I had a wonderful experience recently when I attended a tasting of Hallertau's beers at a rather salubrious Mt Eden hostelry.
For those who aren't familiar with Hallertau, it's a brewery and restaurant in Riverhead. Opened in 2005 by brewer Steve Plowman, Hallertau has built a reputation around its locally produced food washed down with splendid beer.
The tasting was a celebration of the brewery's first four beers, covering a range of styles from lager to a German-style schwarzbier, or dark ale. Number 1 is called Luxe and it's a kolsch, or Cologne-style lager. The label promises passionfruit and blueberries, and it delivers. Heavier and more robust than your average lager, it has a nice hoppy hit on the front of the palate, with fat, almost creamy flavours coming afterwards.
The second beer was the Statesman, a pale ale. Hoppy, bitter and with a nice malty finish, it's a beer-lover's dream.
The nose of the third, Copper Tart, reminded me of a ripe, oaky chardonnay, with touches of smoke, cream and butterscotch and the palate followed up with a lovely toasty malt effect, with undertones of dark chocolate and coffee.
I haven't been so impressed with a beer in ages.
We finished up with the Deception, a German-style dark beer. Packed with nice dark fruit and coffee notes, it's also deceptively light-bodied and easy to drink.
Hallertau's Four beers
1 Luxe, 2 Statesman, 3 Copper Tart, 4 Deception
* RRP $16.95 for a four-pack (if you'd like a mixed pack, the retailer should be able to oblige)
Be in to win a Hallertau Prize Pack
The good folk at the Hallertau Brewbar and Restaurant have put together a prize package for one lucky reader. Go in the draw to win a four-pack of their hopping good beer, a tasting and brewery tour with Hallertau owner Steve Plowman, and a $100 voucher for the restaurant.
Send your name and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org, or Hallertau Competition, Life, NZ Herald, PO Box 3290, Auckland, by Thursday August 19.