Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Thirstyboys: home brew tasting #2

Text: Mr Horse

The boys gathered at Mr Horse’s place in Newtown for the second home brew session. Present were : Greasy Light Bulb (GLB), Ginger Beardy Man (GBM), The Jesuit (J), Malice (M), Karori Fry Up (KFU), Mr Horse (H), and DJKanuk (DJK). We were joined by The Cutter from the Beer Barons, Ryan the Brewer and guest brewer Stu from Yeastie Boys.

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1.     Beer Barons Black IPA (about 7.8% – theoretically)

This was a recipe from Ryan called ‘Captains of Industry’ which called for a lot of malt, and the barons struggled with the brewing process having to use every pot in the kitchen to deal with all the grain. It used truckloads of Centennial, Chinook and Galaxy hops. Despite the technical challenges they felt it turned out pretty well and has been their most successful beer to date (and that’s not saying much with only 4 beers ― the last one, a golden ale, was undrinkable).

Jesuit: ‘Its salty. No wait, it’s the pretzels.’

Stu: ‘Dry rather than fruity finish. I’m suspicious of people whose first batches aren’t nightmares.’ .

GLB: ‘Sour, dark and fruity.’

Ryan: ‘Thin. Its not often I get to use that word.’

Jesuit: ‘Ethereal’

Food match: Chilli con carne. Pineapple more than passion fruit. Crusty bread and cream cheese. A cold day beer, to warm the cockles of your heart.

The kind of beer you drink when: at the start of a beer tasting.

Music match: Something Finnish

MP: 6.5

 2.     The Client Bock (7%)

The Cutter from the Beer Barons brought along an impressive line up of home brew from his client Andrew, who was not able to come because he just got married last weekend (fair enough, although GBM issued an early ‘under the thumb’ warning). The Cutter explained that Andrew only started brewing 6 months ago in a man shed in the garden. “He doesn’t do things by halves,” he said, and “he’s produced some pretty good shit.”

The drinkers thought the beer was: ‘Clean,’ ‘dried fruit,’ ‘green apple,’ ‘banana’

‘A bit desserty’ DJK

‘Reminds me of the Age of Raison by Renaissance’ Ryan

‘The apple character is probably stressed yeast, due to under-pitching’ Stu

Foodmatch: Something creamy, millefeuille

The type of beer you drink when: Wellington has an excessively hot summer

Music match: Josie and the Pussycats

MP 5

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3.     Ryan the Brewer ‘Ray Harryklausen Bock’

This beer from the prodigious Kiwi-German brewer Ryan references the late great movie maker RIP, one of PJ’s idols from the 1930s who did King Kong. Ryan has been brewing for a few years and now works at Regional Wines & Spirits where he gets inspiration from the huge range of beers on offer. He recalls: “The first beer I ever made was fucking awesome…then I got to know to know Kieran and he started being honest…” This bock was brewed in February, the first decoction mash he had tried (in other words un-carbonated or made without yeast). “I’m never doing it again,” he added.

‘Smooth and refreshing’ GLB

‘Crisp’ Jesuit

‘Much cleaner ― a palate cleanser’ GBM

‘Caramalised, slightly toffee apple’ Mr H

Throughout the tasting of this beer an obscure conversation was going on in the corner about German pop music…

Food match: Regansburg sausage

MP 7

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4.     The Client Schwarzbier (about 5%)

Tips: Some commented it had similar characters to the bock and might have used the same yeast. Stu explained that brewers need to use an ale yeast for the temperature. Ryan suggested a California lager yeast.

The assembled company thought this: ‘Sooty,’ ‘charcoal,’ ‘roasted cider.’

‘Those apples are definitely green’ GLB

‘Toasty more than roasty’ Stu

Foodmatch: ‘Something that has been BBQ’d to hell’ GLB

MP3

5.     GBM’s Yin Great Lummox (4.5%)

The name of this beer refers to ‘……………’ Ginger Beardy Man of course hails from Scotland, and has a love of whisky (no ‘e’) as well as being a home brewer (remember the famous beer-whisky tasting reviewed on this website?). He has been brewing for a year, and has done 3-4 beers in a 50L kit in the kitchen at home. He felt that this beer was ‘not as malt forward as he was hoping.’

Comments:

‘Medicinal. Tar. ’ GBM

‘Burnt toast.’ Jesuit

‘Chewy’ GBM

Tips: ‘A tough beer to brew. Less roast malt. A good yeast to use is the European ale.’ Stu

Food match: Haggis

Music: Jesus and Mary Chain, Sidewalk and fur (‘Scottish and slightly pretentious’ GBM)

MP 6

Between beers Stu told a funny story about meeting John Palmer the home brew God at a conference.

