Home' Special Publications : Holiday Guide January 7th Contents 4 ---THE NELSON MAIL Tuesday, January 7, 2014
newly refurbished family owned cafe
voted best family cafe 2013
6 New Beers on tap
$10 tasting tray
- 6 different beers
Riggers exclusively available to take home
Family friendly venue with a children's playground
Founders Park, 87 Atawhai Drive, Nelson, PH.03 548 4638
SOMETHING TO TRY
To encourage new beer choices
Free House co-owners Mic
Dover and Eelco Boswijk have
compiled a list to help inspire
drinkers to widen their beer
Captain Cooker Manuka Beer
(iconic red lager flavoured with
Manuka tips from the Mussel
Inn). No local list is complete
without this one. Perfect for
Townshend's, ESB (cask-
conditioned ale) (on tap at The
Free House) Probably the best
real ale'' in the country.
Founders, Porter. The newly
reborn Founders beers are
proving very popular and this is
our pick of the crop.
Dale's, American Amber Ale.
Evidence of where home
brewing can lead you.
Lighthouse, Cheeky Lager. A
great BBQ beer from Nelson's
smallest commercial brewery.
Townshend's, Black Arrow
Pilsner. Very popular when on
tap at The Free House.
Hophead, Red IPA. The new
kids on the block and making
some very fine ales. This one is
a brilliantly balanced IPA.
There's nothing quite like a boutique beer
on tap at
Beer is a booming busi-
ness in the Nelson region
-- all New Zealand hops
are grown here and we
have more boutique breweries
per capita than the rest of the
Before I left Nelson almost a
decade ago, Mac's, Tui and
Speights were the norm -- now the
bars I go to in Nelson either don't
sell these or it would be a faux pas
to ask for them when there's so
many local brews available.
I've embraced this change and
willingly moved on from big
name beers to locally made. I de-
cide to visit a few breweries and
bars to find out what actually
goes into making beer and why
people are getting borderline ob-
sessive about boutique brews.
I start with a visit to Peter
Lines from the Totara Brewery
Company who shows me their
brewery process just past
It all starts with the malt -- if
you like dark beers, then the malt
flavours are most prominent, the
malts are ground and then put in
the mash tun where the sugars
are extracted, which is where the
alcohol content comes from. It's
an exact science, where the tem-
perature needs to be ''dead right''.
The mixture is then passed to
the kettle, where more water is
pumped in, the sugars are
extracted, and then the hops are
added to the mix. They will have
different qualities, like bitter or
aromatic which will come
through in the beer.
Once the hops are added, the
beer is cooled, goes into the fer-
menter where the yeast is added,
after which it goes through a
chilling process, then sits in con-
ditioning tanks for two to three
weeks. From here it's into the
beer tanks where it is carbonated
then good to go.
The whole process takes about
a month, and Totara will brew
about 600 litres at a time, about
1000 litres a week.
Totara has only been around
for three years, Peter is a hop
farmer first and foremost, and his
operation is the only one in the
country that grows their own
Despite being from Nelson and
a beer fan, I don't actually know
what hops are.
''Do you go around and pick
them off the plants?'' I enquire
I get a sideways glance at this
and a heavy sigh, followed by a
tour of his hop farm. There's rows
of vines growing, though the hops
haven't flowered yet. When it
comes time to pick them, the
whole vines go through a strip-
ping process and its a tight dead-
line, sometimes they can only be
picked five days of the year.
With some new knowledge on
where my beer actually comes
from I go and visit Founder's
Brewery head brewer Matt Dun-
can to quiz him on the different
tastes produced and why people
are so taken by craft beers now.
Matt is a sixth generation
brewer at Founders -- a direct de-
scendent of its founder Joseph R.
Dodson. He works alongside his
father and brother at Founders --
the family will be celebrating 160
years of brewing this year.
Matt tells me pilsners and gold-
en lagers are the brews of choice
for kiwis, while IPAs are the ''it
beer''. He describes pilsners as
crisp and dry. Ales are usually
heavier and have more sweetness
and body, while lagers are drier,
crisper and cleaner. But no mat-
ter the variety, brewing is about
balance -- you need malt for the
sweetness and hops for bitterness
''they have to line up nicely''.
As a brewer, he's pretty happy
with this craft revolution. When
he started at Founders in 1999,
they were producing just three
''They were kind of out-there
beers, now they would be con-
sidered mainstream. There's the
level of flavours put into products
now so you can go big and bold
and there's a market for it.''
Hoppy beers were a hard sell 10
years ago, and now they are
proving most popular, he adds.
''As brewers that makes our job
really interesting -- brewers love
chucking things in and getting
the big flavours.''
And, also to his benefit, New
Zealanders are into bold flavours,
be it food or wine, and now beer.
''People's palates have changed,
people want new and different
tastes,'' and, he adds, once they go
to a boutique beer, from a main-
stream one, it's hard to go back.
I can assent to this, I've been
trying out various local beers
since I've been back in Nelson,
and have found it almost imposs-
ible to revert back to what I used
to drink here. While I once
enjoyed a cold Mac's, time, age,
more choices and maybe a better
income have worked in my
favour. There's still many more
craft beers for me to try, I haven't
moved past easy lagers (Mussel
Inn's Golden Goose), or pale ales
(Dale's Brewery Belgian Pale Ale)
yet but there's a whole summer
left for that.
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