewhat begrudgingly) gave sips of my Epic Larger to.

I’m probably too drunk to be blogging right now because I drank most of the 8.5% bottle myself, but I’m feeling kinda excited about it and wanted to share my feelings with the rest of you RIGHT NOW.

As I’ve said, many many many times before, I’m not a fan of lager – very rarely even a fan of it’s hopped up alter-ego pilsner. I also try to avoid super alcoholic beers because I’m small and get drunk stupidly quickly. In other words – an Imperial Pilsner is the last thing I would ever order at a bar.

Or so I thought.

As soon as I took the cap off this, my nostrils were assaulted with the massive, hoppy, happy smell of it, which got intensely fruity (heaps of passionfruit in particular) as I got closer.

In the mouth it was fantastic – a big malt presence that balanced out the hops perfectly, producing loads of flavour but without so much of that hop bitterness that I’ve been grumbling a little about lately. The mouthfeel was full and oily but the finish clean and crisp, and the hops left a lovely herbaceous aftertaste.

Like the Hop Zombie, I think the secret to this beer is it’s perfect hop to malt ratio. It’s intense without being aggressive, it’s fun (like sunshine) and exciting (like a picnic with your lover on a cliff) and god dammit if it isn’t flavoursome.

If you’re in Auckland, I highly recommend heading along to the official launch of Larger at O’Carrolls tomorrow, where it will be on tap. (And if you do, please keep an eye on me and stop me from having any more than two!)

Published in: on December 14, 2011 at 9:13 pm  Comments (5)  

#120 Sprig & Fern – Harvest Pilsner

Name: Harvest Pilsner
Brewery: Sprig & Fern (aka Tasman Brewing Company, Nelson, New Zealand)
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5%
Source: Alpine Lodge, St Arnaud

Day 2 in Craft Beer Heaven took me to St Arnaud, a place I had never even heard of before it flashed up on my GPS as I started to approach it.

I’m really really glad I went there though. It’s one of those ridiculously beautiful New Zealand towns that tourists come half way around the world to see, but Aucklanders might never visit unless – well, unless it flashed up on their GPS as they started to approach it.

This, along with the Sprig & Fern Porter, was on tap at the Alpine Lodge – which was the only licensed accommodation in town and therefore the obvious place to stay.

When I sniffed it – and I’m not being funny – all I could think of were these grape-flavoured chewing gum balls that came in a little box from Japan. It’s probably not exactly what the brewer had in mind, but I swear the resemblance was uncanny.

Once I started drinking it the grape gum disappeared (which proves it was probably a figment of my imagination), and was replaced with more normal New Zealand hop flavours – zesty citrus and passionfruit, and also – I’m pretty sure – cooked rice.

In the mouth it was crisp and clean, crying out for a hot summer’s day and a sizzling barbequed steak to accompany it. But even there in the cosy lodge, with lamb shanks and rain falling steadily on the ducks outside, it seemed just the thing.

So there you go – a beautiful alpine town that I never knew existed (although my geography is rubbish – there are probably loads), and finally a lager I like. Craft Beer Heaven is full of surprises.

Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm  Comments (2)  

#111 Harrington’s – Rogue Hop

Harringtons Rogue HopName: Rogue Hop
Brewery: Harrington’s (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5%
Source: Richmond Rd Cafe

These days, when I go out for breakfast I look for three things on the menu:

One is black pudding. Black pudding is up there among my most favourite foods in the world, especially when it’s thinly sliced and full of fat and fried to a crumbly crisp. (Boy am I getting hungry just thinking about it.)

Two is offal. Any kind of restaurant that is bold (and classy) enough to put offal on it’s menu gets a big tick from me. For breakfast I prefer livers or kidney, but am open to other organs as well.

Three is craft beer. I know I said breakfast – but lets face it, who goes out to breakfast before midday these days?

