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April 26, 2004 | by  | in News | [ssba]


Do you wonder what your sixth sense is gonna be? Spotting ghosts, visualising playing cards, sensing earthquakes? Possibly staying awake during a Monday morning lecture? Well ours seems to be stumbling across breweries. Maybe it’s because Keith was born within smelling distance from one, thus defining his sixth sense from birth or perhaps it’s because we’re always hanging around dodgy people and places that just mention beer.

Anyway, Keith’s tour with his sister and husband Bob (Monk not Mandrake) took us to Blenheim where we were pondering a spot of lunch and were pointed towards Whitehaven Winery which turned out to have a brewery next door called Dodson’s. This was news to us, we knew the Cork and Keg and their Renwick beers and we did the Pink Elephant beers last year, but we’ve never heard of Dodson’s. And why would we have? The only place in Welly they currently supply is the Cosmopolitan Club (which burnt down).

This brewery has come about after a fella called Peter Baker saw an opening for a boutique brewery to produce some quality local ales, and so formed the Marlborough Brewing Company in 1992. Meanwhile, Rob Stevens, a brewer for 16 years, moved to the Marlborough Brewing Company in 1994 from McCashins (Macs) Brewery in Nelson. Rob has been responsible for producing award winning beers and recently won a Gold Medal with Dodson’s Dark.

In 2002, the Marlborough Brewing Company in Blenheim purchased the old Malthouse complex and established Dodson’s Bar & Brewery to sell beers brewed under the Dodson’s label through its own retail outlet. The building is the last remaining part of what was Blenheim’s first brewery, which was built in 1858 by Henry Dodson. Over the years this building has had a variety of different uses, but it is now home again to what it was originally built for, and its new owners have carefully retained all the original timbers, brick work and flooring, to enhance the bar’s authenticity. The bar and restaurant menu provides hearty traditional English fare, including lamb shanks, hot pots and beef pie, and for those who prefer wine, there is also an extensive selection of renowned Marlborough wines.

Back to beer… Dodson’s beers are produced from a blend of malts, good water and New Zealand-grown hops from Motueka near Nelson. Specific yeasts for the style of beers being brewed are used, thus producing brews with their own individual characters. The Marlborough Brewing Company brews 2500 Litre batches using ‘bottom fermentation’ to produce 100% natural beers.

On with the brews. We grabbed a taste rack of their 100% natural awarding winning full malt beers and we stay in the sunny beer garden and got to work.

Dodson’s Red Devil
Named after Marlborough’s rugby team not the northern monkey football team from where it always rains. Dodson’s Red Devil beer is a New Zealand-styled draught beer. A light amber colour with a foamy head and subtle malty aromas. Smooth and draughty in flavour and a crisp finish. This beer isn’t one of their 100% natural beers and we found this draught beer would only appeal to Rugby forwards who have lost a few taste buds amongst their brain cells. Probably fitting to go with sporting ground food (dodgy pies).

Dodson’s Steam
A copper coloured (golden brown) American style ale/lager hybrid with a lasting head. Interesting butterscotch and caramel aromas with a malty, creamy caramel flavour and hoppy finish. Quite a unique beer and would be great with a rack of lamb and kumara mash.

Dodson’s Draught
A dark rimu coloured beer with a lasting head, subtle roasted banana skin aroma and balanced with malty flavours and a crisp dry finish. For a draught, this was pretty good so perhaps they should stick with this one and call it Red Devil so everyone wins! Again, it’s a pie kinda beer, though not so dodgy!

Dodson’s Dark
A dark plummy coloured beer using a blend of pale crystal, chocolate and black malts, which create its creamy head, coffee and chocolatey aroma, smooth smoked coffee flavour and roasted and cheeky sweet finish. Think spotted dick (the dessert, not the consequences of a regrettable shag!).

Dodson’s Pilsner
A German style Pilsner, light gold/straw in colour, big frothy head, characterised by its hoppy and floral aromas and flavour, with a crisp and refreshing finish. We already had a large plate of cheeses which this washed down a treat. Would go well with soups and salads too!

Dodson’s Special Lager
A light bodied lager, golden straw in colour with a good head. It gave nectar and honey aromas, with a real hoppy and honey flavour and tipping off with a delicate hop finish. A thyme infused chicken breast in a mushroom sauce sprang to mind!

They’re due to sell some of these beers in bottles by November 2004 and Regional Wines and Spirits will most definitely get it! In the meantime make sure that you stop off at this place if going South from Picton, it’s a great way to spend half a day!


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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