Quotable quote: ‘The great about talking and drinking is that you can do both at the same time.’ Ryan

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6.     Client’s Wheatbeer

Oh, theres that appley yeast again. Not the best beer of the evening. We are afraid to report that we had to get a bucket and follow the wine tasters adage ‘spit don’t swallow’.

‘He has been picking his own green apple tree’ Ryan

‘We got one line’ M

‘It’s a good line’ Ryan

Food match: Vindaloo

Music: ‘God didn’t make little green apples’

MP 2

 

7.     Ryan The Terror American IPA

Ryan told us this beer was made with Sauvin and, for the first time, Mosaic hops. This led to a conversation about Epic Mosaic IPA. Stu thought it tasted like a clone of Boundary Road’s Stolen Base.

Tips: Make more. Add more seaweed.

Comments: ‘Briny, candy brine, children’s medecine, stringent…’

‘Nice nose’ Mr H

‘Lighter in the body than I thought it would be’ GBM

MP7

Foodmatch: A nice Alsatian slow roast, chacuterie, jamon serrano, porchetta

Music match: The Replacements.

Meanwhile the musos in the corner (KFU, DJK and the Jesuit) rambled on for ages about  dead musicians and the missing member of Killing Joke.

Meanwhile the more focused members of the group were entranced by Stu’s description of the beet root Saison he is working on for a beer festival in Oz. The label he showed us on his phone looked great, very red.

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8.     Client’s BIPA

Tips: Don’t brew Tui, brew this. Try a slightly cooler fermentation to make it cleaner.

‘A far better beer, a really good backbone’ GBM

‘Now we’re talking…’ Stu

‘A nice dark chocolate thing going on’ Ryan

Food match: Sausage, bacon buttie with HP sauce

MP 7

9.     Ryan Barbera BIPA (8.5%)

This last beer’s title is an obscure reference to the film Night of the Living Dead

Tips: Blend it with the previous beer.

Comments: ‘Intense, dark chocolate, coco-chocolate.’

‘Big.’ The Cutter

‘You can chew it’ Mr Heritage

Drink match: Sherry

Food: After dinner mint

Music: Isaac Hayes

MP 8.5

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The brewers – Stu, Ryan, the Cutter, Mr Horse, GingerBeardyMan

The music subplot was still dribbling on. The Jesuit was heard to say: ‘You young people with your hoola hoops and your Dan Fogelburg records.’

At this point KFU made a rare intercession into the proceedings with the news that Ferguson had quit Man U, after which that the evening came to a natural close.

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Greater Wellington Brewday #1

Text and photos: Greasylightbulb

April 6th 2013 saw the inaugural GW Brewday event in Martinborough. Some might feel there isn’t exactly a shortage of beer events these days but this addition seemed to capture the enthusiasm of ale aficionados and lager lovers to create a bit of a buzz. Since many non-attendees have subjected us more committed types to interrogation afterwards, we thought it best to pool our hazy memories into a more permanent record of the day.

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Brewday: So awesome we all got tats

A beer celebration bang in the middle of wine country might seem a bit odd at first, but actually makes a fair amount of sense. Whenever I’ve been with winegrowers socially they’ve drank beer about 95% of the time (that’s 95% of their drinking time, not 95% of their waking day. Chefs, on the other hand….). Also one of the key angles of GW Brewday is its regional focus, and wine growing areas have understood the importance of that concept for pretty much ever. You can always match your Wairarapa pinot noir to your Wairarapa seasoned olives with Wairarapa feta, such pairings often working so well because the food and wine styles of an area have evolved together and tend to reflect other factors from predominant weather to social practises.  Although contemporary craft beer rarely has a true sense of terroir (though it can if it wants), it often reflects local trends and adding it into the regional mix adds another dimension of choice to the enthusiastic punter. Mildly ironically Marchfest, probably the best established regional beer festival in NZ, was on at the same weekend even though it was April. Thus denying Wellingtonians and others the chance to go to both. First World problems and all that….

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Before “The Cloud” appeared.

The Venue

Brewday was set up corral-style with a horseshoe of tents around a wee paddock with some tables and hay bales facing a stage truck. As a map geek who is also fond of at least pretending to make strategic plans for festivals, I was warmed to see the conveniently pocket-sized program feature a well organised lay out of the breweries and food stations. Having committed it to memory it unfortunately turned out to be a work of fiction

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Where the things were supposed to be, and where the things actually were

Not that that was much of an obstacle to walking round and seeing what was where, which ultimately was always going to happen anyway. Five hours in a paddock is a long time to resist the urge to explore. Most intriguing though was this area:

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Smelt a bit like catnip

The map (yes I was still using it) suggested it was the “activity zone”, tantalisingly without expanding on what that actually meant. From our observations we figured activity might be a euphemism for smoking.