You can imagine my delight then, when I stumbled on Richmond Rd Cafe which ticked all three boxes yesterday. They had Moa, Coopers, and Harrington’s on their menu – and best of all they had no crap beer.

They also had pan-fried lambs livers, which I ordered with a side of black pudding:

I realise that will look like a complete horror-show to some people out there but just trust me, it was divine (although the black pudding could have been a bit fattier IMO.)

This isn’t a food blog though is it? I’m just sitting at my desk and starving and thus ranting about food which makes me even hungrier. On to the beer!

I passed the Rogue Hop around and got everyone to say what they thought it smelled like, and they came back with “grapefruit peel”, “saffron”, and “an Indian spice shop”. Obviously my family are better at tasting beer than me because I just said “cereal and plants”.

Anyway, the smell was pretty nice, and when I sipped it it was clean and refreshing, but (like most lagers I’ve tried) I didn’t really find it that interesting. I reckon it was quite a bit like the Tuatara Pilsner I had the other day, and it’s probably just the case the style isn’t really for me.

That didn’t stop it from being a bloody marvelous breakfast though. I’ll be back to Richmond Rd Cafe soon to try a different beer, and their Pan-fried lambs kidneys. Karrrrggghhhhh……

PS – have you voted for my blog yet? Please do!

Published in: on November 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm  Comments (6)  

#104 Tuatara – Pilsner

Tuatara Pilsner Name: Pilsner
Brewery: Tuatara (Waikanae, New Zealand)
Style: Bohemian Pilsner
ABV: 5%
Source: Grandma & Grandad’s

Just because you’re 80-something and you get around in Kumpfs and talk to the cat a lot, doesn’t mean you can’t be discerning about the beer you drink.

At least, not according to my grandparents, who pulled out a mix-pack of Tuatara beers from the fridge when I visited them for lunch on Sunday.

They live in Paraparaumu  which is just down the road from the Tuatara Brewery, so not only are they buying craft, they’re buying local as well. My grandparents are some hip cats, I tell you.

I chose the Pilsner, which I’ve had a few times recently and enjoyed, and I made Granddad get this crystal glass out of the cupboard for me to drink it from.

It’s a funny thing. The last two times I had this I thought I liked it, but this time I wasn’t so sure. It smelled pretty hoppy – spicy and grassy – but not as citrusy as I’d remembered and a bit one-dimensional. In the mouth it was there was a dominant grainy flavour that I wasn’t mad on either.

I don’t know. It was refreshing and all, just a little… boring perhaps? It’s strange how I can like a beer one day and be less fussed the next, but it happens surprisingly often. Maybe it was the crystal glass. Maybe it had me expecting too much.

Despite this experience being a bit underwhelming, I do generally enjoy Tuatara beers and I love the fact that they sell a mix-packs. In my opinion it’s much more fun to drink six different beers than six of the same*, and I wish every craft brewery would follow suit.

*Unless of course it’s the Tuatara APA (either version), which I’ll happily drink until I fall off my bar stool.

Published in: on November 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

#91 Green Man – Premium Pils


Name: Premium Pils
Brewery: Green Man (Dunedin, New Zealand)
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5.4%
Source: Criterion Hotel (Oamaru)

In Oamaru on business. Blogging from phone. Too busy and important for complete sentences.

Had this Green Man Pils at the Criterion last night -Victorian pub with decent beer on tap. Had a pickled egg too – better than you’d think.

Pilsner probably pretty good if you like lager, but I don’t really. Crisp & refreshing and all that, just wanted more hop aroma and bite at the finish. Much preferred Finn’s Green Man Best Bitter – massive malt beast with a good dose of citrussy hops. Made him switch halfway through.

No more time. It’s all go here in Oamaru – meeting with the town crier in five. Lets hope I don’t fall off my Penny Farthing.*

*Update: That wasn’t a joke.  I did actually ride a penny farthing and it was bloody tricky. 

Published in: on November 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm  Comments (2)