The Daily Brews

18:55, Feb 04 2013

It's great to see a Kiwi craft brewer producing a style that is sometimes overlooked in this country.

 Burdened with the unfair reputation of being flat and warm, Bitters and Extra Strong Bitters (ESB) are a traditional English style. Served correctly, they are less gassy than most of our well-known drops.

 This is mostly because they are cask conditioned rather than gassed up, and their malty pleasures are better revealed when not frozen to death.

The bottled version of Old House is secondary fermented in the bottle, making the ESB experience as close as possible to the real thing.

While the company is located in the heart of hop country - Moutere Valley, near Nelson; the brewer, Martin Townshend is English. He is committed to bringing the best of English beer heritage to his new homeland and he brews using traditional methods. This location also brings another bonus - access to a nearby aquifer, which provides water of the highest quality and suitability for brewing.

Old House is as good as any ESB that I have enjoyed in the motherland. It pours a golden, coppery colour with a fine, creamy head. Although many drinkers turn to this style in cooler times, I find the smooth, gentle body to be pleasurable on a hazy summer's day.

ESBs are perfect for showcasing malt styles. Old House presented a pleasant nutty and smooth body with warm, fruity notes true to style. I could taste toffee and autumn fruits. It would be a great session beer - in English fashion - but it is quite strong at 5.3 per cent abv. Given that it is bottle conditioned, with a bit of light bottle sediment in evidence, it would probably become smoother and more complex over a few months. Warwick Foy

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