#341 Emerson’s – Weissbier

Emerson's Weissbier Name: Weissbier 
Brewery: Emerson’s (Dunedin, NZ)
Style: Weissbier
ABV: 5%
Source: Ponsonby Liquor King

Yum. Yum. YUMThis stuff is delicious!

Not that I should be surprised – I’ve never had a bad drop from Emerson’s  – but you know it’s not like me to get crazy with my formatting  over a wheat beer. Usually I say something along the lines of: “It would probably be nice if it was summer and also you were dying of thirst in a dessert,” but not this time.

This didn’t taste like any old Weissbier to me – instead it was like a slice of still-warm banana cake, gone slightly crispy and toffeeish at the edges.


On the nose I got gooey ripe banana (something that gives me the creeps in real life but here it worked), caramel, candied sugar and warm wintery spices. In the mouth it was sweet and spicy, with more banana, yeast, a hint of lemony tartness and a dry finish.

I’ve never thought of a wheat beer as being a good winter warmer before, but because of the spicyness, the dessert-like aromas and the relatively full body, that’s exactly what this was.

In other news, you might have noticed that I’m getting very very close to finishing this blog! While I still have a back-log of beers that I have drunk but not yet written about, I still have 16 more beers to find. If anyone has suggestions of beers that are brilliant, not yet blogged and available in Auckland, please help a blogger out and let me know. Thanks!

Published in: on July 23, 2012 at 11:01 am  Comments (5)  

#245 Emerson’s – Weizenbock

Name: Hefe-Weizenbier Weizenbock
Brewery: Emerson’s Brewery (Dunedin, Auckland)
Style: Weizenbock
ABV: 6.3%
Source: Waiheke Fruit & Veg

I’m feeling slightly frazzled today. It’s partly Post Birthday Blues – the trauma that comes from knowing it’s a full 364 days before I can take the day off work, eat three lavish meals in a day, drink 17% beer and reasonably expect my boyfriend to carry me to bed when I’m too drunk from said beer – but it’s also realizing that I’m a full 9 days behind on my blog.

That doesn’t mean I get to drink 9 beers either, it just means I need to write 9 posts – a thought which makes me want to cry/drink/throw in the towel. But! I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to write 9 quite possibly crappy posts and move on.

So naturally the Dunkel wasn’t my birthday beer, it was the beer I drank 9 days ago.
It was a sweet, dark delicious thing, with aromas of banoffie pie (banana, caramel, even the cream), chocolate, christmassy spices and bready yeast. In the mouth it was velvety smooth, full-bodied and with just a hint of bitterness at the finish. It say I don’t like wheat beers, but boy did I like this.

One down. Eight to go. Who knew beer could cause so much stress!?

Published in: on April 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm  Comments (3)  

#243 Emerson’s – Taieri George

Emerson's Taieri GeorgeName: Taeiri George
Brewery: Emerson’s
Style: Spiced Ale
ABV: 6.2%
Source: Thorndon New World

I almost don’t need to write anything about this beer. The lovely (if I do say so myself) picture on the right says it all – Hot. Cross. Buns. Homemade pagan hot cross buns in this instance.

The Taeiri George is released every year around this time, and is often described as tasting like – if you hadn’t guessed it – a hot cross bun in a bottle. Indeed, it tastes like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, yeast, even raisins and some say, Jesus, if you squeeze your eyes shut and concentrate.

Now I freaking love hot cross buns, and I freaking love this beer. I wish I could have both of them all year round, although it probably adds to the appeal that I can’t. In all honesty I didn’t think they went that well together – the buns rather overwhelmed the beer and seemed to diminish the spice flavours rather than enhance them – but there was something so damn nice about it that I’m going to do it every year.

For the record, I didn’t get given any chocolate this Easter which I’m pretty sure is a first time occurance. Apparently I am officially a grown-up!

Published in: on April 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm  Comments (4)  

#235 Emerson’s – Bird Dog

Emerson's Bird DogName: Bird Dog (Brewer’s Reserve)
Brewery: Emerson’s (Dunedin, NZ)
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.8%
Source: NZ Beer festival

I was feeling the pressure to write an in-depth (in-depth for this blog at least) review of the Beer Festival to go with this post, but thanks to my tardiness I’ve been let off the hook.

