Tag Archives: porter

BeertripNZ: Final Days

When last we left our friends they had conquered the mighty Belgian Beer Café beast and escaped the horde of Dunedin. Now, our trusty subjects started afresh in Christchurch, fully aware of the challenges that would await…

Given our big bottle buy-up, we had plenty of fine beer waiting for us when we got back to CHCH. Wanting to start right away, we opted for something nice, light, and possibly suited to breakfast. Invercargill Brewery’s Boysenbeery fitted the bill perfectly, despite being a fruit beer (I kid!). With a wheat base, this one brought the usual banana character you’d expect, with a touch of zesty, citrusy hops (that NZ rules at) to compliment a massive addition of boysenberry concentrate (added during fermentation). I have said again and again that fruit beers aren’t my thing, but after this brilliant drop, and Jamieson’s latest batch of Raspberry Ale, I may have to start adjusting my prejudices. The Boysenbeery is not only a great pun but a very nice way to start a beery day, or possibly finish one, if dessert is on the cards. We gave a sample to a PMD fan and got the thumbs-up, so it seems this might be a great entry beer for all you beer-lovers trying to get your non-beery friends on to the yeastie stuff.

With all the NZ beers around, I was surprised to find this specimen in a local supermarket of all places. It seems the local supermarkets DO have their finger on the beer-lover’s pulse in CHCH, namely the New World chain. This little beauty was NZ$7, which works out to about AU$2.50 or something similarly cheap in real dollars. I was shocked! Dogfish Head Brewing Co is such a highly lauded brewery that I had to grab a bottle, and I was happy that I did.

The beer itself is an Imperial IPA, clocking in at 9% abv, 9o IBU and continually hopped for 90 minutes of the boil, hence the name, 90 Minute IPA.  More than enough hops to satisfy my hop-loving palette, but backed up with enough caramel malt and warming alcohol, this really went down well. The hopping process left a far greater array of hop flavours and aromas than just the usual bittering agent it is so-often mistaken for – citrus, pine, grass, and hints of tropical fruits. Worth the hype.

Beer and meats - what more does a guy need?

A nice selection of locals.

From our own beer tasting to a guided, illustrated and very informative tasting at Pomeroy’s with Craig, the man behind BeerNZ distribution. He is tasked with getting the beer from over 20 of NZ’s craft breweries to the assorted bars, pubs, bottle shops and folks such as myself. We discussed and quaffed a couple of the big names like Epic and 8Wired, and a few from the smaller breweries I’d seen or heard about but didn’t have access to on my travels. In short they were all very nice, as was to be expected, but the 8 Wired Big Smoke did stand out for me. Worth checking out.

Kaimai Brewing Co. is another of the contract brewing companies that are quite popular in NZ (I’ll leave the contract brewing controversy for another time) but what makes these guys different is that a) Brewer Andrew Larson actually brews the beer himself at either Harrington’s or Croucher Breweries and b) All their beers are made with 30-40% rye, a very unique twist. I can’t say I was a fan of the Porter’s Rye Ale, but it was definitely interesting. As far as porters go I found it kind of weak, with only vague hints of vanilla and cocoa above the basic roasted malt flavour.

iStout. You cannot expect to get away with a name like that without SOME sort of mockery.

I could not resist buying the 8Wired iStout as soon as I saw it, for SO many reasons. Firstly, the name is just so clichéd and wonderful, and deserved a silly photo. But having fallen in love with the 8Wired range, and having heard so many good things about it, I couldn’t not give it a burl! As touted, this did become one of the stand-out beers of the trip. At a modest 10.5% abv and boasting one of my favourite varieties of hops – Willamette – I can safely say this was always going to please me, but it was the depth and quality that backed it all up and made it one of my favourite stouts. The perfect combination of coffee, raisins, and molasses flavours, a noticeable level of alcohol with a mouthfeel both syrupy and milky rendered this a dream to drink.

Another shopping trip yielded more beers for the tasting and the Spruce Beer was a nice find. Similar to the Captain Cooker Manuka Beer, this includes the noticeable addition of tea tree and a warming ginger/spicy character. The folks down at RateBeer don’t seem to like this one, but I thought it was great.

We couldn’t visit any city with a restaurant named ‘Meat Unlimited’ without trying it out, so stopped in to see what they had to offer. The slim beer list was made-up-for by the best 450 gram steak I’ve ever had, so I can see myself making a point of coming here when next I get the chance.

