From the NZ Craft Beer TV journal, 22/1/11:
Next on the agenda was Three Boys Brewing, so we headed through the city to Woolston to meet up with head brewer and owner, Dr. Ralph Bungard. Ralph was originally a plant scientist and fell in love with craft beer when working at the University of Sheffield in England. We asked Ralph about his brewery name and he told us that he had two sons, so his wife had three boys and he also had two brothers , so had grown up as a three boy family as well. My theory that it was named after Alvin, Simon and Theodore from Alvin and the Chipmunks was incorrect. They were chipmunks, not boys.
His 2,000 litre brew kit stood resplendent in the building and while staff were hand labeling, Ralph showed us around. We went through his range of beers that were all top examples of their individual styles. We started with his Pils which shone with slightly floral, noble hop characters from New Zealand Saaz. Interestingly, we tried a sample fresh from his lagering tank against a bottle that was a few months old. The fresh sample had a more pronounced NZ hop character, reminiscent of fresh grass and subtle tropical fruit, whereas the bottle had a more European hop character to it. Both samples had a beautiful, crisp bitterness and it was interesting to chat to Ralph and Luke about the New Zealand Pilsner style, which we all thought was showcasing some great beers across the country.
Ralph's Wheat is based on the Belgian Wit style and is up there with one of the best wheat beers I've ever tried. Ralph does a slight acidification of the water for brewing and uses 50% wheat malt. He then does something interesting and uses local lemon peel and Indian coriander seeds to provide a touch of citrus class to this incredibly refreshing beer. Usually wheat beers aren't Luke or my favorites. We appreciate good ones but prefer the hop bombs! This however was a changing beer for both of us. If I ever see Three Boys Wheat in a pub or bottle shop, I'll be buying it without even thinking!
Three Boys Golden Ale was a real taste of England for me, reminding me loads of one of the past beers I brewed, Thornbridge Kipling. The Golden Ale was an ode to the characteristic Nelson Sauvin hop and screamed big tropical fruits, lychees and ruby grapefruit. The finish was slightly malt sweet and absolutely delicious. From there we went to his IPA which again was a bit of a taste of the UK. Instead of the intense US hop style, this was decidedly more British in it's hop-malt balance. There was some great fruity hop on the nose, but the mouth showcased some full toffee and caramel malt characters. Orange marmalade was also dominant and this beer had me thinking of Worthington's White Shield and Thornbridge Seaforth in it's complexity and balance and lovely edgy bitterness.
Finally we had a taste of the delectable Porter, all chocolate and massive drinkability. This was a beer that we discussed a lot. We were all in agreement that drinking this beer cold out of the fridge was as refreshing as any IPA, Pilsener or Wheat Beer on a hot summer day. The quality of all five of Ralph's beers was second-to-none and massively impressive!