Sunday, February 17, 2008

Strong Bitter Showdown- Southern Round

Beer enthusiasts in Wellington have a wide range of bottled and draught beer available to them from off licenses; the on license situation is less rosy. While the lions share of the credit goes to Regional Wines and Spirits, Rumbles and Island Bay New World both source and stock beers sometimes not seen anywhere else in the country. Every now and then I make a point of visiting Island Bay New World to see what’s on offer; invariably there is something I have never had before. New World is a major chain of supermarkets which allow a certain level of freedom to owner operators in regards to ranging. The Island Bay store is owned by Maurice Bennett, beer enthusiast and more notably toast artist (as seen in Billy Connolly’s ‘World Tour of NZ’).

I was in Island Bay World the other day and amongst other things I picked up a bottle of Shepherd Neame 1698 the strong bottle conditioned bitter from a brewer who I have criticised in the past. I decided to taste it off against Royal Oak the fruity malty strong bitter formerly from Eldridge Pope now brewed by Ohanlons.

Shepherd Neame 1698

6.5%abv

Dark Copper with a disappearing white head. The aroma features fruity citrus and berry fruit notes, a touch of caramel malt and minerally note. On the palate there is toffee malt, fruity and earthy hop, a peachy note, firm mouth feel, leading to a lasting bitter finish. Best Sheps beer I have ever had.

Ohanlons Royal Oak

5%abv

Dark Crimson with a pillowy enthusiastic white head. Aroma features rich toffee malt, complex fruit, strawberry, ripe plum, an over all effect like that of sniffing a roses chocolate box. On the palate there is chewy sweet malt, a profound fruit medley of strawberry, peaches and apricot leading to a firm bitter finish.

5 comments:

Martin said...

I'm noticing a lot of variation between branches of large chains here in NZ, which is a good thing. For example, Liquorland in Forest Hill has an excellent range of NZ and British beers, whereas the similarly-sized branch at Northcross has pretty much bugger-all other than the usual Macs and Monteiths.

I'm told that the New World at Victoria Park has a good selection, so that's where I'm planning to source the beers for a beer tasting at work in a couple of weeks time.

Jeremy H said...

Martin, I know a bit off topic but Liquorland New Market also has a fantastic selection...as does Don Johnson Wines (Manukau Rd, Royal Oak, Auckland) and I think I recently noticed some stock of Ohanlons Royal Oak as reviewed by Kieran (there brought back on topic)...

yalnikim said...

Royal Oak really floated my boat. Probably the best bottled English ale I drunk last year. Maybe the best I've had ever. Didn't mind the Brakspear Triple either...

Keep it up Kieran. I've not time for blogging these days but enjoying yours (and I'm brewing this Friday - yay!!! Probably my Ordinary, given the last one was all Munich malt and ended up blended, but maybe my American Stout).

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

it will be a stout for St Paddys on sunday.

Barry Hannah said...

Actually Liqourland Northcross has an ok selection. Thats where I go every couple of months for a fix of Emersons. There's also an offie on Jervious that has an extensive selection of Emersons. But I was in Wellington last week and anything I've seen pales in comparison to Regional W&S. Crikey what a place. You'ld think that with all that selection I'd be able to conjure up something other than a Rennaisance Porter eh Kieran? Ah well, still learning...
Stout for St Paddys sounds like a grand idea.