This week in Beer O'Clock, Neil from RealBeer gives Auckland beer-lovers the benefit of his Wellington wisdom:
In these modern times, many people think nothing of driving for hours and paying a premium to secure local, organic produce. We seem fascinated with the welfare of our chickens, the provenance of our mushrooms and the age of our venison. That’s understandable – it is all about sustainability and flavour.
Where it gets interesting is when these same people are selecting a beer to go with their gourmet conquests. All too often, their “buy local” philosophy is abandoned in favour of the bland certainty of a global mega-brand. It is a shame – there is wisdom in the old saying that beer is best drunk in the shadow of the brewery.
Brown Teal Ale (5%) is a rich brown beer with a tight stream of bubbles in the glass. It has a smooth caramel body and a lingering, almost oily, bitterness from the use of organic hops. This beer was darker and more flavoursome than I had expected. Brown Teal Ale has a lovely balance and is very refreshing. It’s not easy to find at this stage but you can contact them through their still rather spartan website.
Before flying back to Wellington, I was enjoying a couple of pints at Galbraith’s with the owner of this august blog. Galbraith’s (left) is a near perfect brewpub. In fact, the only thing I can find to criticise is the constant presence of Chris Trotter when I’m there. One of the scariest sights I’ve ever seen was Comrade Trotter (right) bursting through Galbraith's front door wearing a National Party conference badge. Thankfully, he hadn’t joined the party [hard to notice - Ed.] but he had been drinking their free booze in preparation for another year of relentlessly attacking them in his columns.
Speaking of columns, the new seasonal at Galbraith’s is called Full Nelson, a brown ale. It is not a style I’m usually too keen on. I’ve honestly never really seen the appeal of Newcastle Brown – affectionately known as Newkie or “the dog”. “Taking the dog for a walk” is apparently code for “going to the pub for ten pints with my mates.” However, I always thought Newcastle Brown got “the dog” nickname because it smelt like a wet Bassett Hound.
The Full Nelson is thankfully a different beast. It is a smooth, creamy, cask-conditioned ale. It pours a rich brown with a small, well-formed head. It has plenty of caramel and malt before a firm hop finish. Overall, it’s very tasty yet eminently sessionable.
Besides, how was I ever going to resist a beer named after a wrestling hold?
As they say, thing globally, drink locally.