Fellow blogger, Pursuit Editor and organiser of the Auckland Hop (are you going? I am!) Kate Jordan has done a great job of summing up the beer festival here. If you’re too lazy to click the link, the gist is that it was better than the beer geeks were expecting. The cloud was a vastly better venue than the Ellerslie Racecourse  (although I thought there needed to be seating), the beers on offer were better than in previous years, and the number of people dressed in lederhosen was minimal.

My only real gripe (and it’s kind of a big one) is that I thought there should have been more beer stalls and/or less tickets sold. By the time I left the queues were about 7-deep at every stand, and a lot of the best beers had run out.

My first and most surprising beer of the day was the Emerson’s Bird Dog. I say surprising because, unlike any Emerson’s beer I’ve had before, it was hoppy! And not in the polite, ever-so-gentle way of British pale ales, but in a this-could-have-been-brewed-by-Luke-Nicholas kind of way.

It did actually really remind me of the hoppy Epic beers. It had a huge aroma of punchy fruit and citrus (both NZ and US hops I think), a resiny bitterness, and a reasonable pillow of caramelly malt to soften it out. I had it twice, and it was the beer that I told everyone at the festival to go and try. (“It’s worth that effing ridiculous queue!” I said.)

Back to the festival though, because I can’t resist throwing in my two analytical cents…

Beerfest is never going to be as beloved by craft beer lovers as Beervana. It appeals to a broader/different range of people – and while some beer geeks might feel uncomfortable about sharing their hobby with ‘bogans’ – that’s got to be a good thing at the end of the day. There will be people who see Beerfest purely as an excuse to get pissed during the day, but if they come away remembering even one beer that they liked and buy it again, then surely that’s a win for craft beer. (Unless of course that one beer was a Carlsberg, but it won’t be.)

Published in: on April 3, 2012 at 11:23 am  Comments (5)  
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#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)  

#171 Emerson’s – 1812

Emerson's 1812Name: 1812
Brewery: Emerson’s (Dunedin, New Zealand)
Style: IPA
ABV: 5%
Source: Glengarry’s Ponsonby

OK, so if you don’t want to know an IPA unless it feels like paint-stripper in your mouth, then you might be vaguely dissapointed by this one.

But – if like me you love the taste of hops and get turned on by the word ‘balance’, then step right up friend, the 1812 is for you.

Without actually bothering to Google it, I’d guess the name ‘1812’ indicates that this is how IPA might have tasted back in the olden days when the style first came about.

It certainly feels very English to me, rather than American. The hop flavour is fruity – I get juicy citrus, apple and stonefruit – with some pine and woody notes as well. The hops are perfectly balanced (ohh baby) with soft, caramelly malt, and the finish is only gently bitter, but still dry and with a lingering aftertaste.

Bravo Emerson’s – a very classy drop indeed.



Published in: on January 30, 2012 at 10:37 am  Comments (5)  

#94 Emerson’s – Tally Ho!

Name: Tally Ho!
Brewery: Emerson’s (Dunedin, New Zealand)
Style: Summer Ale
ABV: 4.9%
Source: Emerson’s shop (Dunedin)

If there’s one thing I like more than a pint of Emerson’s beer, it’s a 2.5L flagon of Emerson’s beer.

That’s exactly what I got when I was at the Emerson’s Brewery/shop in Dunedin on Wednesday, and that little German beer glass you see next to it is from an op shop in Oamaru. Seeing them together makes me feel strangely warm and fuzzy inside, and makes me sort of wish I lived in the South Island until I remember I hate the cold.

Here are a few snaps that I took at the shop/brewery:

Emersons bottles

Emersons tasters

Emerson's Brewery

Alice outside the Emerson's shop

So the Tally Ho! is a a ‘summer ale’ –  a term that might make you think of that godawful sweet, flavour-injected, Monteiths crap. If it does, get your mind out of the gutter now and transport it to the garden of an English pub, in a little country town with a name like twattfordshire. Imagine the sun appearing from the clouds allowing you to momentarily take off your windbreaker, smell the honeysuckle mingling with cigarette smoke and chips, and imagine a lovely pint of bitter being placed on the wonky picnic table in front of you.

That’s what this beer is. Very summery, very English. It smells zingy and fresh – like herbs and cut grass, with maybe a little squeeze of citrus fruit. The aroma isn’t strong, but it’s there and it’s enough to draw you in.

