Friday, 6 April 2007

Beer O'Clock: Taieri George

Beer O'Clock comes to you this Easter from Stu, from the Society of Beer Advocates.

Easter is many things to many people. Perhaps, for you, it's a time of ecclesiastical ecstasy (unlikely if you are reading this blog). Or maybe it's a time where you are not allowed to open your business or, if you do, you have to pay your staff extra money. Or rather, as it is for most of us, it's just a few days off ... a last chance to get away to the beach before winter's chilly fingers poke away the last remnants of summer.

I fit into the latter group, though I love autumn and winter so am not really mourning the end of summer. I also fit into a select group of exceptionally intelligent, witty and good looking individuals who anticipate Easter for the annual arrival of the Taieri George vintage.

Taieri George is a beer well summed up by Neil Miller as "liquid hot cross buns," it's one of New Zealand's ultimate autumn ales. This Belgian-inspired ale is chestnut in colour but unlike some dark beers is not overtly sweet or syrupy. It is only lightly hopped and, instead, is deliciously spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and a third undisclosed spice. The ale's 6.8% alcohol gives a warming finish to what is a surprisingly delicate and smooth beer. Like all the Emerson's beers it's label contains a perfectly apt, concise description: "Strong Smooth Spicy Ale." I like it with hearty winter meals, hot cross buns or just on it's own at the fireside.

When pressured at a tasting last year to disclose what the third spice is, Richard Emerson came back with a near perfect response: "Sorry, I'm a bit deaf, I can't hear you." For those of you who don't know, Richard has been deaf since birth. He's also got a great sense of humour, as well as a superb nose and palate.

Some people may recognise the close similarity between the beer's name and Otago's Taieri Gorge railway. Richard Emerson's father, George, was a founding member of the railway and also of the Emerson's brewery. The beer's annual March 6th release commemorates his contribution to the railway and brewery alike.

There we have it - I've managed, in one post, to cover off almost all of PC's usual daily topics: alcohol, art, architecture/engineering, religion, and the nanny state. What about global warming? Well, it's cold out there today but it's nothing that this winter warmer won't appease.

Happy Easter, whatever it means to you.

Slainte mhath, Stu

LINKS: Taieri Gorge Railway
Thoughts on Emerson's Taieri George
Society of Beer Advocates

RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere


  1. This year's vintage seems to lack the syrupy malt body of old. I actually prefer it now, but then it's never been a beer for me. I've tried to love it, I really have.

  2. Cheers for the recommendation. An excellent brew!

  3. Glad you enjoyed it Phil.

    It's Sunday, and I can't buy a beer.

    Lucky I've got a box of last year's model in the cellar, I think I may have to crack one open after dinner.

    Greig - I've got notes on the beer for the last thre years and "syrupy' is never amongst the descriptors. In an overly hoppy beer world, this beer is a little delight for me.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.