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Brewery Spotlight: the Coromanel Brewing Company

by on 7 March, 2012

Nestled in the natural beauty that is the Coromandel Peninsula, just a few short hours drive from Auckland, there is a brewery known simply as the Coromandel Brewing Company. Neil Vowles has been brewing beer since his student days.  In the 80’s good beer in the UK was hard to come by; this combined with a student budget made brewing his own an attractive option.  His passion for brewing carried on as a hobby until moving to the Coromandel in 2008, and finding a lack of craft beers in the area.  The solution was obvious – start a small brewery and fill the void!

The Coromandel Brewing Company bills itself as a “lifestyle” brewery, with a capacity of only 350 litres.  Every brew is meticulously hand crafted from the finest ingredients, and all are bottle conditioned – no need for any artificial carbonation.

The bottle conditioning means there is a hint of cloudy sediment in every glass, so pour carefully.  But it also means that it will change – and even improve – over time if kept in the proper conditions.

One of our own had been visiting the Coromandel and brought back a few of the brews. And here’s what we thought.

Good as gold

Pilsener style lager – 330ml Glass Bottle – 5.0%abv


It would appear that the Golden yellow hue has lent this beer it’s name. Even though our beer was well chilled, our advice is to tilt your glass a lot, or she’ll be all head!

At the Hopfuls, this is known as "Doing a Phil"

Exhibiting fresh hoppy characters on the nose, and presenting with a smooth bubbly texture. Flavours of honey and wheat on the tongue, wrapping up with a super clean finish. A tasty Pilsener, and would make a refreshing yet tasty drink on a hot afternoon.

Easy Rider

Pale Ale – 330ml Glass Bottle – 5.0%abv

Not a hugely fragrant beer, although perhaps it needed to be warmer – ours was fairly well chilled.  This one was fizzy and malty on the tongue, with a slightly bitter finish which leaves you wanting more.  A great example of the pale ale style, and true to its moniker, goes down easy.

The Dark Side

Strong Bock Lager – 330ml Glass Bottle – 5.8%abv

Dark in colour, and starts out sweet, with hints of tart raspberry, cloves and spice, herbaciousness, and a bitter finish.  A complex, dark lager, with a lot to offer.

All in all then, with a delicious range of beers, Coromandel Brewing Company gets a solid “thumbs up” from us!  Whilst it’s not really stocked outside of the Coromandel, Thames and Hamilton areas, they can arrange postal orders.

Having said that, if you’ve not been to the Coromandel then you absolutely should.  It has some of the most breathtaking vistas in the country, some incredible roads, and a laid back atmosphere.  Oh, and a great brewery to boot!

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