Saturday, December 3, 2011

CT Column 23/11/2011: New Blood

23/11/2011 11:14:00 a.m.

EARLIER this month Wellington hosted a Belgian brewer now based in NZ. Dave De Vylder from East Flanders in Belgium trained as an electrical engineer and served in the army before retraining as a brewer. He met and married Kiwi teacher Susan Kiener who was doing her OE in Europe. The couple lived in Switzerland until an opportunity presented itself that meant they could move to NZ.
Dave Gillies had been running Wanaka Beer Works single-handedly producing three tasty lagers for many years. He had helped to create the New Zealand Pilsner style when he launched Brewski, a pilsner beer that was packed with NZ hop varieties. Brewski went on to become the Champion beer of NZ in the year 2000, inspiring many of the other NZ hopped pilsners that have followed since. The brewery was put on the market, and the De Vylders jumped at the opportunity.
The De Vylders took over in July. The core range of Brewski, Cardrona Gold and Tall Black will be continued while Dave has drawn on his Belgian and Swiss brewing background to create a range of seasonal brews.
In Wellington earlier this month he launched the spring seasonals with a tasting. My pick of the bunch was Miere. Described as a Golden Honey Dubbel Miere is a strong golden ale that has had an addition of Lake Hawea manuka and clover honey added. The result is a full bodied golden ale with a hint of spicy honey on the nose , a hint of fruity hop and floral honey in the mouth and a crisp refreshing finish. Kauri is described as an Old Flemish Dark with an infusion of kauri wood flavour. The result is a steely dry dark ale with a hint of tannic woodiness and a long roasty finish. Finally Miner Galore is described as being a Swiss style Doppel Bock with Rosehip. The resulting beer was fruity and mellow with some lovely rich malt, bright hops and a hint floral rosebud. All three beers are interesting and although a little surprising for those of us who expected the Belgian brewer to produce some big Belgian style beers. The next three seasonals are due soon and will revolve around the wheat beer theme with spices and fruit coming into the equation! Cheers

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