World Masters Games further cements Good George as household name
OPINION: Within hours of landing at Auckland airport after a number of years away, my sister insisted on taking me to a "brand new cool little brewery/pub in Frankton", Hamilton - that was four or so years ago and the brewery was Good George.
I loved their DIY design ethos, I loved their concept, and I certainly loved their beers. As a long-standing fan of the underdog, I have watched the development of Good George with interest and a sense of parochial pride.
Fast forward a few years, and Good George has become almost a household name. They've expanded into Rototuna, Hamilton Central and now Cambridge, they're soon to take over The Cook in Hamilton East, and their tasty beers are now available almost everywhere, including as official beer to the Fieldays, and the mighty Northern Knights cricket team – not bad for what was a tiny little local concern only a short time ago.
In what must have been a massive coup, Good George Brewing have just been unveiled as the official beer of the World Masters Games, to be held in Auckland and Cambridge towards the end of April.
The largest multi-sport event in New Zealand's history, some 25,000 athletes and even more spectators and visitors from upwards of 100 countries will descend on both the World Masters Games "Entertainment Hub" in Queens Wharf, Auckland as well as the Avantidrome and Lake Karapiro in Cambridge.
The venues will see thousands and thousands of cans of the beautifully packaged Good George Masters Pilsner consumed every day. Every one of those cans will have come out of the Frankton brewery, which is a fantastic advertisement for both Good George Brewing, and the burgeoning New Zealand craft beer industry as a whole.
Focussing on sessional beers, Good George produce a fine array of interesting, tasty and creative drops such as their wildly popular Doris Plum cider.
It is made using locally sourced Doris Plums, and is probably my favourite cider on the planet at the moment. I am also a particular fan of their IPA, reported to be the biggest selling beer at the Fieldays.
A lovely, smooth, malty beer with good punchy hops, it is a fine example of what is a very fast growing style. For something a little different, you could do worse than hunting down some of the remaining cans of either of their slightly odd but interesting Rocky Road stouts, made with local Donovans chocolate, or perhaps the Rocket Coffee IPA, made in conjunction with local Hamilton coffee pioneers Rocket Coffee.
It's spicy and citrusy with gentle coffee tones.
The specially packaged Good George Masters Pilsner is a fresh, crisp, vibrant pilsner with gentle citrus notes. Not unlike a good European pilsner, it is well worth seeking out.
The cans themselves have been designed by a young Auckland designer, Allan Cave, and have a nice retro sporty vibe. At the brewery itself, the impressive 10,000 litre tanks holding the pilsner have been graffiti painted by a Tairua artist – it is always nice to see a local company such as Good George supporting other local endeavours, rather than 'outsourcing' and going offshore.
Good on Good George!
Don't panic oenophiles, I certainly haven't stopped enjoying a glass or two of the good stuff – my next column will focus on the legendary Villa Maria Group, and their commitment to quality and sustainability.
Wine and beer writer Simon Wood grew up in Hamilton and now lives in Te Aroha. If you would like to get in contact, please email: Woodonwineandbeer@gmail.com