Emerson’s Dark Beauties – 2011 Master Class

Richard Emerson and Geoff Griggs gave their annual Master Class at Regional Wines a few days ago.

This has become one of the highlights of this beer fan’s calendar for a few years now. In the past Richard has taken a Willie Wonka approach to the Master Class, and given us an insight into techniques and ingredients used in some of the experimental and seasonal Emerson’s brews.

This year it was a different tack, as we were taken through some of the dark beer styles from the Emerson’s range, matched with different foods.

We got off to a mild start with the limited-release Emerson’s Dark Mild. Although it’s made with Belgian pale yeasts malts, wheat, carapils and chocolate malt teamed with New Zealand hops, this is a loving take on the traditional English mild. This one impressed the Prisoners of Mother England in the room, and it’s on tap a few lucky venues right now.

Regional Special Bitter was next, the second batch of the collaboration brew made by Emerson’s and Regional Wines and Spirits own Kieran Haslett-Moore. Kieran is an accomplished brewer (and blogger) who appreciates English styles. Made with East Kent Golding and Styrian Golding hops, and served off the hand pump, this one has a spicy nose and marmalade citrus flavours underlying a rich toffee sweetness. Kieran is a former cheesemonger and paired his beer with Barrys Bay Mature Cheddar – my pick of the food pairings.

My pick of the brews was Emerson’s Southern Clam Stout. This beer is the only one in the world to use Otago Harbour cockles in the kettle boil. It is black and briny, with smokiness and charred burnt flavours. Try it head to head with Three Boys Oyster Stout.

The full menu was:
Emerson’s Dark Mild (3% abv)
Regional Special Bitter (5.2%) with Barrys Bay Mature Cheddar
Emerson’s Dunkel Weiss (6.3%) with pears
Emerson’s Weizenbock 2010 (8%) with spicy pork
Emerson’s London Porter (4.9%) with Whittaker’s Dark Ghana chocolate
Emerson’s Southern Clam Stout 2010 (6%) with smoked mussels
Emerson’s trial Dubbel (8%) with green grapes
Emerson’s JP 2009 (8%) with pineapple lumps
Emerson’s Taieri George 2011 (6.8%) with dark fruitcake

As I said last year, the Master Class is a great event and you should get there if you can. It is always good value for money and an entertaining afternoon, especially when Richard in is Willie Wonka mode and revealing an experiment or two.

See you there next year.

©Martin Craig, July 2011 martin@nzbeerblog.com
Twitter @nzbeerblog

One Response to “Emerson’s Dark Beauties – 2011 Master Class”

  1. Cheers Martin.

    Belgian Pale Malts in the mild rather than yeast. The yeast was standard Emerson’s house yeast.


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