I was wrong. Noted documentarians Nicky Hagar, Michael Moore and Ken Ring have alerted me to a much wider and deeper conspiracy.

Using information obtained from their secret source – Codename: The Internet – the trustworthy trio provided proof that Colin has been compelling me to write about drinks I don’t particularly enjoy for a full six weeks. The list comprises consecutive blogs about cider, sour beers, low- to mid-strength beers (twice), wild beers (including the dreaded Lambics) and brown ales.

This week, I finally obtained permission to blog about beers I would actually drink a lot of – pale ales and lots of them. [1]

First up is one of the “signature brews” of the Grand Teton Brewing Company. It started out as Otto Brothers Brewing Company which opened as the first brewpub in Wyoming in 1988. [2] In 2000, the company changed their name to Grand Teton [3] and expanded their distribution. Available in bottles is the Sweetgrass APA (6%), an English style Pale Ale which pours a hazy orange with notes of citrus (orange zest), grass and grainy malt before a dry finish. 

Weighing in at 60 International Bitterness Units (IBU) thanks to the generous use of Columbus, Galena, Zythos and Cascade hops, Sweetgrass is also dry hopped with Bravo.  It was the 2009 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal winner in the American Pale Ale category.
On tap now is the well-balanced Hallertau Statesman IPA (5.3%). It has a blend of clean, sweet malts and floral, spicy hops. Brewer Stephen Plowman has described it as “both zesty and tangy, indeed, we reckon you’ll find it uniquely zangy’”, “outspoken”, “bursting with opinions”, “Hoots.  Honks.  Hops”, [4] “Charismatic. Honey and Bombastic.”

That vocabulary may be because Stephen Plowman is “a self admitted beer guru”. Hallertau, opened by Stephen and his wife Hayley in 2005, is a boutique rural brewpub based on a “desire to share their love of brewing and the basic principle of epicurean lifestyle with customers and friends alike.” He may be the first brewer in New Zealand to use the word “epicurean” correctly in context to describe his hospitality philosophy. [5]
Hallertau is now co-located with Liberty Brewery so there will be some great beers being made there. At one stage they had four breweries on site and were trying to rationalise back to about two. So if anyone wants to buy a brewery…

Back to America, Malthouse is pleased to announce the return of the iconic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (5.6%) in cans. Sierra Nevada was founded in 1980 and is one of the absolute leaders in the development of craft beer. I wrote in 2009:

“One of the first examples of American brewing prowess to force me to re-examine my prejudices was the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from the pioneering microbrewery in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, west of the Rockies. Fragrant, luscious, bursting with fruit and brimming with bitterness, after one sip I could never honestly say all American beer was awful again.” It was also the first beer I ever had a MLB baseball game in America – fresh off the tap.
Cans are a big packaging trend in America and slowly spreading to New Zealand. Garage Project set the bar pretty high for artwork and design on future cans with their visually stunning Death from Above and Day of the Dead cans.  

The final beer this week is Goose Island IPA (5.5%) in bottles. This brewery started in 1988 in Chicago but is now part of the giant InBev-AB conglomerate. [6] Described on their website as being the colour of “bourbon”, it has sweet biscuity malts under floral and citrus hop notes. A light, crisp bitterness (55 IBU) completes a beer which is a balanced and drinkable English style Pale Ale. It uses Pilgrim, Styrian Golding, Cascade and Centennial hops. Goose Island IPA was the 2012 Gold Medallist at the Great American Beer Festival to go with a World Beer Cup Gold Medal in 2010.

In other news, Ciderhouse [7] is still “rocking on” according to Colin and will run until Saturday. Malthouse becomes Ciderhouse is a week-long cider celebration event (7-14 December) featuring a cider tap takeover (around ten at any given time). The ciders on tap include offerings from Good George, Hallertau, Fork & Brewer, Peckham’s, Townshend’s, KJD, Moa and Zeffer. There is also the rare Liberty How do you like dem Apples? (9.9%) beer made with apple juice instead of water coming on tap on Friday. 

Next week will the ever popular and controversial “Neil Miller’s Top Ten New Zealand Beers of the Year”.  It will also be the final blog for 2013.

Next time we drink to the late Brian Griffin – though he may be alive again by the time this is published.

[1] For the purposes of this blog, “a lot” means four.

[2] 1988 was a huge year for brewery foundings during the first wave of the US craft brewing revolution.

[3] Grand Teton is the highest mountain in Grand Teton National Park in Northwest Wyoming, and a classic destination in American mountaineering.  I know this thanks to my encyclopaedic knowledge of mountaineering and, to a lesser extent, Wikipedia.

[4] I would say this has been “taken out of context” but it is from the brewery’s own website. Plus there is no context I can imagine where it would actually be “in context”.

[5] Epicurean is defined as “devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure, especially to the enjoyment of good food and comfort.”

[6] Or whatever it is called this week.
[7] I doubt many readers got the joke in last week’s title “Malthouse becomes Ciderhouse – Should have been Roadhouse”. It’s a Family Guy joke. Basically, Peter Griffin buys the Roadhouse DVD and begins to believe that all of life’s problems can be solved by kicking. After kicking his target, he would say the film’s name. He did this in at least three episodes. For the record, I do not have Roadhouse on DVD. I have it on MySky.


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Grand Teton Brewing – http://www.grandtetonbrewing.com/SG.html
Sierra Nevada Brewery – http://www.sierranevada.com/
Sierra Nevada Brewery – www.hallertau.co.nz/
Goose Island Brewery – www.gooseisland.com
Malthouse Ciderhouse Facebook event page – https://www.facebook.com/events/216869178486025/?fref=ts
Malthouse Facebook – www.facebook.com/pages/Malthouse/7084276173
Malthouse Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/malthouse
Malthouse Taps on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/MalthouseTaps
Neil Miller on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/#!/beerlytweeting
Beer and Brewer Magazine – www.beerandbrewer.com/