Three wise Masters and 30 good-looking beer fans

What do you get when you take our most respected brewer, our best beer retailer, our oldest beer writer, 30 young, passionate and good-looking beer fans and 9% craft beers?

I’m asking because my memory is cloudy.

Last weekend Regional Wines hosted another annual Master Class with Richard Emerson. Richard is the Willie Wonka behind Emerson’s brewery in Dunedin, and gets huge respect from beer drinkers, home brewers and fellow brewers in New Zealand and overseas. He’s good craic too.

Richard’s class was co-hosted by Geoff Griggs, our oldest beer writer and the most experienced. He plays a good straight man and helped guide us through the tasting. Kieran Haslett-Moore is the beer specialist at Regional Wines and is responsible for keeping the best beer range in town fully stocked and turning over.

The three of them live and love beer and their combined knowledge is massive. Richard runs three tasting Master Classes at Regional every winter – 90 seats are available every year and this time they sold out in 90 minutes. If you like beer and want to learn more about it, make sure you register your details with Regional and pounce on the opportunity next year.

The tasting took us through a range of nine Emerson’s beers, many no longer available, including some that were not sold commercially.

Richard’s treasure chest revealed a mystery beer that had been stored for four years. We were invited to sample this one and pick it. It was fruity and malty with perhaps a hint of Belgian muskiness – well done to the man who guessed it was originally a hoppy, bright APA.

Another surprise was a 2009 Taieri George. I never really ‘got’ this spiced ale, but the comparison with the 2010 showed it ages very well and can be expected to improve with time. It comes out every March and sells fast – your next chance will be in 2011 and then you’ll have to let it rest for a while – perhaps until the All Whites win in Brazil.

We tried three versions of Emerson’s JP, another annual special with a different recipe each year, all keeping a Belgian theme. One was an experiment from 2006, which wasn’t commercially released. The 2009 JP won the trophy for flavoured and aged styles at last year’s Beervana – Richard predicts, “this will be a fantastic beer in ten year’s time”. The 2010 JP is available now, but don’t wait. It is a hoppy, New-World interpretation of Duvel with a prominent blend of five different hops. It wasn’t designed to be cellared.

The Emerson’s Regional Master Classes are unmissable – get there next year.

4 Responses to “Three wise Masters and 30 good-looking beer fans”

  1. Hi Craig,

    I don’t have a specific comment on this post other than to say that I’m enjoying reading your blog + your uniquely NZ anti-spam comment filter served up the name of my home town so it seemed appropriate to leave a comment!


  2. Was a great tasting. I was sitting next to ya mate. Shame you couldn’t make it down to Hashigo afterwards. You would, like me, have had an even lesser recollection of the event.



  1. Emerson’s Dark Beauties – 2011 Master Class |

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