Saturday, December 3, 2011

CT Column 28/09/2011: Tower brewery empty

HERE in New Zealand there is precious little of our brewing history left to see.
New Zealand was once littered with breweries many of them grand and ornate. Before rail and road networks made distribution of beer easy every town and many villages had their own brewery.
In Dunedin the Lion Nathan owned Speights Brewery still operates in an impressive pre World War One building. In Mangatainoka a 1930’s tower brewery sits empty and somewhat forlornly over the modern Tui production brewery. In Wellington the grand old Staples Beehive Brewery can still be visited, however these days it sells a range of beers alongside the veges, baked beans and bacon trading as Thorndon New World, it was once the main regional brewery for Wellington producing the fondly remembered Red Band Beer.
The situation is rather different in England where many historic breweries are not only still there to be seen but are still actively brewing beer and in some cases they still use equipment that dates back 100 or more years. The Hook Norton Brewery in the village of Hook Norton, Oxfordshire is a classic example. Late Victorian breweries like Hook Norton are often known as Tower breweries because they were built high using gravity instead of pumps to transport beer around the brew plant. The Hook Norton beers are available in New Zealand and represent a slice of traditional English brewing. Old Hooky is a 4.6%abv best bitter combining rich complex caramel and toffee accented malt with a fruity fermentation note and a hint of earthy hop flavour. Flagship is a classic English IPA combining a pale nutty malt character and a vibrant zesty English hop character. My third pick from the range is the roasty fruity Double Stout that combines flavours of espresso, chocolate and toast with a tangy stone fruit character. Cheers

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