1st day of the new year, while looking forward to more exciting beers in the coming months...here's a list by Stu Mckinlay, the brew master for Yeastie Boys about his memorable beer/beer related views:-
written by Stu( with most photos provided too)
Adnams Jack Brand Dry-hopped lager
I think of New Zealand as being the worldwide home of new world hoppy lagers but Adnams galaxy dry-hopped lager is undoubtedly one of the best I’ve ever tried. Where our down under versions tend to be IPA–inspired versions of pilsners, this smooth beer was more like an American Pale Ale influenced version of a Dortmunder Export. Smooth, layered, slightly minerally with a delightful fruity undertone that never dominated. Everything in its place. It helped make it memorable in that I managed to drink plenty of it in the shadow of the brewery, in the delightful pubs of Southwold.
And then there were their magnificent Adnams cask ales… but that’s another story!
Mike Neilson, the owner/founder and head brewer at Panhead Brewery, was a great customer of mine when I owned a homebrew supply business a few years back. He always dropped off a few homebrews when he picked up his brewing supplies and I got to drink some truly spectacular beers in that time. Mike went on to brew for New Zealand craft beer pioneers – Tuatara Brewery – before launching his own brewery in mid-2013.
Earlier 2014, I had a great afternoon talking business with a friend in the spring sun. We finished with a Panhead Supercharger and it was as fine a commercial beer as I’d tasted from Mike. It reminded me of that je nais se quois he possessed as a homebrewer and, added to the fact that I was in the sun with a good friend, it was a perfect beer drinking moment.And this photo of Mike is funny (he doesn’t usually have a moustache).
Moa Sour Blanc
Moa get a hard time in New Zealand, and much of it deservedly so, for a marketing angle that often crosses the line between promoting their beer and simple shock value humour. I’m not a fan of their public persona but I’m a massive fan of their head brewer Dave Nicholls. A former brewer of industrial lagers, all over the world, Dave is now producing some of the most complex and interesting beers in the southern hemisphere… from hoppy pale ales, through imperial stouts, to barrel-aged and sour beers.
At Australia’s infamous Great Australasian Beer SpecTapular, we had a stand next to Moa and that meant I had the pleasure of not having to leave our corner of the room to get my hands on one of the very best beers (of about 200 in the venue). A delicate witbier base is given a complex lift with funky barnyard notes and a lovely sour edge. I could drink this one by the gallon.
Regulars at Taps Beer Bar, Jalan Nagasari, may have noticed some sticky fingerprints on the windows in mid-July. They were from my three excited sons pointing out their beer in the window. It was great to be able to visit the bar, having sent beer there for a year or so.
It’s always very exciting to visit the wild frontiers of beer, possibly even more so than the established historical places that inspired us, and Taps Beer Bar is the wild west of South East Asian craft beer. These places are home to the most enthusiastic beer lovers and never have much in the way of rules to shape them. The first venues to hit the ground get to set the rules… and the team at Taps have done a wonderful job at this. I can’t wait to return and drink beer with the locals. Yaaaaaaaaaaammmm Seng!
Townshend Old House ESB
Sometimes a family trip just happens to intersect with one of the things on my beer bucket list. This year we had one of those occasions, when we attended a 90th birthday in Upper Moutere (an off-the-beaten-track spot in New Zealand’s south island). This area is home to my favourite New Zealand brewery – Townshend Brewery – and is the location of The Moutere Inn, one of New Zealand’s iconic craft beer pubs.
Here I managed to get a pint of Townshend’s flagship ale – Old House ESB – within walking distance of the brewery. It was as good a pint as I got my hands on all year and was made all the more pleasurable by the fact that I was able to introduce some extended family members to it.
A fine night, with great beer in an excellent pub, celebrating something rare and special with family. What more can we ask for?
Adnams & Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta
Right back at the start of this list I mentioned drinking Adnams beer in their hometown of Southwold, Suffolk. We were in town to brew a real ale version of our best selling beer Gunnamatta, at Adnams, for the Wetherspoons’ International Real Ale Festival. We came and went thinking we’d never get a chance to try the final product but Adnams were kind enough to send a firkin to New Zealand with one of their scheduled exports.
Rather than drink it all in our own lounge, which was a tempting proposition, we organised a party at the British High Commissioner’s residence and served the beer alongside several New Zealand keg beers that had also beer brewed for the Wetherspoons international festival in recent years. It was a great gathering of some of the nicest people in the New Zealand beer scene. And the beer tasted fantastic! In fact, all of the beers tasted so good that the High Commissioner extended opening hours of her pop-up pub for an extra hour or so. A splendid evening.
Incidentally the High Commissioner – Vicki Treadell – has finished her post here and is now the British High Commissioner to Malaysia. You may spot her in Taps Beer Bar from time to time over the next few years…
NEXT UP--2014 memorable beer list--by Ray Chia(S'pore)