Most native JAFA's (Just another F**king Aucklander for the uninitiated) will know Galbraith's as the watering hole for a good English pint. Firstly let me say that you are going to get an emulated English pint, which is not to say the beer is poor but that in despite the best efforts of the Galbraith team it takes a leap of imagination to really stand up and say, "this bitter tastes like the real thing" close but no cigar (we think its the water). That said however there is a huge bevy of variety available on tap from the delightfully drinkable "Bob Hudson's Bitter" to the more weighty Crucifixion (let me assure you the name is somewhat accurate after a few the only difference is the nails and the orientation). The beer brewed on site is a delight and will keep you busy if your just dropping in or setting up camp for a serious session. If your feeling adventurous and you have made your way through the Galbraith's offerings, also available are a constantly rotating series of guest beers from around the world.
My favourite pick has to be the Bellringer's Best Bitter because it comes so close to replicating that English mouthfeel and aroma. Bellringer's is top fermented in a way which provides just the right amount of those ever important esters. Another big win for the Bellringer's is that it is served at cellar temperature meaning the flavour is free to escape. Too often good beers are ruined by serving them too cold, a common antipodean issue.
So you find yourself in Auckland and your parched, looking desperately for a place to stop for a beer and without choice you find yourself crying into an over priced glass of Stella... We have all been there and it is tragic.
But worry no more Crafty Drop to the rescue, here begins the start of a series of articles looking at the best craft beer spots from around the country, you need look no further. First off the ranks is Galbraith's Alehouse, a must for any weary traveller.
Each beer at Galbraith's has its own unique character and the quality of the brews stands out as some of the highest in the region.
Finally Galbraith's offers something that is hard to find elsewhere, and that is that quintessential pub like atmosphere, with walls lined with trinkets and nic naks you will be able to relax and fortify in the perfect venue for beer.
We spoke to Galbraith's and they contested that there beer is as English as you get.
"Just so you are aware, we source all our hops, malt and yeast form the location of the style we are brewing. we have the only whole cone importing licence and this gives us a distinct advantage in the cask ale game.
We also alter the hardness of our water and adjust the mineral content to replicate the water used in these styles. I would say you would be hard pushed to find a better example of english bitter anywhere in the country and if you ask our pommy regulars they will tell you that is the reason they have been frequenting our pub for 19 years."
Well I am not going to argue with that. It could well be I romanticise the nights spend in old pubs in the U.K. far too much to be objective. I have to say Galbraith's is the best bitter I have ever had in New Zealand. What we need is a controlled experiment, so if anyone out there is getting on a plane with a few kegs of English bitter let us know and we will do a blind taste test and see. In the meantime though go find out for yourself!
Galbraith's site: www.http://alehouse.co.nz/
Thank you to Galbraith's for the rights to the above photography.