Saturday, June 21, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
“Tonic Pale Ales can only be described as a Victorian fad. These were light beer heavily hopped and drunk young. Drinkers were assured that the bitter flavour was doing them good.”
This sounded like a concept that could mix things up a little and also use up some bits and pieces that have been lying around. So I decided to brew a very contemporary version.
So today I am mashing a mix of weyerman pils and Golden Promise pale ale malt to produce a beer that will be in the vicinity of 1050 and am then going to aggressively hop it with NZ Nelson Sauvin and American Willamette hops. It should keep the hop heads happy!
The first came from the left over stocks of beer from the NZIBA, and came in the form of a new world hop charged Rogue Imperial Stout. It seems so American to present an 11% abv beer in a huge 750ml serve. I tried the beer during judging and it was impressive and very definitely wore its American hopping on its sleeve.
The second addition to the cellar has come in the form of a bottle of 2003
Of course putting beers into the cellar makes up the will power part of the process, however there is also the very enjoyable ritual of pulling out a bottle when the time seems right. Recently I pulled one of my precious few bottles of the first ever all grain batch of Merchant of the Devil. Brewed in January 2006 I was playing with ‘spiking’ big beers with
Monday, June 9, 2008
The frosts are starting, I can see my breath on brew mornings, it’s my favourite time of the year. As usual I will be celebrating winter with an ales festival. Alongside strong bitters, porters, old ales and Stouts (and probably the odd pale ale to keep the masses happy) I will be serving up some beef & ale pie, goat curry, a vego tagine and a cheese or two. Anyone who is in the area on the 19 of July is welcome along.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
First up I decided to hunt out an English cider that I was relatively sure would be Sh#t! After all I was looking to cover the range of variation in the cider world. No I won’t be reviewing Carling Black Label next week.
Symonds Scrumpy Jack 6%
Can, Pours a pale gold with a white head. Aroma features crisp apple with a hint of sulphur. On the palate there is a sweet start with a tart note an up the nose sulphur note a vinous character and an abrupt finish. Not very complex, cheap English cider..
Next I took a cider that pretty much represents the norm in New Zealand Cider, clean , white wine like and refreshing, just not very interesting.
Brightstone Classic 5%
Super pale, almost soda water coloured, with a wispy disappearing head. Aroma features a dominant white wine note, with crisp apple. On the palate there was loads of sweetness with a hint of apple fruit, a short finish. Decent quencher, classic NZ Style cider.
Steve Nally from Invercargill is a one man campaign for cider (as well a being an enthusiastic proponent of hugs). Steve has done probably more that anyone else in this country to spread the word for cider amongst the beer community, his cider is of the
Pours a light gold with a thin white head. Aroma features apple fruit, a minerally note, and a vinous character. On the palate there is medium sweet apple fruit, a mineral note and a clean quick finish. Decent NZ style cider.
And on to the decent English ciders all three are awesome, I wish I had a cask of each of them so I could put them on draft.
Westons Stowford Press Medium Dry 4.5%
Sheppys Dabinett 7.2%
Pours a mid gold with a disappearing lace. Aroma features applewood, a touch of tannic plastic, a warm character. On the palate there is rich sweet apple, warm alcohol, loads of woody tannin leading to a medium dry finish. The evident alcohol would make this a good winter warmer.
Sheppys Kingston Black 7.2%
Pours a mid gold with a disappearing head. Aroma features a complex blend of crisp apple, oaky tannin, and a touch of wild ferment. On the palate crisp apple , tannin and a wild astringent note lead to a solid sour finish. Fantastic cider, dangerously drinkable.The French tend to halt their fermentations early leaving a full bodied sweet apple character and a lower abv. Like the English they use cider apples and often wild ferment. This particular cider is a revelation particularly with funky washed rind cheese.
Le Pere Jules Brut 5%
Pours a murky rustic gold with a raging carbonation driven head which abruptly collapses 1/2 way through drinking. Aroma features a complex blend of tannic wood, hint of plastic, wild ferment notes and a rich apple fruit character. On the palate there is sweet juicy red ripe apple fruit, loads of oaky tannin, a spicy wild note and a tart long finish. Awesome French cider.
Three Rivers cider from the Cider House in the Wairapapa produce some outstanding cider. I wish I could get a cask of the spritzed it really is fantastic.
Three Rivers Spritzed 7%abv
Pours a mid gold with a frothy white head. Aroma features spicy marzipan, red apple. caramel, and a hint of tannic woodyness. On the palate there is a full bodied medium sweet apple character followed a hint of tannin, apple fruit, and a smooth lasting finish. Fantastic cider.
Three Rivers Still 6.7%abv
Pours a mid gold with no head. Aroma features fresh apple, and a touch of tannin. The palate is dry and sour right from the start a hint of apple wood develops leading to a long sour finish. One for the acid heads!.
Last year I was in the Nelson region while judging at the NZIBA, after the work had finished we got out of town and visited some breweries around the place. The most interesting was the farmhouse operation called Townshends. Not only does Martin Townshend brew a range of real ales but he also makes a traditional wild ferment cider each year. I returned this year and brought back some beers and some cider, rest assured his brewery will be the subject of a piece I’m currently writing. This years vintage was not the ‘brett basket’ that last years was, and was still rather than the aggressive carbonation of last years. While it wasn’t as complex as last years it was a lot more drinkable, and stood head and shoulders above the Three River Still Cider.
Townshend Rosedale Cider 2008 7%abv
Pours a light hazy gold with no head. Aroma features caramel, cloves, a hint of cinnamon and bubblegum, curiously like a wheat beer. On the palate the spicy phenolic character continues with a hint of sweet red apple and a resounding short tart finish which begged another sip. Drinkable and complex.