The Seminars

The biggest tent was used for seminars: chocolate and beer; cheese and beer; Craft Beer College; and Mike from the exciting Panhead almost-brewery. We plumped for the beer and cheese tasting. You had to book (and pay) for this beforehand but I was entertaining some visiting gourmands from Victoria and was keen for them to see that we can do that sort of thing too. Like all the tents the white canvas made for an oddly intense and slightly oppressive omnidirectional lighting effect.

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Beer and cheese and sunglasses

Possibly due to the inaugural nature of the day the organisation seemed a bit slow as lots of tiny beers were poured then we all queued up to individually get our bits of Kingsmeade cheese and beer tasters. At first I was gutted to be at the back of the tent and therefore getting the last servings but on reflection the people at the beginning had to sit there patiently not eating or drinking the goodies in front of them, which would have been quite a tease. I on the other hand had done three beer runs to the outside world in that time. Anyway 40 mins later and off we rolled, Kieran Haslett-Moore is eminently qualified on the subject and gives a great presentation. I’m impressed by the way he looks for novel matches and doesn’t shy away when they don’t quite work, focusing instead on the characteristics behind the incompatibility.  Voting afterwards declared the winningest match to be the Sunset Blue cheese with the (noticeably non-regional!) Fuller’s 1845 beer. It was a great cheese with a nice tangy spice quality that complimented the rich sweet-toffee maltiness of a classic beer. The most interesting match for me though was the Castlepoint feta with Garage Project’s Baltic Porter as it was a great example of how flavours affecting each other on your palate. After a bite of the crumbly traditional-style salty cheese the beer tasted hugely different with a sudden deep chocolate character dominating affairs. Kieran explained how smokiness and saltiness go well together and suddenly everything made sense.

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Beer n’cheese. Five bucks worth.

The Beer Stalls

Afterwards we hit the breweries in earnest and although all our local favorites were represented, it was more exciting to come across several we’d not heard of before from outside of Wellington including Long Beach, 50 Knots and Regent 58. These discoveries represented something of a highlight of the day and really provides a reason for having an event such as this in the beer calender. Long Beach from Waikanae already run a fantastic café and bakery near the beach but are building a brewhouse up the road from these. Their stall was staffed by exceptionally happy and friendly people selling pies and making cheesy puns whilst chatting with considerable enthusiasm about the project. 50 Knots are a new bunch who now own Crooked Cider but are dipping a toe into beer as well, so to speak, by brewing at Peak Brewery. They were notable for an admirable desire to get people’s thoughts and opinions on their beers. Regent 58 are some beardy homebrewers with a penchant for traditional style ales expanding into commercial production, so expect to see them in a supermarket or pub near you soon. Currently their beers are all bottle conditioned though which I reckon still catches the neophyte beer drinker/barstaff by surprise with unfortunate consequences.

Beer Highlights (in no particular order):

Long Beach Amber Ale – ABV 4.2%

A delightfully moreish American influenced malt forward beer in an underrated style. Crisp, clean and quaffable. Look forward to a lot more of this sort of thing when the brewery is up and running soon. Waikanae is quite suddenly becoming a destination!

Garage Project Baltic Porter – 8.1%

Virtually unanimously voted “best beer” at the cheese and beer session. Medium bodied and lightly smoked with some complexity of flavours and a deceptive strength.  Intriguingly, there may be more of this maturing in barrels somewhere in the Aro Valley.

Kereru Velvet Boot – 8%

Enjoyed on tap for our first time. With experiences of the bottles having varied hugely, this was a gloriously fresh and uplifting world-beater of a Belgian. Luckily for us this skilled man is also just a couple of months away from having his own brewhouse.

The Things to Help You Enjoy the Beer 

The food was great, I dare anyone to try and run a beer event vaguely near Wellington with substandard fare these days! Fork and Brewer’s spicy haloumi kebabs being a much appreciated veggie option and also perfect beer match, but Le Canard’s huge roast chicken meals showed the biggest queues.  The music consisted of Wellington’s slightly painful Oompah band, the technically slick rock of Mr Groove, and the always willing cover band The Noodles. The latter gave us the drunkenly hilarious but certainly high scoring game “what song don’t you want to hear them play”. To their credit they did get the crowd dancing with their happy interactive zeal.

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Happy Schnappsman

There were some non eating and drinking stalls, with glassware and wooden beer-associated items. I’m not sure how well they did for business. We contained our disbelief at being told how much better beer is when drank from 98% silicon glass that appeared to be a few microns thick…. the term “high definition drinking” was bandied around as if it were somehow real.  Another genuine highlight though was the chance to try some schnapps and beer matching at the challengingly-named Zumwohl stand. Basically all the fruity ones match wheat beers (and sunshine) while the neutral one compliments virtually anything, but especially dark beers.

