#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.

Published in: on August 1, 2012 at 10:36 am  Comments (7)  

#327 Wigram – Kortegast Sparkling Red Ale

Name: Kortegast Sparkling Ale
Brewery: Wigram (Chch, NZ) 
Style: Irish Ale
ABV: 5%
Source: Waiheke Wines

Wigram is another one of those breweries, like Pink Elephant, that have stayed completely off my beer radar (which is my other name for Twitter) in the past year. I’ve never heard a peep from or about them, and maybe that’s the reason I’ve overlooked that little pilot logo for so long.

Looking at their fairly vast beer list, though, it looks like they’re making some interesting stuff.  I like the idea of historical beers a lot (me and Dad made Ye Olde Cock Ale in the weekend, is anyone game to try it?) so I’d be interested to try their Spruce Beer, which was based on the first beer Captain Cook ever brewed in New Zealand. I bet it tastes pretty foul, but it would be an educational sort of foul, which is one kind I can abide.

There’s a little bit of history in the Sparkling Ale, too. According tho the brewery the beer uses historical hops which were found growing on the banks of the Hokitika River, and were originally grown by pioneer brewer, Mr William C. J. Kortegast.

I think it was a great idea to use these hops, although in all honesty I’m not sure they imparted a lot of flavour. I didn’t get much aroma from the beer – pretty much just grainy malt, and in the mouth it tasted of caramel malt and grassy hops. It was kind of nice in a smooth and easy drinking way, just not terribly interesting.

It’s nice to have the  finally have the Wigram veil of mystery lifted a little, at least. I must try to get that Spruce Beer in me before August 7th!

Published in: on July 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm  Comments (1)