Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Zealand: Brew on Quay & Galbraith's Alehouse

So coming from San Francisco and being spoiled to having great access to beer in beer bars like Toronado, I have a bit of a high bar to fill when trying out a new beer bar. But I had hopes for Auckland, having a few on Beer Advocate that had good ratings. So I tried 2 of them: Brew on Quay and Galbraith's Alehouse.

Brew on Quay: Brew on Quay is the latest project from the Brew boys. 3 boys (actually men by age, but boys in every other sense), who have been friends/drinking buddies for a very very long while. With a background in the hospitality industry by trade, and the brew industry by passion, the Brew boys wanted to create a bar with a point of difference. Focusing on great atmosphereambiencefine food and the best brews from around the world.

I walked in an did a quick survey of their beer list. I had heard a bunch of good things about Epic; especially their Armageddon IPA, which I had not seen in any bar or store yet. So I ordered it. I took it upstairs to their rooftop beer garden, which was small but still a great touch.

Epic: Armageddon IPA- 6.66% abv and made with 42 hop cones in every bottle. It poured a clear bright orange with a hint of brown. On the nose I got tons of grapefruit, pineapple and citrus with some resinous pine. It tasted of fresh hops, fresh pine and tons of juicy grapefruit, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. I don't get much malt flavors or sweetness as the bottle says but it's a very very drinkable up to par ipa. Good job Epic!

As I drank the Armageddon, I browsed their bottle list. And for those skeptics who think you can't get your great beers in New Zealand, here is what they had of note: Damnation, Chimay, Anchor Steam, Anderson Valley David's Double, Delirium Nocturnum, Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Unibroue La Terrible and Duvel just to name a few.

I wanted to stay and have more but I had to go try Galbraith's Alehouse for dinner.

I have heard many good things about Galbraith's and it had an even better rating on beer advocate than Beer on Quay. So they are also a brewery besides having a good bottle list. So I decided to do their beer sampler.
I tried in order:
1-Galbraith's Tuatara Bavarian Hefe- 5% abv
2-Galbraith's Bitter & Twisted ESB- 5.3% abv and served on cask.
3-Galbraith's Resurrection- trappist style ale and 8.7% abv.
4- Galbraith's Grafting Porter- 5% abv and served on cask.

Galbraith's Tuatara Bavarian Hefe- This poured a cloudy wheat yellow. On the nose it had a huge mashed banana aroma with some sweetness, vanilla and clove. It tasted sweeter than expected, with overripe bananas, honey, yeast but lacking spice. It left a very light light spice on the tongue in the back in the aftertaste but extremely slight.

Galbraith's Bitter & Twisted ESB- Served on cask! This puppy poured a clear orange teak color. I smelled candied malts, roasted plums, raisins and citrus and pine. It tasted pretty much the same as the nose just a tad lighter. It tasted not as bitter as I would have expected for an ESB.  

Galbraith's Resurrection- This poured a clear copper red. It smelled of light hops, light malt and slightly sweet. It tasted light with some caramel notes, light citrus and some spice on the end. It tasted pretty light for it being 8.7% abv. It was very English and very mild. 

Galbraith's Grafting Porter- Again, served on cask! This poured a dark brownish black with no head. It smelled of coffee, vanilla, sweet malts and a touch of caramel. It tasted of light roasted coffee, light vanilla and toasted malts. It was very drinkable and Gary's favorite.

So out of the 2 beer bars, I definitely liked Brew on Quay better. It had a better selection of beer, the location was better (right on the Marina waterfront), the place was a bit new mixed with an old- like the brick building it is housed in with each room decorated different, and the friendly staff. Galbraith's Alehouse just seemed so old fashioned. The clientele was all older, the food was trying to be fancy but it was just redesigned pub food and the bartenders weren't that helpful. In fact, I noticed some really good bottled beer that wasn't on their beer menu and I asked about those and they didn't know much about it. One of my pet peeves is when I ask about a beer in a brewpub and they don't know about it. Shouldn't you know what you are selling?  I do have to give them props for having beer in cask though. They also had some decent bottled and guest tap beers (Like Crouching Brewing's Vicar's Vice Forbidden Fruit on draft) but their own beer was very typical run of the mill English style boring beers, which aren't really my thing. Not to mention how dirty all of their brewery equipment was! I wish I saw that before I tried their beers. I would have stuck to their bottle list!

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