Home' Hospitality Business : HB JULY 2017 Contents of the twentieth century and nearly disappeared. Originally the ter m
‘Mild’ was used to connote that a beer was fresh, (rather than aged, which
would typically sour the beer), and as such, most Mild Ales ranged in
strength and were often much more alcoholic than modern examples.
As tastes evolved to favour fresh beer, Mild Ale surged in popularity
throughout England. However, following World War One, the British
government began forcing brewer ies to limit the average original gravity
(an indicator of alcoholic potential) of their beer. The result was that
most British breweries reduced the strength of their Mild Ales in order
to produce some of their other, stronger beers. Thus, the modern (lower
alcohol) Dark Mild was bor n. However, by the 1960s, the paler, hoppier,
English Bitter would drive the Dark Mild out of fashion and into near
obscurity.That is, of course, until the modern craft beer movement re-
embraced the style, giving it a new lease on life and winning over a small
but faithful segment of craft beer fans across the globe.
Here in New Zealand, it is argued by some beer histor ians, that
our very own New Zealand Draught or iginally evolved as a Kiwi
inter pretation of the English Dark Mild.Whatever the case, there are a
number of Kiwi brewers producing the style right here in New Zealand.
Perhaps one of the most notable examples would be Mike’s Mild Ale.
Mike’s Brewing Company is New Zealand’s oldest operating craft
brewery and its Mild Ale is the very first beer it produced; a refreshing
oddity in a craft beer industry dominated by pale and/or hoppy beers.
Grodziskie (pronounced grow-
jees-kee), also known as Grätzer
(pronounced grate-sir), is a pale,
smoked wheat beer that was
developed centur ies ago in the
Polish city of Grodzisk.This
unique style of beer typically
ranges between just 2.5% and 3.3%
ABV and is brewed with 100%
oak-smoked wheat malt and an
uncharacter istically high hopping
rate for such a low alcohol beer.
The beer was nicknamed ‘Polish
Champagne’ for its high carbonation
levels as well as the fact that it was
often reserved for special occasions.
Despite being exported to as many
as 37 countries at the height of
the beer’s popular ity, production
declined under the Communist
Government of Poland and
commercially produced Grodziskie became completely extinct when
the last brewery to produce the style shut its doors in 1993. Fortunately,
the beer was kept alive by homebrewers and is once again being
produced by craft brewer ies in var ious parts of the world.
Although still quite rare, we are lucky enough to have at least
one commercial producer of the style r ight here in New Zealand.
Christchurch’s Concept Brewing Company produces a 2% ABV
version of a classic Grätzer. This offers Kiwis the opportunity to try this
complex, smoky beer as a flavourful alter native to what are typically
insipid low alcohol options.
Gose (pronounced Goes-uh) is a tart, salty, wheat beer, traditionally
brewed with the addition of cor iander. This unique beer hails from
the German town of Goslar, and dates back to the 16th century.
Gose is fer mented with traditional brewer’s yeast as well as lactic acid
producing bacter ia. Its salty quality comes from the fact that the beer
was or iginally brewed using the salty water of the Goslar River. This
combination of unique ingredients creates an herbal beer with an
arguably pleasant salty/sweet balance. Once brewed across Northern
Germany, the beer slipped into commercial extinction following
World War Two, was revived a few years later,
but ultimately disappeared again in the 1960s.
That is, of course, until the beer was revived – as
so many beers have been – by the modern craft
Given the enor mous renaissance of Sour Beer
in the last few years, Gose has perhaps rebounded
more than most rare histor ical beer styles. There
are a number of locally-brewed Goses available in
New Zealand, not limited to those from Panhead,
the Sawmill Brewery, Kereru Brewing Company,
and Deep Creek. Or, for a more moder n, dry-
hopped take on the style, you might try The Juice
from Wellington’s Boneface Brewing Company.
Grisette is a histor ical beer style from the Wallonia
region of Belgium, which arose somewhere around
the late 17th to early 18th century. Unlike many
historical beers that were mass-produced by a large
number of commercial brewer ies, and as such have
well-documented histories, Grisette (and to a lesser
extent its sister-style, Saison) were largely brewed for
labourers and as a result we know much less about their origins.
While Saisons were or iginally brewed for Belgian Far mworkers,
Grisettes were typically brewed for Miners. Because of this, Grisettes are
believed to have been served fresh whereas Saisons were brewed in the
off-season and served months later dur ing the harvest. It’s believed that
this resulted in Saisons developing a tart, wild character. Grisettes, on the
other hand, were likely to have had less of these qualities because the
beer would not have had time to develop many of the esters, phenolics,
and acid brought about by wild yeast and bacter ia, especially given what
is believed to have been a high hopping rate. As the result of changes in
industry, as well as an economic downturn in the region in the mid-
20th century, Grisette completely disappeared until, like the other beers
mentioned, the style was rediscovered in very recent years.
While there is still a good deal of debate about what exactly a
traditional Grisette would have tasted like, several New Zealand
Brewers are offer ing their inter pretation of the style. Brewers, such
as Craftwork Brewery, offer two different takes on the style; one
which contains spelt, and another that contains the more traditional
barley, wheat, and oats. Warkworth’s 8 Wired Brewing Company also
collaborated with San Diego’s
Moder n Times Brewing Company
to produce Halfway to Whangarei;
a delicious, and probably more
moder n, take on the style.
Many outside of the industry,
view brewing as little more than
manufactur ing and beer as just
another product. However, those
of us within the industry, tend to
view brewing as something more
romantic. The major ity of us see
beer as being more akin to art; the
brewer as a story teller.
Thanks to an increasing number
of brewers who have taken it upon
themselves to revive these (and
histor ical beer styles, we are able
to enjoy so many of these long
forgotten flavours; to sit down
with our ancestors and share a
proverbial pint, and – at least to
some small extent – hear the
stor ies of our past. n
Craftwork Brewery's Grisette
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