Lizards and bears and beers, oh my!

Each of the Galbraith’s Cask Ale Series nights have been something I have been looking forward to. I was pretty happy to be there on time for the latest launch, patiently waiting in line with about fifteen other beer enthusiasts as the bar staff labouriously hand drew each pint.
I stood there watching as punters walked away with glasses filled with a dark amber liquid that had the most gorgeous looking caramel coloured head on them. First looks alone already measured up to the name; Vasta’s Velvet.

Vasta’s Velvet is the third in Galbraith’s Cask Conditioned Ale series, a series where a handful of known craft brewers were invited to collaborate with Galbraith’s brewers, Keith and Ian, to produce a new or existing beer using traditional cask conditioning. Each beer is released at a launch night every 6 to 8 weeks as the next brewer starts their batch. Vasta’s Velvet is a brew born of the mind and hands of Tuatara’s head brewer Carl Vasta, hence the name there too.

Barely able to hold my glass steady from the excitement, I took my pint to the table before settling into my first taste. And wow. So smooth, so balanced, so good. I got malts, coffee, hops (are you allowed to say you taste hops, or is that like saying it tastes like beer?). At any rate, I got a whole lot of things I like and it was in a buzzing Galbraith’s Alehouse. I must mention it was a Monday night so it was pretty impressive to have a crowd gathering in aid of a beer launch (I really should have got a photo, but I was too distracted by the fantastic beer in front of me).

Galbraith’s have done Auckland a real service by hosting the Cask Ale series and opening its brewhouse doors to other brewers from around the country. It gives beer enthusiasts a good reason to get out of home on a school night and an opportunity to taste beers you may not be able to find anywhere else.

Unfortunately, the Cask Ale series is having a hiatus over these next Rugby World Cup months but promises to return in November, so I’ll be sure to mark that in my calendar.

The first of the series was brewed by Yeastie Boys who kicked off their brew on May 2nd. Chris O’Leary, the head brewer from Emerson’s was next putting down a red IPA on the 13th of June.

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