A few mates and I joined hundreds of fellow beer drinkers at the final evening session of Beervana 2015.
From their website: Beervana is a two day celebration of beer like no other. This August beer lovers from all over descend on Westpac Stadium to sample the latest offerings from breweries here in New Zealand, Australia and a few handpicked from around the world. Be enlightened with informative seminars on how to appreciate craft beer even more than you already do. Budding beer geeks get your notebooks ready to fill in flavour notes and discuss mouth feel with friends or possibly with the very person that brewed it.
There were hundreds of beers to try – IPAs, APAs, stouts, porters, ales, white beers, red beers, ciders. There was no way I was going to make any inroads into that! So rather than subject my palate to too broad a range of styles, I made the call to restrict myself to buying tasters (75ml serves) of only English-style ales, preferably hand-pulled. I drink India Pale Ales and American Pale Ales usually when I drink beer, so this was a chance for me to try something different.
Now, it didn’t work out totally that way, but I gave it a good crack! Here is a list of the brewers and their beers I tried:
Garage Project – Artful Dodger – English pale ale with UK hops Jester and Archer.
Garage Project – Los Lobos APA with Simco, Amarillo and Citra hops. Golden colour. Very good.
8 Wired Brewing – Hopwired Unchained – Brown ale, oak aged for two years with brettanomyces
Kereru Brewing Company– Old Red Oak – dark amber ale – handpull
Te Aro Brewing Co – Schoolmasters English Bitter – handpull
Renaissance Brewing – Eng vs NZ ESB – all English ingredients, floral hop aroma. Very good.
Renaissance Brewing – NZ vs Eng ESB – 100% NZ ingredients. Floral hops, bitter finish.
Yeastie Boys – His Majesty 2014 – triple stout porter.
North End Brewery Co – Old Island Burton Ale – old style of British ale, well hopped – handpull. Very Good.
North End Brewery Co – Rivage Brux – Sav Blanc barrel-aged farmhouse ale with Brett, dry-hopped with Wai-iti hops.
Townsend – Bodger My Badger – session ale with Riwaka hops – handpull
Emersons Brewery – Stagger Lee – brown ale with lots of hops and malt
Mac’s – Smokehouse – ale with cherrywood smoked malt, Sauvin and Moyueka hops (buy a Taster, get a free beard trim! And I did!)
Lakeman Brewing Co – Black Jack Stout – full bodied with roasted barley and raisins. Very good.
Lakeman Brewing Co – Lahar APA – grapefruit finish. Very good.
Most of the above beers were between 5 – 6.5% alc. Some favs were the Lola Lobos, Black Jack Stout, and Lahar APA beers, but the best in my opinion was the Old Island Burton from North End Brewery Co, brewed by Kieran Hazlett-Moore.
Interestingly, a lot of brewers were showcasing stronger ales aged in oak wine barrels for up to two years, (usually Pinot Noir barrels) which were infected with Brett. This must be A Thing. I thought this approach produced flavours that were metallic and thin, and not what I think beer should taste like (I tipped those glasses out without finishing them). But hey, I wouldn’t think of putting oysters in stout, but that works…
And while we were drinking, the TVs were all showing NZ thumping Australia in the second Bledisloe Test, so that helped the attendees general joie de vivre (photo via theguardian.com). I also ate some great food – especially the succulent roast beef served on a large Yorkshire Pud with a creamy horseradish sauce over – yum!
Even better, I finished the evening in a composed fashion, with money still in my pocket, and I woke with a clear head in the morning.
Craft Beer is Good For You.