Friday, May 15, 2009

Beer O’Clock: Fancy a Pint of the New Tuatara?

Beer writer Neil Miller reappears in the regular Beer O’Clock spot to plug a new local brew:

The two sweetest words in the English Language, according to Homer J Simpson, philosopher, role model and pneumatic cerevisaphile, are “de fault.” However, I tend to think that Pete Brown, beer writer, global pub crawler and all-round bearded bloke, has it right when he suggests that “fancy a pint” is about the most appealing invitation you can get which involves remaining fully dressed.

In his rather marvellous book Three Sheets to the Wind, Pete undertakes a global pub crawl of 400 bars as part of his quest for the meaning of beer. I thought I had the best job in the world until I read that line. On the very first page, he begins to muse about the phenomenon of fancying of a pint.

He writes “every time someone asks me if I fancy a pint, it seems like a remarkably good idea, one that never loses its sheen as an original, inventive, exciting concept. But often there’s more to this little phrase than meets the ear. Usually, when we ask someone if they fancy a pint, we’re asking if they would like more than one. Sometimes, the pint proposer will make this clearer by inserting an important extra word, asking “do you fancy a quick pint?” which seems to imply that your companion only wants to spend a brief time in the pub but of course it means the exact opposite.”

This last phrase ends with an asterisk indicating that there is a footnote at the bottom of the page. Readers of J R R Tolkien have come to fear footnotes. In the middle of an exciting passage of prose there will be a tangential reference to a minor king and the extensive footnote will give his lineage, descendents, major achievements and an in-depth explanation of why he is completely unimportant to the action.

Pete’s footnotes are different. This particular one reads

“Even if the proposer doesn’t realise this, what they mean is let’s stop whatever we’re doing now quickly and spend a long time in the pub. It might not even mean that at the time but that’s what it always ends up meaning.”

Ladies and Gentleman, Pete Brown is right.

One of the many attractive features of beer is its sessionability. Beer can be enjoyed with friends over a long period of time (in moderation of course). Session beers are noted for their balance and subtlety. It is this quest for drinkability that prompted Tuatara to develop a new beer which was unveiled by the brewers Carl and Dion at Wellington’s Malthouse bar on April 30.

The beer is Tuatara Helles (5%), a traditional easy-drinking German style of lager. Carl explains the beer is light gold in colour, has a touch of noble hop aroma, a decent burst of early malt sweetness and then late crispness for balance. His Helles uses the New Zealand-grown Hallertau – a very traditional German hop – and Saaz. This hop mix reflects Tuatara’s on-going focus on using quality local ingredients.

Helles is a permanent addition to the Tuatara range and will be available on tap at Malthouse and in bottles at better bottle stores and supermarkets. It will be the first new beer from Tuatara for several years as they have been focussing on the brewery expansion. In fact, the expansion is still going. When I spoke to Carl on the phone there was a new 10,000 litre conditioning tank going in directly behind him.

* * Cross-posted at the blog for Wellington’s Malthouse Bar, where the first Tuatara Helles keg went very quickly indeed. Kate Blackhouse offers her own entirely independent and unforced opinion of the new drop here. * *

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2 Comments:

Blogger Andrew said...

"Cheeky pint?" captures it.

You know you won't be getting just one in and thus you know it won't just be a cheeky session.

5/15/2009 08:29:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd rather have a beer in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.....

5/16/2009 04:37:00 pm  

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