It’s crisp and quenching in the mouth. Light, but with enough hoppy bitterness and spice to make itself known. Unlike my one experience of a British Summer (“The worst we’ve ever had” they said. I’m not so sure), the finish is long and dry.

This is exactly the kind of beer that I want to have a 2.5L flagon of in the fridge at all times – chilled and ready to combat the most severe attacks of thirst. Unfortunately there’s nowhere to refill it in Auckland, so (again like my English Summer) I’ll just have to enjoy it for the three days that it lasts.

Published in: on November 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm  Comments (1)  

#72 Emerson’s – Brownville Brown

Name: Brownville Brown
Brewery: Emerson’s (Dunedin, New Zealand)
Style: Brown Ale
ABV:  5.8%
Source: Regional Wines (Wellington)

Considering brown is my least favourite colour (followed closely by teal), I was wondering whether I could ever love a Brown Ale called Brownville Brown that arrived in a brown bottle and poured the colour of… brown.

But of course I could! Because I was going to drink the damn thing after all and not spray it all over my house as interior decoration, and in fact I decided to embrace the colour –  drinking a few sips of ‘Dubbel Bruin’ (so watery! my god!) beforehand, and even matching the Brownville with a piece of chocolate brownie. I practically threw a damn Brown Festival!

Of course, anything would have tasted pretty great after the Double Brown, but it turned out the beer was much more interesting than the colour. It smelled sweet and complex. There was some fruity hoppiness, chocolate, and roasty malt flavours with a hint of espresso. On the palate it was sweet and caramelly for a moment, then almost tart as more bitter roasty flavours came through, and the finish was drying and clean.

I guess you could say it was a bit like paint. I mean it didn’t taste like paint thank god, but it was multifaceted – as if a kid had taken tubes of all the paint colours and squirted them on the pallette and mixed it all up to make… brown.

To be honest, I don’t really know what I’m talking about. It’s Thursday afternoon and I’ve been building web pages all morning and I’ve written the word ‘brown’ too many times and now I have about as much brain functionality as a chicken. No, as a chicken sandwhich. 

Just try this beer. It’s nice.

Published in: on October 20, 2011 at 4:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

#71 Emerson’s – JP 2011

Emerson's JP 2011Name: JP (2011)
Brewery: Emerson’s (Dunedin, New Zealand)
Style: Tripel
ABV: 9%
Source: Regional Wines (Wellington)

I can hardly believe that after writing my first ever post on Emerson’s Bookbinder, and declaring it to be the beer I would like to marry, it’s taken me 70 beers to get to the next Emerson’s brew. Pretty good sign that I’m not gonna run out before I get to 365, eh?

Emerson’s is one of my favourite breweries. Partly because the beers are consistently great, partly because it makes me nostalgic for my Dunedin youth (which ended a whopping four years ago). To be honest, financial circumstances meant a fair whack of my student loan went towards Chasseur cask wine during that time, but I did work at a Restaurant that sold Emerson’s (The Reef), so I was lucky enough to score a few bottles when the boss was feeling generous.

Every year Emerson’s release a ‘JP’ – named after the late Professor Jean-Pierre (JP) Dufour. He was the Dean of Food Sciences at the University and apparently a bit of an icon in the brewing world, as well as an all-round top bloke.

Every year the JP is different, but the 2011 version is a Tripel – which is a strong, Belgian-style ale first popularized by the Trappist monastery at Westmalle.

It poured a deep copper colour – though probably a bit lighter than it looks in my photo – with a big creamy head. It smelled really Belgian (of course) – some banana and warm spices, caramel and a hint of yeasty dough.

On the tongue I got a hit of caramelly malt up front along with a warm hit of booze. Toward the finish it sharpened up slightly and finished with a dry, mellow bitterness, with those lovely Belgian flavours lasting for the whole ride.

It was lighter in the mouth and more carbonated than I was expecting, but I think that suited it well. It was easy to drink – probably too easy given the whopping 9% ABV – so it’s lucky I’d had my dinner first for once.

I’m feeling so warm and fuzzy about Emerson’s right now that I’ve just but a rigger of Brownville in the fridge. Stay tuned for more gushing (from me, not the beer – although it did travel up from Wellington) tomorrow!

Published in: on October 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

#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)