Monday, October 14, 2013

Brewers Collaboration Series. Townshend's and Liberty Brewing Co - Chatham's Rise

I love collaborations, whether they are fraught with tension and infighting for creative control or are a gentle melding of minds that lets idea bloom in a nurturing environment. I think its always a good idea to test your boundaries from time to time with a good ol' collaboration, like when I let my husband cook with me, its a testing time indeed.

Domestic tensions aside let us return to considering this beer collaboration. Chatham's rise is a freshly hopped ale with Chinook and Cascade. At 5.6% alcohol and 2.2 standard drinks it looks like it could be a nice pre dinner warmer. I'm not overwhelmed by aroma here. The beer is a little cold (my fault) and very flat. I may have fallen victim to buying old beer again. Where's a Best Before date when you need one!? Still I can appreciate the gorgeous colour it's a lovely intense orangey red that really catches the light.

Good looks aside though the beer is delicious. The gradual loss of carbonation hasn't hurt and there's plenty of interest even without effervescence. A very smooth malt base carries the hops, it starts off a little sweet and syrupy but instantly opens out into biscuity toffee goodness with fresh hop zing dancing along the top. The finish is moderately bitter with hints of that good piney freshness. Maybe a hint of herbaceousness from the fresh hops but it works very well with the overall composition of the beer. It just gets better and better as it warms up and is an easy brew to drink while waiting for dinner. A lovely hoppy ale.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Spruce Beer - Wigram Brewing Co

Classic label and classic bottle, this brew caught my eye about a month ago and its been shamefully sitting in my fridge for too long. Spruce beer sounds intriguing doesn't it. I know spruce is variety of conifer but I just learned fresh young spruce tips are a good source of vitamin. Captain Cook knew what he was on about when he had this brewed this up for the crew.

This beer seems to be spruceless, but it does have rimu and tea tree. I wonder how the local flora compares for Vitamin C content? Spruce beer pours a slightly hazy darkish amber. No head to really speak of and light carbonation. The aroma  is of spiced honey and homemade ginger beer. To be fair the expiry date on this bottle is 30th October 2013 so I'm only getting to appreciate it in the golden years of its lifespan.

The flavour is malty and spicy, peppercorn flavours waft up the back of my throat. Its a gentle spiciness that also has ginger flavours mingling with the malts. It has a nice clean finish which suits me well otherwise I think I'd find the ginger flavour a bit too much after a while. This beer tastes old fashioned, but in a good way. Its not like any other beer I've tried. Who knew trees made good beer? However I can't imagine Captain Cooks brew tasted as good as this. Probably took a bit of skill from Wigram to get everything just balanced right. I wonder if this is the last batch I'll see or if Wigram will brew it again? I'd certainly like to taste a fresher bottle!