Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CT Column 01/02/2012 : Ales by Dale

THE rise of contract brewing has resulted in the democratisation of New Zealand’s brewing scene. By that I mean that home brewers from all walks of life have been able to enter the beer market. Once it was only those with the drive, means and blind determination to enter the precarious world of small business that could produce beer for sale. When once one required the capital to set up a brewery and operate a business now all a home brewer needs is enough money to fund each batch of beer and a willing brewery to produce it. One of these new contract brewers is Nelson based Dale Holland. Dale is an IT systems specialist by trade but in the late 90’s he was bitten by the home brewing bug. After brewing some mixed results he gave up the hobby to concentrate on his career. Then in 2009 with the renaissance of craft brewing in full swing Dale decided to have another go at home brewing. Impressively just a year later Dale took out the Champion Beer award at the SOBA National Homebrew Competition with an original take on the Belgian Pale Ale style. Dale’s Belgian Pale Ale creatively blended an aromatic New Zealand hop character with the spicy yeast profile of a Belgian yeast. Dale’s prize was to have the beer commercially produced by Nelson’s Sprig and Fern brewery. Encouraged by the public reaction Dale enlisted Westport’s West Coast Brewery to produce his beers and entered the beer business. Dales Brewing Co launched at the end of last year with his flagship Belgian Pale Ale and an American Amber Ale. The Belgian Pale Ale blends zesty passionfruit and citrus from Motueka hops and clove and bubblegum notes from the Belgian yeast. The result is a highly drinkable complex Belgian/New Zealand hybrid. Dales American Amber combines three different American hop varieties Amarillo, Cascade and Columbus, with a clean neutral American ale yeast and a range of European malts. The resulting beer offers up aromas of grapefruit, apricot, tinned peach and resiny pine before displaying a rich rounded caramel and toffee malt character in the mouth and a lingering firm bitter finish. Both beers pull off the trick of being complex and at the same time sessionable being designed for afternoons in the pub with friends, unlike some of the more extreme ‘rock star’ beers that are appearing from other contract brewers. The first batch of each beer has already sold out in keg form but bottles have only just been released and should be popping up around town. Cheers!

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