BEER AND BOURBON IN A GLASS
In 1991, John Harrington said “enough” to the stifling beer duopoly. To compete, he founded Harrington’s Breweries and began making beer with all natural ingredients. In the early days, most beers were sold locally in kegs but Harrington’s now boasts a range of attractive bottles and distributes nationwide.
Like so many Christchurch businesses, Harrington’s was hit hard by the earthquakes; one building was completely destroyed. However, some good came out of the rubble as the company subsequently brought together the far-flung parts of its business under one roof in a new building. Despite a few tough years after the quakes, Harrington’s Breweries was crowned the Brewer’s Guild Grand Champion New Zealand Brewery for 2012 – the country’s highest brewing accolade.
With more than 25 offerings, Harrington’s brews the largest range of beers in the country. One of its flagship beers is Harrington’s Big John, a 6.5 per cent Scotch ale infused with bourbon. It pours a dusky brown in the glass with a mocha head, and delivers firm notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, oak and, er, bourbon.
Big John pairs equally well with savoury and sweet dishes, but it’s hard to go past matching it with this issue’s double chocolate brownie cookies (page 68). The dark, rich beer complements the equally dark and rich chocolate in the cookies, and highlights the background vanilla notes. The oak in the beer from the bourbon contrasts wonderfully with the roasted peanuts, while the sprinkling of salt on the cookies serves to highlight the sweetness of both the biscuits and the beer.