"Another week, another beer. This time we’re back across this side of the ditch, in Nelson, and it’s totally my choice," writes Stu from Real Beer.
Nelson has a long and distinguished brewing history. These days it is both the home of the country’s commercial hop production and of Mac’s Brewery – where the rebirth of craft beer in New Zealand took place. As well as Mac’s Brewery, who now brew in several other locations throughout the country, there are several small and independent brewing operations in Nelson.
The most easily accessible of the smaller operations is the Duncan family’s Founders Brewery. Based in Founder’s Historic Park the brewery offers a strong sparkling cider alongside four beers: the nutty brown Generation Ale; the biscuity, grassy hopped, Vienna-style Red Head; a fruity hopped German-styled Tall Blonde; and my personal favourite the German dark lager Long Black.
The Long Black pours a mysterious deep dark brown, very nearly black, with a thick and persistent tan head. The clean nose is toasty and grainy, reminding me of coffee and toasted muesli (which helps justify you drinking it before midday, if you feel so inclined). The flavours follow suit completely with clean, dry toasted graininess, a touch of bittersweet dark chocolate, and a soft hop bitterness that is thoroughly approachable. It’s a great dark beer to try if you think you don’t like dark beers.
I visited the brewery’s lovely little cafe on a perfect spring evening last year, where the beers were tasting incredibly fresh and smelling divinely biscuity - quite different from anything else I’d tried in New Zealand. A friendly tour and a huge free platter of nibbles (thanks to them over-catering a function) made it the perfect way to end an enjoyable bike trip around Nelson’s breweries. I’d certainly recommend a visit to anyone who is in the region. Otherwise you can pick the beers up in most reasonable supermarkets and bottle stores.
Slainte mhath Stu
LINKS: Ratebeer opinions
Founder’s Brewery and Cafe
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