Overall Impressions

Perhaps preminising the need for a blog review, I asked around for opinions of the day.

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Brewday: bring shoes

It certainly didn’t make for a cheap weekend with a non-early bird ticket price of $45 providing only admittance and a glass (and attracting separate booking fee and credit card fees), which compares a bit unfavourably with events such as Beervana, Pacific Beer Expo or the previously mentioned Marchfest. If you had to get the bus back to Wellington then you missed out on a fair bit of the day as well. Also there was some speculation as to how much fun it would be if the weather had crapped out as it was threatening to do, such are the risks as well as joys of an outdoor do I guess. Basically though the outcome was every single person seemed to have a really good time (those that knew to bring warm coats and portable chairs with glass holders being especially content), with large quantities of humour, friendliness and interesting beer being shared.

The Aftermath

One of the advantages of Brewday is it’s a great excuse to have to stay in Martinborough. Though there are distinctly refined high-end dining and drinking options for afterwards, none of them had a mechanical bull (and were somewhat surprised to be asked) so it was off to the Pukemanu Tavern….

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Getting a ride at The Puke

 Greater Wellington Brewday will be held again in March 2014. Keep track of details on their Twitter and/or Facebook (which also has better photos of 2013’s event)

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BEER HAIKU #39 Garage Project Rye Chai IPA

This offering on the new release Tuesday schedule was from Garage Project (you know who they are…).I personally have never been one for the spicyness of chai, but I will drink an English breakfast or a milky Samoa style tea with heaps of milk and sugar and a slice of bread and jam. But as for the chai…well, it’s a bit much for me. I just see the word clove and a cavity opens up between my nose and brain to diffuse the aroma of the spice before I really register what it is. But there are millions of chai lovers out there. In this brew, the tea and chai spices reportedly included cardamom, cinnamon and clove (you can keep the cinnamon too!). At the height of the now famous Wellington summer of 2013, this was a tip of the hat to a beverage that would have the jesuit swap his dusty robes, for his pith helmet , cane, and a pair of canvas puttees!

 Garage Project Rye Chai IPA 7.5%

High summer, high tea

Puts the rye in chaiPA

Indian fusion

Food match: ham salad with thousand dressing; pumpkin pie

This is the type of beer you have when you accidentally pour your beer into a glass containing chai.

For a detailed description of the rye Chai IPA check out: THIS By Dylan.

hai·ku (hk)

n. pl. haiku also hai·kus

1. A Japanese lyric verse form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.

2. A poem written in this form.

from Found in Translation (Click)

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BEER HAIKU #38 Coronado Old Blighty ESB

Well, I got this email see…at 7.25pm, no header, no footer, no note, just a haiku, a food match and a random note about channelling an English writer. No instructions. I’d spent the late afternoon standing in a muddy rain sodden field at my kid’s sports practice. Twenty kilometres away, underground in the warmer climes of the Hashigo Zake cult beer bar, the Thirsties gathered talking about important things and warming their little ESBs. I read their haiku and post it now on their behalf…

Coronado Old Blighty ESB

ABV 5.2%

Day after the flood
Fleeting, tangy, feijoa
Eye of the monsoon

Food match: sharp cheddar, feijoa?

It’s the kind of beer you drink when: You’re channelling Graham Greene in San Diego

Portrait of Graham Greene by Margaret Woods

Note: To get an e-mail message whenever the Thirstyboys post a new blog please click follow at the bottom right of the page.

hai·ku (hk)

n. pl. haiku also hai·kus

1. A Japanese lyric verse form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.

2. A poem written in this form.

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BEER HAIKU #37 GREEN FLASH PALATE WRECKER

Last Tuesday the Hashigo Zake Tuesday new release was from the much-admired Green Flash in San Diego. Their West Coast IPA is a regular favorite of pretty much every animal with both  functioning taste buds and a discerning frame of mind. Actually everything that has made it out of their stable over to God’s Own has been outstanding so far, so some excitement was warranted when a deceptively normal looking liquid was served into ominously small glasses for some members of the  ThirstyBoys and the Ladies Auxiliary.

Green Flash Palate Wrecker

(Imperial IPA, ABV 9.5%)

Bitter citrus pine

needles pierce all our palates

Try and session this

GFPW

Green Flash promotional poster from http://www.greenflashbrew.com/

We didn’t really know much about it but apparently it’s been measured at 149 IBU’s as a result of having six pounds of hops per barrel. Which explains a thing or two… We’d especially enjoy it in Spring time in the forest and food matches were 1) pork pie 2) an intense ploughman’s 3) piccalilli.

hai·ku (hk)

n. pl. haiku also hai·kus

1. A Japanese lyric verse form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.

2. A poem written in this form.

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