Having been told about The Twisted Hops’ Nokabollokov being ready just in time to try before our departure, Tully and I bookmarked it in our minds and made damn sure we went back for a tasting. Such a brilliant name was matched with quite a good Imperial Russian Stout, but I was told it had not lived up to their expectations. The cold Christchurch weather had halted the yeast and meant that the stout was neither as strong or mature as it was meant to be. That said, it was still lovely. I get a little teary when I think that I’ll never see the Nokabollokov or The Twisted Hop’s IPA in Australia, for they were both probably in my top 10 NZ beers list.

The Dux de Lux was one of the bars that everybody had raved about when I mentioned I was going to tour the south island. I had been told all my troubles would be solved and all my dreams would come true, right in the very bar. We arrived on a Friday night, at about 10:30, tried a beer, ordered some dessert, and were then told they were closing. I wasn’t sure what was wrong. The beer wasn’t bad, the bar looked pretty swish (technical term), but the place was empty, save for us. We left, having only tried a couple of Dux beers during the trip, and having found nothing to back up the raving claims about the place.

The cake was good though...

Having been evicted from our last port of call, we headed home. Having to get up at 5 the next morning to catch our flight home, one might think it was straight to bed. Apparently not. Beers and cocktails were consumed, justified by the idea that having to wake up hungover in the next few hours would make us feel worse than navigating customs while heavily intoxicated. I still debate that.

Now back in AUS with my friends, family, local pubs and beer, I do really miss NZ and hope to do a north island trip over summer. I suppose this is the travel bug you hear about.

Standout Breweries: 8Wired, Wigram, Epic, The Twisted Hop, Harrington’s

Standout Bars: The Twisted Hop, Albar, Bar Beleza (the music was rad)

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Big Beer Saturday ’10 (Part 1: Breakfast)

With the AIBAs and the Beer & Brewer expo in town, Melbourne was a buzzing beery place this weekend, and everybody with a passion for beer was making an appearance.

First up was the Hair Of The Dog Breakfast – a seven-course breakfast matched with eight craft beers. Sound impressive? It was, and I am so disappointed I couldn’t have pointed more people towards it. Information was tight while the event was being organised, and all I had to go on was that there would be beer, breakfast, and it was $20 entry. A quick tweet to the hosts (Beermen.tv and Beer Deluxe) received the message that the per-head charge would cover everything, but as I didn’t know what ‘everything’ was, I let it be. So glad I did, I arrived a little after 10AM to find the most amazing surprise: big long tables lined with 100 grinning beer-lovers, and a menu of eight beers each to match a succession of amazing breakfast dishes.

I’ll list the beers below in no particular order:

Bridge Road Hefe

Sure beats the ‘infected’ Celtic Red I had from them a few weeks ago. Always a wheat beer fan, this one went down quickly.

Mountain Goat Steam Ale

Not served with any particular course but full of flavour and very refreshing. Will be a summer regular. Surprisingly great for Mountain Goat (I’ve had a LOT of Goat in the past and this one shocked me).

Red Hill Wheat Beer

So nice that my girlfriend would not rest until she had bought a mixed sixer from these guys. We are yet to break into the sixer, as if it ought to be saved for a special occasion.

Bright Brewery Razor Witbier

Very drinkable and made with local wheat and hops.

Murray’s Whale Ale

Balanced, easy-drinking. May have to delve a little deeper into this brewery soon. Their porter is nice too.

White Rabbit Dark Ale

Aways a classic. Have tried the White Ale they’ve just brought out (a few times now) and the Dark Ale still reigns supreme.

I’m interested to see how the White ale does through summer, as I think that’s when it will shine.

Stone & Wood Stone Beer

Made by my girlfriend’s sister’s boss using heated stones. How whack is that!? And it’s a really nice beer!

Holgate Temptress Porter

A nice porter done by a brewery who has only been able to impress me with their dark beers.

Tuatara Porter

Not technically on the breakfast menu, but I’ve loved everything I’ve tasted from these guys.

The food itself was very nice, ranging from crepes to beans, from sausages-on-toast to waffles, and was all top nosh. It was the perfect amount of food to leave you feeling like you’ve just indulged in christmas dinner, and I really regret not dragging along any of my friends. The only flaw I could find was that the food did land on my plate a little cold (though I’ve never fed a hundred drunkards before, so I can’t really talk).

I want to thank everyone that organised this, as it was clearly an epic feat, and I really hope it is the first of many. Well done!

I was planning on listing every beer from Saturday in this post, but at last count it exceeded 40 different beers, so I’ll stick with breakfast for now and look over my notes for the best of the rest.

Back soon,


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Murray’s Porter

As I am out and about, I’ll keep this one brief.
Very big on flavour with (in contrast) very little nose.
Smooth, caramel flavour; nice late bitterness, light on carbonation and great mouthfeel.


Murray's Porter

Highly recommended.

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