Archive for September, 2009

Some quirky New Zealand beers are now available at Purvis Cellars….check these out!

The Mussel Inn - Captain CookerThe Mussel Inn - Dark HorseThe Mussel Inn - Golden Goose

The Mussel Inn Dark Horse Porter. Very dark and roasty – not too dry. A solid and dependable performer – pulls away strong at the finish.

The Mussel Inn Golden Goose Lager. A hoppy golden lager. No shell, no feathers, just pure gold.

The Mussel Inn Captain Cooker Manuka Honey Beer. A red brown beer flavoured with the freshly picked tips of the Manuka tree. A very distinctive beer with proven medicinal qualities. The only one out of 240 New Zealand beers to rate 10 out of 10 in Keith Stewarts book ‘The complete guide to New Zealand Beer’. Also featured in ‘Best – a New Zealand compendium’. Compiled by Ella Griffiths, published by Awa Press. Also available on tap at Hopgood’s in Trafalgar St. Nelson, The Abbey at Appleby and Jester House in Tasman.

Purchase them at Purvis Cellars here


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Tasted Wednesday 30 September 2009. 6.2% Alc/Vol, 500ml bottle

New Zealand

Three Boys - Oyster StoutQuite possibly this is the best Three Boys beer.

This is a very smooth and complex beer. It pours black with a brown, tightly packed, head. There are coffee bean/dark cocoa, mocha-like aromas, dark dried fig/plum and seaspray.

Rich and deep and velvety smooth on the palate with carbonation that is perhaps a little too obvious. It has bitter/sweet roasted malt flavours, dark cooking cocoa, charred nuts, crushed seashell minerality and sweet creaminess. There is a lovely bitterness that slowly builds on the finish and lingers.

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Tasted Wednesday 30 September 2009. 4.5% Alc/Vol 500ml bottle

New Zealand

Lighthouse Brewery - Cheeky Little - LagerWith a label like that you have to wonder if there is anything to like inside the bottle.

Fortunately there is.

While it is uncomplicated this beer is surprisingly pleasing. However you would need to like lagers. Pale straw in colour with a very white head.

Light malt on the nose with some grassy, wet hay notes and lemon. The palate is very light, cleansing and crisp with light malt again and a pleasing lingering hoppy bitterness on the finish.

I can imagine a few “cheeky lagers” while throwing an arm over in the backyard this summer.

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Tasted Tuesday 24 September 2009. 8% Alc/Vol, 330ml bottle


Red Hill Brewery - TemptationFrom memory this is fairly consistent in flavour to last year’s release, although my memory can be dubious at the best of times. However this is a fine beer. Light golden in colour with flowery, yeasty aromatics combined with some subtle citrus and banana.

Light yet full flavoured on the palate with just the right amount of soft malty sweetness initially then finishing dry with lingering hop bitterness that seems to slowly build. In between is some lovely delicate citrus and spice flavours and a warm alcohol bite that is neatly wrapped up and kept in check. Overall this beer is very refreshing, well balanced and dangerously drinkable.

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Tasted Tuesday 8  September 2009. 500ml Bottle, 4.2% Alc/Vol


Well this was just plain disappointing. It had a dark brown nearly completely black colour and a fast fading off white head.

It certainly smelt like coffee but the kind of wet used coffee grinds from the percolator. Some charry notes and a hint of chocolate and nutty almond character were evident.

Here is where the beer really falls down though. Instead of a rich, full palate (and it doesn’t need to be a whopping malt driven beer to be any good) it was thin, watery, dry and bitter with stale coffee, weak malt and no length of palate.

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Tasted Tuesday 8 September 2009. 330ml bottle, 4.5% Alc/Vol


There’s a bit of tongue in cheek with this beer. The label shows an old ship at the pier suggesting that this beer has been imported from some far away exotic land.  In fact this beer is brewed at the Mildura Brewery and is very much a modern style, and fairly far away from the Hawthorn we all know!!

However, this beer is the perfect “session” Pale Ale. It is not going to blow your door wide open but a “few” could easily be knocked back in good company without needing to think about the beer too much.

It pours a clear golden orange with a creamy white head. There are some yeasty, spicy aromas with tropical fruits and a “burnt sugar” note. The palate is light to medium and quite refreshing. Malty, caramalised citrus rind, sweet spice and low bitterness and a smooth dry finish make this a pleasant all round beer. I must admit I was a little skeptical about this beer before trying it but since then it has often been my knock off beer.

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Tasted Tuesday 2 September 2009. 330ml bottle, 4.7% Alc/Vol


Stone & Wood - Pale LagerUnfortunately there is not much to say about this beer. Yes it is intended purely to be an easy drinking, light bodied, hot climate beer. However it borders on the flavourless side. In fact it nearly falls of the fence into blandness. This is the style of beer the large commercial brewers specialise in. While I might have been a bit hard on the Mountain Goat Steam Ale it looks all class next to this.

Pale yellow in colour with little head to speak of. It has straw grass and sweaty vegetal aromas. The palate is light with sweet vegetal malt character, subtle bitterness and reasonable crisp carbonation. Bland and boring, but it is what it is I suppose. Brewed in Byron Bay.

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