My work is done. With that group, anyway.
On Wednesday night, I had a over-sold crowd at Brewery Britomart. Twenty-two people plus two Brewery staff joined me upstairs to taste the range of beers brewed by John and Laurence. The upstairs room is large with the same high ceilings as the main pub and gorgeous native timber floors. It was pretty steamy outside from the recent downpour – typical Auckland weather – so we had the windows open. The only down side being the outside traffic noise was hard to compete with.
I had the bright idea on this tasting event to sell the tickets online instead of at the bar. This worked out much better and I will do this from now on.
We started off with “Gold Rush”, a blonde ale which is nicely malty with low hop bitterness. This is an easy drinking, session beer at 4%. Four people voted this their favorite of the 6 beers we tried.
The second beer was a recent addition to the Brewery Britomart lineup:”Witful”, a Belgian wit style beer. Downstairs, they serve it with a slice of lemon. I suggested everyone try it first without the lemon, then again with the lemon. I thought the two were completely different experiences. My preference was without the lemon, but only because the hop bitterness changed to a lemon pith bitterness. Overall, this is a lovely beer with corriander and orange notes. While many people thought this was a good beer, it didn’t end up as a favorite for anyone. Surprising!
The third beer was the IPA “Customs 69”. I am a big fan of this beer with it’s nice hop notes and solid malt balance. The next “Element 5” is an NZ Pale Ale. This beer turned out to be the favorite of the group with 9 votes. Several people thought it was the aroma that made it standout. I have to agree. Element 5 is excellent.
The next two beers moved into the dark beer category. Old Fort, the brown ale was an eye-opener for several in the group to discover chocolate and coffee notes. And the last, Black Rose Stout, with that great stout chewy mouth feel was like a good dessert to end the evening.
I thought the evening went very well, although it was hard to keep the attention of 24 people. Several people afterwards told me they were amazed to discover the complexity of beer and they would now be more adventurous in selecting beer. This is exactly the comment I hope to hear. I want people to understand that beer does not need to be bland. New Zealand Craft beer has an amazing array of styles and flavours to explore and enjoy.
Thanks again to John at Brewery Britomart for hosting the event. I hope to do this again soon.