Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 15, 2012

St Patrick's Day... New Release Tuesday... Emerson's Clean Sweep... The WiFi... Citra-fest... Growler Howler 3 - The Explanation... Returning Friends... And Finally...

St Patrick's Day

We like nothing better than helping expats of various countries celebrate cultural or sporting dates of significance from their home country, especially when those events go more or less un-observed by the rest of the community. But when celebrations of a milestone such as St Patrick's Day have obviously jumped the shark, forgive us for not feeling the love.

We have as much fondness for Ireland and its people as a passport-carrying citizen can but we hereby declare ourselves a haven from St Patrick's Day shenanigans. Anyone wanting a quality stout on Saturday is welcome to come and sample from New Zealand's best range of Imperial Stouts, but it won't include Guinness, we won't be putting up green bunting and we won't be playing the Riverdance soundtrack. We also promise that you won't be tripping over comatose bodies, trying to talk over the top of a bad rendition of Whisky in the Jar or bumping into fake leprechauns in felt hats. In fact, as depicted, Galbraith's put it quite well last year.

New Release Tuesday

Next week we have a double header. Firstly there's Brother Levonian Saison. We acquired a couple of kegs of this beer before finding out the back-story, which we now have thanks to the Interwebbing. It seems Dave Levonian was a popular San Diego home brewer and after his premature death both Ballast Point and Port Brewing have been brewing Saisons in his honour and to raise money for his daughter's college fund. So it's beer with a cause, albeit a cause particular to a different community from ours.

We'll make a second foray into our stocks of Ballast Point seasonals and bring out Navigator Dopplebock. In this era of aggressively hopped beers, the crowd-pleasing style of dopplebock seems to suffer a little. We expect this beer to help bring malt back into vogue.

Both will come on tap at 5pm on Tuesday.

Emerson's Clean Sweep

For years we've heard whispers that in addition to their year-round beers and their monthly Brewer's Reserve releases, Emerson's occasionally brew other, more experimental beers. Maybe the rumours are true because a couple of kegs just showed up on our doorstep with very little fanfare and none of the usual notes on the Emerson's website or facebook page.

Careful study of our inbox tell us that these kegs are Clean Sweep, a beer apparently brewed when Emerson's staff came back from holiday at the start of the year and needed a yeast starter for the rest of their brewing programme. They also took this starter beer as a chance to test various techniques such as wort hopping, dry hopping, using a hopback and keg conditioning. And large volumes of NZ Cascade hops were sacrificed in the name of science.

The beer's name is both a reference to the fact that it was a new year brew and a homage to world champion rowers Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.

Being keg conditioned it has come with advice and warnings from the brewery. We're under instructions to vent the kegs of CO2 before serving, but if this doesn't work serving Clean Sweep could be a battle. But it will be in the name of science.

Also look out some time soon for a re-brew of last year's Bird-Dog. As with Clean Sweep Emerson's have put their new hop-back to use. They've also beefed up the hops using NZ Cascade, NZ Pacific Gem, NZ Hallertau, US Simcoe, US Citra. Yes, Citra - the hop of the moment. See below!

The Wifi

We finally cut over to our shiny new internet-over-fibre connection last Friday. Since then the music hasn't cut out once and we've had anecdotal reports of significantly improved performance and reliability when surfing the web. We've also upgraded our wireless router and got rid of the cordless phone that jammed the WiFi signal!

While our previous broadband supplier will go un-named in case our disdain for them spills over into something libellous, we can reveal who our new suppliers are. Our physical connection (i.e. the fibre) is courtesy of CityLink and our new ISP is Modica. The latter are so confident about their service that they insist that we tell the world about them.


According to Wikipedia (which, like, is infallible) Citra is "a dual-purpose hop released in 2007 by the Hop Breeding Company. It is a cross of Hallertauer Mittelfruh, U.S. Tettnanger, East Kent Golding, Bavarian, Brewers Gold, and other unknown hops. Citra has a citrus aroma and flavor, with a heavy aroma of tropical fruits (guava, mango, tropical fruit). It is typically used as an aroma hop, but due to its high alpha % and low cohumulone content, it makes an excellent bittering hop as well. Registered Brand HBC 394 cv."

Citra is in vogue the moment, with Liberty's C!tra (an Imperial IPA hopped predominantly with citra) voted the Beer of 2011 by our customers, and demand for that same beer way ahead of supply at the moment. So news of a new batch of C!tra deserves to be celebrated.

Now bottles of this new batch hit our shelves today and should be reaching the shelves of a few selected supermarkets in the coming days. We've also received a single 20L keg from the same batch. And we happen to have kegs of Nøgne Ø's Citra Single Hop IPA and Mikkeller's Citra Single Hop IPA. Meanwhile a batch of Liberty's West Coast Blonde Citra is fermenting away in New Plymouth.

So in anticipation of the arrival of this last beer we're planning Citra-fest for Friday March 30. We'll put all four of these Citra-hopped beers on tap at once, so hop-heads and beer geeks can get their fix while enjoying a masterclass in the constructive use of brewing's most fashionable hop.

But be warned, we have only a single small keg of two of these beers.

Growler Howler 3 - The Explanation

Some time ago we were alerted to the attempt by Hancocks to trademark the term "Growler". Like the Society of Beer Advocates (SOBA), we were appalled by this as it is a term that Hancocks did not invent, but have simply borrowed, along with many other New Zealanders, from overseas.

Now in a dialogue with SOBA, Hancocks have tried to justify their position and it contains some jaw-dropping assertions and a staggering sense of importance. Apparently they were so appalled that DB trademarked Radler that they want to protect Growler by bagsing it for themselves. And if and when they win this trademark they will set themselves up as arbiters of who may use the word. The difference, according to Joe Jakicevich, the owner of Hancocks, is that Hancocks are a New Zealand family-owned institution and DB are a Dutch/Japanese controlled corporation. So Hancocks' intentions are pure and they can and need to be trusted.

Yes there really is no better way to show how much more moral you are than someone else than shamelessly copying them.

Fortunately the application is still in the "Under Examination" state, meaning that IPONZ haven't been fooled yet. If that changes to "Accepted", then someone is going to have to pony up $300 and oppose it.

In the meantime, feel free to offer constructive opinions to the discussion at the page on SOBA's website mentioned above.

Returning Friends

Look out for:
  • Yeastie Boys PKB
  • Green Flash 30th Street Pale Ale
  • Garage Project Trip Hop
  • Mikkeller Texas Ranger
  • Liberty C!tra Imperial IPA in bottles
  • and tomorrow (Friday), perhaps, this bloke:

And Finally...

Check out what was being bottled today:


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