Beer #268 - Mussel Inn / Lean Lamb
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 28 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 // Lambic is beer in its most natural state. The word covers a while range of wild fermented styles with varieties that have been aged, blended or infused with fruit. Broadly, they are beers made with pale malts and wheat that are spontaneously fermented and aged with wild yeast and native microbes in a wooden barrel. Among many beers fans (especially those around Brussels where it is the indigenous style) Lambics are treated with utmost reverence. The beers are shaped by terroir and microorganisms which takes no small amount of shepherding from a talented brewer to perfect. Lean Lamb is a 'loose interpretation' of the classic style and heralded the first generation of sour beers in New Zealand. Andrew's 'barrel of joy' is home to a whole host of 'bugs' that make the Lamb completely unique. King of the barrel is Brettanomyces (aka Brett or 'the British fungus'), a type of yeast that is found everywhere and was once behind every British beer. After Pasteur's research into yeast during the 1860, Brett became known as a spoilage yeast and different varieties were cultivated that imparted less aroma and flavour into beers and wines. Fortunately for us, many Belgian brewers continued brewing the old way. Brett is what gives Lean Lamb its funky farmyard profile. It has a deliciously musty, earthy and completely unique quality with a dry finish that makes it very very more-ish and completely refreshing.
BREWERY // The Mussel Inn
BEER // Lean Lamb
STYLE // Lambic
ORIGIN // Golden Bay
ABV // 5%
TEMPERATURE // Cool - around 10C
FOOD MATCH // Eggs Benedict. Rosemary Roasted Turkey. Peach & Ginger Pie. Belgian Waffles.
VESSEL // Wine Glass. Tumbler.