From the NZ Craft Beer TV journal entry, 29/1/11:
We headed into the countryside, this time to visit British ex-pat Martin Townshend of Townshend Brewery. Specialization in cask ales has meant he’s one of the few brewers in the country to tackle this way of getting beer to customers. Martin is a shining example of manic beer enthusiasm. Eyes glistening, he frantically talks of beer and breweries and his love of cask and bottle conditioned ales. He speaks with passion and the joy he gets from his craft is infectious. He knows craft beer inside out as well, having done his time talking about beer on local radio and writing for regional newspapers on the topic.
We began by tasting his Old House ESB from the handpull. Martin explained to us that he doesn’t really prefer to brew beer to style guidelines, but he had made an exception for this one. It was a shining example of an ESB and it instantly took me back to my time in the UK. Luscious fruity malt and British hop notes, a smooth but full body and a clean finish. This is what cask ale is all about. We then went on to try his Dinner Ale in bottle conditioned format. Similar in character to the ESB, this was more of an ode to one of Martin’s favourite brews, Fuller’s London Pride. The nose of lemon and earthy spice and the subtle orange characters put this beer up there. I would have loved for Fuller’s head brewer, John Keeling to be there tasting it with us.
Martin’s No.9 Stout is an amazing beer. Massive amounts of flavour, hop perfume on the nose and in the mouth and all of this in a 4% brew makes it ridiculously quaffable. We had tasted this from keg the night earlier at The Moutere Inn and all been impressed. It tasted as great from the bottle and I’d love to sup it on cask to see what this style of dispense would give to the beer.
Finally we tried Martin’s India Pale Ale, JC IPA. I was blown away at how smooth and drinkable this beer was. From the Styrian Golding and almost Fuggles like characters on the nose, with wafts of freshly cut hay and sweet lemon, followed by juicy malty goodness, this was a shining example of the English IPA style. It reminded me a lot of a beer I used to brew in the UK called Thornbridge Seaforth. One of my favourite brews at 5.9%, Martin’s 5.8% baby was as close as you can get and I can say it hid the alcohol almost too well!