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April 19, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Resurrect Easter—with beer

It may just the first week back at uni, but I bet you are missing the holidays already. For some reason, lecturers love to make the first week back the deadline for major assignments, and many of us spend that final weekend hoping another 1000 words will magically appear on our computer screens, or the markers won’t check the word count too carefully.

And while the hot cross buns and Easter eggs (which have been getting you through those two weeks of stressful procrastination) will have well and truly disappeared from the flat cupboards by now, take comfort that beer can, once again, save the day.

Enter Emerson’s Taieri George (6.8%). Released on March 6 every year, this spiced ale will blow your mind. It is released as a tribute to the founder of Dunedin’s Emerson’s brewery, and great train lover, the late George Emerson.

Quite possibly the only beer referencing both a great brewer and a railway in its name (Google or Wikipedia can explain the full story), it is also a very unique New Zealand craft beer. Emerson’s Taieri George pours a very attractive dark ruby colour and smells like hot cross buns.

George’s son, Richard, is the current head brewer at Emerson’s and uses organic clover honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a third ‘mystery’ spice in the seasonal brew, giving off an aroma and taste that’s remarkably similar to the Easter treat. But an almost cocoa-like flavour, hints of dark fruit, a roasted malt body and dry licorice finish gives this beer an added twist.

Trying to figure out the mystery spice is also part of the fun. My guess? Star anise or fennel, giving it that hint of black licorice at the end of each mouthful.

Emerson’s Taieri George is available at most supermarkets and liquor stores which sell the Emerson’s range, and make sure you stock up—this beer actually gets BETTER with age. Keep some hidden at the back of the pantry for an even more intense ‘liquid hot cross buns’ experience in a few years’ time.

But for those of us who prefer to nibble on the eggs all Easter long, it is just as easy to satisfy that chocolate craving with beer.

I know, chocolate beer sounds, well, quite disgusting actually. But there are actually beers out there which taste remarkably like cocoa-rich treat. Probably the easiest to find is Young’s Chocolate Stout 5.2%. Available at most supermarkets and liquor stores in town, the Chocolate Stout smells of milk chocolate, dark malt and dark fruit. Believe it or not, this brew tastes like chocolate from start to finish, with cocoa and dark malt bitterness on the finish.

A hint for those of you with a larger-than-average sweet tooth—try adding a small amount of raspberry syrup to the glass after pouring the beer. It will take the bitter edge off and satisfy that sugar craving even faster.

The supermarkets may have run out of the usual Easter treats, but the liquid ones remain. So why not celebrate getting that essay into the drop-box on time with the liquid hot cross buns of Emerson’s Taieri George or the drinking chocolate of Young’s Chocolate Stout.

If you have any questions about this week’s beers or any comments, please contact me at


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