December 3 2011 found us celebrating a local homebrewer making his dream come alive. Dale Holland, who had won Best Beer at the SOBA National Homebrew comps, and then had his beer made in collaboration with Nelson’s Sprig and Fern Brewery, has released two beers under his new label.
When we interviewed him back in June, he was clear in his quest to go commercial with two beers before the end of the year. Dale’s Brewing Co. leverages his existing notoriety and fledgling brand recognition. The American Amber and Belgian Ale are contract brewed by West Coast Brewing in Westport, and packaged in 500ml bottles. Kegs are also available, and for the Nelson market, the ubiquitous supermarket riggers.
The beers were released last week in Wellington, with the Belgian Ale outselling the American Amber in a head to head fill-your-own competition.They are also available from today in Nelson on tap at the Moutere Inn and The Free House, with bottled product coming in the next weeks.
At the Nelson launch party, Blenheim beer writer Geoff Griggs provided an introduction to the two beers he described as being all about balance. Having said that, they are also full of flavour, in styles that aren’t well represented in the New Zealand market. We enjoyed both but along with the crowd, who drained the Belgian Ale keg first, were partial to the Belgian spiciness and clean hop finish.
Further release events are scheduled for Auckland (12 December) and Christchurch (19th December), giving Dale a change to meet the consumers and get first hand feedback. These are his babies, personal recipes perfected over his years of homebrewing, but he thrives on criticism and hints for improvement. He says he is still looking at a few tweaks to enhance the hop character, getting it closer to what we’ve gotten from the unfiltered taps in his garage.
It was a great evening, with a mix of beery types and family friends discussing the beers, his future, and the wonders of living in Nelson.