New Zealand surely is paradise. I spent the last 2 weeks in Auckland making the most of my last few months as a non-parent, and generally trying as hard as I could to be irresponsible: considering that I am a role model to no-one... as yet.
So the fortnight kicked off a beauty at the Kumeu Festival. I had a reasonable hangover then, and I wrote a huge blog
The next few days were somewhat subdued. This was fine - I was still getting my head around how successful Kumeu was.
I had an afternoon out with NVIOUS on Tuesday (I think) and we went to the Galbraith Ale House
. Funnily, I bumped into none other than my newly acquired chum: Greig McGill there! This was great... oh how the beer geek talk would flow! I told NVIOUS (who hadn't been as of yet) to get some Bob Hudsons, this is the go to beer - always on form. I had a pint too. Well, unfortunately it was below average with a good dose of acetaldehyde as well as diacetyl on the nose and palate. This was a shame - but I suppose it's as to be expected with the unpredictable heat Auckland was getting. Oh Well. On to my fave Bitter and Twisted as Greig Assured me his Bellringers and Mr G's were both clean and drinking well. I got a couple of Pints. Well - disappointment awaited me here: solid unpleasant phenols on the nose and again with the acetaldehyde and diacetyl. I got a rosy complexion to the cheeks, as the hot alcohol made it's way through my capaliries. I couldn't finish the glass - a real shame.
Anyway we went down to C&B for some Monks - and this was nice. pretty sweet - but I hadn't drank it for so long, I was dying to have a taste. Still heaps of passionfruit on the nose with the other delicious hop flavours. Then a frantic drive west to meet up with Peglegs to drink some homebrew. TTL, Yakima Monster, NP Pils, NVIOUS Blonde and Pale Ale, Pegleg Pilsner and TTL too - this was a good session.
Then things took a turn for the worse on Thursday... our regular meeting day at Hallertau.
I was lucky enough to do a brew of Luxe with Steve. NVIOUS tagged along for kicks and the day was fun. Apart from emptying out the mash tun. I gotta get a bit of exercise for sure! Later on when it was beer o'clock, we tapped into some of the #1 (Luxe) then #2 (Statesman) both tasting very good after some hard work. After that, it was the Maredsous Blonde that Steve had on tap. Nice stuff - good use of what I believe is a strain very similar to Wy3787. Some homebrew chums came along, to drink more monster... then Steve broke out the big guns: Saison Du Pont Organic and Original. La Fin Du Monde
- a Canadian 9% Trippel, as well as their Maudite
. Both were absolutey outstanding examples. I managed to get a bottle of the Maudite as I thought this to be the best Dubbel I had tasted. I'm basing my next brew on it, and will crack the bottle when my Dubbel is ready to drink as a side by side. Reviled showed up a bit later with some of his brew - my fave being the Port Stout. I can't remember what else we drank that night - but needless to say we ALL had a good time.
Steve and I did another brew on Friday, to top up the fermenting Luxe to 2000L, but the weather was too appaling to drink anything as well as ride the Bike back home. I didn't feel much like riding there in the first place - but after one of Steves specialty espressos, I was ready to empty the shit out of the kettle, and get a Rockn' and a Rollin'. Afterwards, we put about 500g of Riwaka into Steves Randall, and put it in the Stuntwoman Line. The results were mind blowing. And teeth blowing for that matter.
The weekend yielded plenty of piss drinking, but nothing notable other than Danimal and Mines New Year Brew "Hopfiend" Truly an East Coast (USA) style IPA with massive body and complexity, and Revileds Bourbon Porter: well ballanced IMO with a hint of Bourbon.
On Monday Danimal and I went to Sylvia Park and got half cut on Monteiths Black which was tasting surprisingly good! On the way back, we went to Hallertau to have some Maredsous Blonde - but the tap blew dry.. a shame, because Steves solution was to run the Maredsous Dubbel as a replacement. Damn. It was very nice. We then had some Randallised Stuntwoman - which was even better than yesterday! HUGE HOPS on the nose, and uncalculateable bitterness. MASSIVE!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, NVIOUS and I made a batch of IPA at 120 IBU with Amarillo and US Cascade. We reduced 5 Litres of the 1st run and Caramalised it with a pinch of citric acid down to 1.5 Litres. It was a deep red goo when we added it back to the boil with the late hop additions of 200g of Amarillo & Cascade. Should be num nums. Had some Blonde, Pale Ale - and the freshly kegged 3some which tasted like lemon Cordial. Later we went to Hallertau to have some Maradsous Dubbel. This was a good day.
On Wednesday, I harvested 3kilos of Steves hops for the brew we were planning on doing for Thursday: Saison!
Thursday was another great day of brewing, as Steve was innovative in brewing with 3 huge unconventional methods the most notable being fresh hopping the Saison with Fresh hops in the Hop back, and the other being a 100% natural mash acidification - no need for chemicals or acid malt here. The wort tasted out of this world. I cant wait for someone from Auckland to send me a bottle of the finished product once she is on tap. Beer O'clock yielded some fantastic Porter Noir... the Brett character is of Sweaty Work Socks and Pineapple. Lovely. We drank much more that night with a few more doozies from Steves arsenal, but when Albrecht turned up with his Orval clone - I got all shaky at the knees! STUNNING!!!!!!!!!
Christina Arrived back that night with a swag of beer from my kegs at home - she is truly coming along as an assistant brewer!
Saturday was our WBC meeting with a great turnout! Martin Brought along some Porter, Smash GP and Styrian. and his deceptively strong Saison. All were delish! The Pilsner comp was of a high standard and I enjoyed all of them - even my own... which vaguely resembled beer! Reviled and I had some statesman glass hopped with the local variety - highly recommended. More Monster, as well as Shannans Pale Ale which was tasting great!
I'm sure I missed heaps out that I did over there - but I guess it's what sticks in your mind that truly counts. It was great to meet Barry in person, as well as have the privelage of drinking good beer with other people who truly appreciate a fine drop.
Now back to the truge of Tui and Export Gold with my work colleagues... and before you say it - dont worry, I have tried to get them to drink my homebrew. They all tell me it smells like Cat Piss, and Tastes like Grapefruit!