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KaiNovember 21, 2018

We’re not ‘aving a laugh: This is an English-style ale that actually has flavour

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Alice is taken back to Blighty by an old-school bitter, and Henry paints the town millennial pink. 


440ml, 4%, $7.99 from Fine Wine Delivery Co

English pubs were where my passion for beer truly took hold. I arrived in London as an innocent, fresh-faced lass from the colonies (OK, I was a typical 20-something Kiwi on her OE) who mainly drank wine, interspersed with the odd green-bottle beer. Discovering the singular joy of a lovely pint in a lovely pub was a revelation, however, and I soon was converted to the ways of the hop. Needless to say, I have not looked back.

I dabbled in English-style ales, yes, but in those days the New World-led craft beer movement was taking off in London, and I couldn’t get enough of those hoppy, American-style IPAs. Soon I was openly scathing of the boring English beers my workmates enjoyed (“Fuller’s London Pride? Where is the FLAVOUR?!” I’d cry.)

On return to Aotearoa, I’ve continued on a similar path. English-style beers are just not my bag, so when Galbraith’s Bob Hudson’s Bitter arrived, I approached it with trepidation.

Housed in a historic building at the top of Mt Eden Road, Galbraith’s Alehouse is the closest thing Auckland has to an English pub, and it’s been a pioneer of the Auckland beer scene since opening in 1995. They’ve been brewing their own beer since then, but I must admit that when I go to Galbraith’s (it’s a great spot), I tend to sample one of the rotating guest brews — yes, more often than not a nice hoppy pale ale.

For that reason, I’d never tried Bob Hudson’s Bitter, despite it being one of Galbraith’s foundation range. Described as a “pale hoppy bitter”, it’s named for John “Bob” Hudson, a Kentishman who taught Galbraith’s founder Keith Galbraith how to brew many moons ago. It’s brewed with a trio of malts and whole Slovenian hop flowers (as opposed to the hop pellets that are far more common), and until recently, was only available at Galbraith’s, where it’s cask conditioned. They’re now setting aside a few casks from each batch to put into cans, where the beer undergoes a secondary fermentation.

It’s supposed to be served at 10-12 degrees, so I got this bad boy out of the fridge well in advance of drinking it. The label advises pouring in one smooth movement the entirety of the 440ml can into a glass that holds at least 500ml. Sadly, the office kitchen did not run to a proper pint glass, so I used the biggest one I could find (which was definitely not 500ml).

Nonetheless, and somewhat to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed Bob Hudson’s Bitter. On an unseasonably cold Auckland spring evening, it took me back to the joys of being huddled inside a glorious London pub as the vile English weather does its thing outside. Rich, malty and comforting, it’s a hug in a can, and, unlike those bland English ales I deride, actually has flavour. Bless you, Bob Hudson, and bless you Galbraith’s.

Verdict: Rule Britannia 

Alice Neville



Hawke’s Bay, 12.5%, $11.99 from Fine Wine Delivery Co

I read an alarming article in the newspaper the other day (OK, it wasn’t a newspaper, it was a website) that said millennials were killing the New Zealand wine industry. What?!? I was shocked (or “shook” as they say on Twitter). How? By drinking less wine. Why? Because, according to annual New Zealand wine book author Michael Cooper, millennials are avoiding alcohol in order to lead a healthier lifestyle, thus threatening our wine industry. “In the UK – a key export market for New Zealand wine – nearly 30% of people aged 16 to 25 now avoid all alcoholic beverages, including wine,” he said.

Can this be true? The millennials I know drink heaps. They drink cheap beer. They drink craft beer. And yes, they drink wine too.

Maybe it’s a UK thing. According to Neilsen, millennials are spending plenty on alcohol in New Zealand, wine included (and are more likely to spend their money at a liquor store as opposed to a supermarket, which has to be good news for the wine industry due to how small the margins are at supermarkets). And in the US, millennials are drinking so much wine (consuming 42% of all wine sold), they’re changing the way it’s sold. Forbes agrees, quoting a new report: “Millennials will surpass Gen Xers to become ‘the largest fine wine-consuming generation’ by the year 2026.”

Who to believe? As with most things in this data-saturated world, I don’t know. But what I do know is that whether or not millennials have a part to play, some winemakers are producing so much wine they don’t know what to do with it. Like we talked about a couple of months ago with cancelled orders, simply making too much damn wine can result in shockingly good bargains for you, the consumer, who may or may not be a millennial. And this Made Too Much Rosé, made by some unnamed ‘top quality’ producer, is such a bargain. Only $12 for a sturdy yet supple wine, more plum and red berry than a bright, acidic rosé. If you want to drink wine over the summer but don’t want to spend that much on it, buying a case of this to keep in the pantry will save you from a panic trip to the bottle store on your way to whatever fun summery thing you’ve got on. Oh, and millennials like pink, right? Who doesn’t?

Verdict: A perfect millennial wine: cheap, pink and unfussy.

Henry Oliver

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