Beer #247 - Mussel Inn / Captain Cooker
BREWERY // In 1992 Jane & Andrew Dixon built The Mussel Inn with their sons Henry & Toby in Golden Bay, a couple of hours from Nelson. Their Kiwi woolshed style inn is a single room with a verandah, it quickly took its place at the heart of the local community and has scarcely changed in the past 27 years. They're famous for their eponymous steamed mussels and beer. Andrew set up the brewery in a bid to increase self sufficiency with all ingredients being sourced locally including some of the hops which are grown in their gardens. Water comes from a bush filtered stream running in the hills behind the Inn and all spent grain and waste ingredients are recycled on the property. Head brewer Reuben Lee crafts a range of 'drinking beers' and studiously ignores trends. Which is apt for a brewery that predates almost every craft brewery in the country.
BEER // In 1773 Captain Cook and his men arrived in Aotearoa and got to work brewing the first beer to keep the crew in good spirits and ward off scurvy. There weren't many hops growing in Dusky Sound but a blend of bitter rimu foliage and mānuka leaves served as a very adequate stand-in. The sailors also used molasses in place of malted barley. When the recipe was rediscovered in Cook's log, the Mussel Inn team recreated it for a festival. It was pretty good but they decided that a modern homage to the historic brew (swapping local Pacific Gem & Wakatu hops for rimu and trading in the molasses for barley) was even tastier. It's no surprise to discover pine notes and the mānuka also adds a range of herbal flavours and a perceived sweetness. Upon Cook's arrival, he released several pigs which multiplied and thrived in the forests and were forever known as Captain Cookers which is where this iconic New Zealand beer takes its name.
You can find more Captain Cooker (plus hundreds of other beers) in our webshop and at our Auckland warehouse shop, the Fridge & Flagon.
BREWERY // Mussel Inn
BEER // Captain Cooker
STYLE // Mānuka Beer
ORIGIN // Golden Bay
ABV // 5%
TEMPERATURE // Cool - 7-10C
FOOD MATCH // Wild mushroom fettuccini with spruce tip pesto. Roast cauliflower with pine nut, raisin & caper vinaigrette. Pork braised in coconut milk with ginger & garlic. Shortbread.
GLASS // Tin Mug. Dimpled Glass