Friday, May 2, 2008

The Session- Beer Evangelism

The start of my beer evangelism can be traced back to the winter of 1998, I was in Dunedin train station waiting for the Taieri Gorge Tourist Railway to depart. I was in the south on a family holiday, the next time I would visit would be in the quest of beer. I took the train with my mother who is always keen for a beer or two. We scanned the menu to make our selection, up until then the drinking on our trip had been dominated by the ubiquitous CD and Speights. The name Emerson’s immediately took our fancy as it shared its name with the street where my family home is located. One sip and my experience of beer changed utterly. Unlike the sweet unchallenging New Zealand Draughts I was used to this beer had a strong malty presence, a marmity yeastyness and definite roasty finish, in other words it had character. Upon returning home I started hunting out more beers like this one, first ones from the big two like Monteiths Black, Guinness and Speights Old Dark, but soon beers from smaller breweries like Founders Long Black, Emerson’s Oatmeal Stout and pretty much anything the supermarket or off license had that was dark and rich.

It wasn’t until I stumbled across a copy of Michael Jackson’s 1988 New World Guide to Beer that I started to hunt out and learn about styles of beer that weren’t dark. At the same time I was starting to homebrew and like fact that music never sounds the same after you have worked in a music studio, so to my understanding of what I was tasting in beer developed changed.

My taste in beer developed again dramatically in 2001 when I tasted my first pint of real ale at Galbraith’s in Auckland. This was beer at its most drinkable, glorious peak, extremely complex, and yet utterly sessionable, my fate was sealed.

3 comments:

PivnĂ­ Filosof said...

Monteiths Black!!! WOW!!!! You've brought me some great memories. In early 1996 I spent one month travelling around NZ aboard a Kiwi Experience bus. It was the best holiday of my life, I think.
And Monteiths Black, that was pretty much everywhere on the South Island, was my favourite beer of that trip.
I wasn't as beer literate as I am now, but I know I liked it a lot, I drank it a lot. Would I like it today? Good question, but I would sure love to have a pint of it again, just for good old days' sake.

Boak said...

Cheers for posting, Kieran - more train experiences!

yalnikim said...

Very nice. I always quite liked a different beer and hunted a few out across Europe in 1998. When I returned, I spent a year or grooming myself on Bookbinder before being bowled over by 'Forty Winks' (after a marvellous dinner at The Loft in Featherston). It was a defining moment in my passion for beer (and probably was for TheGrandMaster off ratebeer too, as he was dining with me and drinking the same).