The latest from Atlas

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Muttonbird Beer: Five minutes with Richard Emerson pt1

Richard Emerson
We were really proud to be the first establishment to serve Emerson's in Queenstown when we opened in 2009. So we thought it was high time we caught up with "Mr Pilsner" (to quote one of our regulars) himself. 

How was Beervana? Were you serving anything different? Did you make any good discoveries?

Beervana was great this year, nearly 10,000 punters came along. We felt good about our stand as we had nine beers on tap! This was great the for the customers and it was fun watching them make decisions about which beer to and watching the happy looks on their faces.

We also had our Festive Brew, Titi Stout. According to the festive rules one of the four major ingredients in beer (malt, hops, water and yeast) had to be omitted. Our Festive Brew had no hops! So instead there were a few Muttonbirds and watercress added for flavour. Just mentioning those ingredients raised a few eyebrows and of course people wanted to try it!

As Beervana was busy and along with the liquor rules it was difficult for us to have the chance to try other beers but the quality of the food was gorgeous!

We've heard that you were inspired to start brewing upon returning to NZ after living in Scotland and enjoying the ales there. Were there any beers in particular that inspired a brewing epiphany? If so, what were they?

That’s right, after appreciating delicious flavoursome beers in Scotland and Britain, it was hard to live with the mediocre bland fizzy draught beers in NZ. Those beers were Belhaven, Caledonian, Theakston’s and there were many other fine examples. Oh god, I want to go back and re-live those beers!

Tell us about the first beer you brewed that you were really proud of. 

As a home brewer I did some brewing with malt extract but I was never satisfied with the flavours in the finished beer until I did my first ‘all-grain’ mash in Mother’s kitchen in May 1986. The flavours were there! I was ecstatic with the results. The euphoria of creating the right flavours didn’t last long as I was banished from mother’s kitchen for creating a fine sticky mess and hogging the kitchen for the whole day. A good friend gave me space in his garage for me to continue the research and development process.

Any other memorable/funny moments from your early brewing ventures?

Oh where do I start? There’s quite a few…one of the first things I learnt while at the garage brewery, was not to drink with visiting mates while I was brewing – less mistakes and burnt fingers!

A memorable occasion was when Chris O’Leary from Hawkes Bay’s Roosters Brewery visited the 4 Grange Street Brewery bringing with him some authentic German style Weisswurst sausages to enjoy with the Emerson’s Weissbier. I realized we were not well organised and had nothing to cook the sausages in.
The Electric jug was pressed into service with the sausages and the button reset each time to keep it boiling…aha those Weisswurst were great with tall glasses of frothy Weissbier!

The electric jug was never quite the same…

We had a few more questions to put to Richard to check back next week for the 2nd part of our chat with "Mr Pilsner".

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Tonight's Member's Night Prize

Member's Night
Hello everyone,

Atlas Member's Night tonight. The prize up for grabs this evening is a pair of tickets for the Winter Games Adventure Film Festival. 

So pop on down with your Atlas key ring from 6pm to enter. If you haven't looked at the programme check it out. It looks awesome, with Gone Curling looking particularly rad!

Kiwi craft beer rocks

Emerson's Pilsner: pretty darn close to perfection
Here's cool article on about a new craft beer book. Craft Beer World by Michael Donaldson features 350 beers from around the world and 17 from New Zealand have made the cut.

These include the Emerson's Pilsner and the Tuatara Helles - which we have on tap at Atlas. We've also featured Yeastie Boys' Pot Kettle Black and Invercargill Brewery's Pitch Black on our guest taps in recent times. 

All of the beers on the list are awesome! Our tip: if you want to try something different (and you enjoy Islay whisky) try and get hold of a bottle of the Yeastie Boy's Rex Attitude. It's like nothing we've ever tasted before - a great, unique beer for Islay whisky lovers everywhere!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Catching up with Alanna Columb

On tour - Alanna in Austria
Our sponsored MTB downhill racer, Alanna Columb is still in Europe competing in the World Cup races as well as the European Cup. She's going great in what is her first European season finish with a 13th in the World Cup in Andorra and a 5th place in the European Cup last weekend in Pila, Italy. 

A result which currently has Alanna standing in 4th place in the iXS European Downhill Cup. And she hasn't even been riding downhill for all that long! 

We had a couple of questions for her and here's what she had to say.

Where are you right this second?

Sitting in a cafe in Morzine, France.

Tell us a bit more about what got you into downhill racing and what you love about it and what inspired you to go enter the World Cup?

I was living in Lomond Crescent a couple of years ago and was watching all the bikes go past and I thought it looked like fun. And I'd talked about doing it enough! One day a friend of mine, Dave, rounded me up and got me on the hill and that was that. MTB-ing is something new in my life and I'm enjoying the learning and progression. I guess the thing about racing is there's no feeling like winning! As for what inspired me to compete at the World Cups... it's the dream! I want to make a life out of this - it's my favourite thing in the world to ride and race bikes.

Having visited a few countries this (Northern Hemisphere) Summer, what has been your favourite place on your race circuit and why? 

Andorra for sure, the track was unbelievable! It was pretty hard to race - the track was super gnarly. But it was so much fun to ride!

Lots of athletes have their little pre-race/match rituals, how do you prepare for a race and do you ever get nervous?

To prepare for a race I listen to music, skip and stretch and do a wee dance whilst I visualising the course. I get a little nervous a few hours before a race but before the run I am fully relaxed and I'm focussed before setting off.

Any lucky charms?

I'm not a superstitious person - the outcome is down to you on the day.

What's on your iPod at the moment?

Lykke Li is on my iPod at the moment.

Can you cook and if so, what's your signature dish?

I can't really cook. My signature dish would be bacon and eggs! I do those pretty well.

Pilsner or IPA?


How do you like your Atlas steak cooked?

Medium rare!

Tell us a secret.

A secret. [laughs] Well, it wouldn't be a secret anymore if I told you!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Great Race Results

Top spot: Adam Barwood
The ski racing competition season is underway and our Alpine skiers, Adam Barwood and Andie Gillings, have had great results over the last few days. 

Adam Barwood got a personal best and a first place podium finish at Treble Cone in the slalom. And it was his 21st birthday!

AndieG was also in action with a podium finish in the New Zealand National Youth Series. Andie came 2nd in the U14 Ladies Slalom Race and then popped into Atlas, with her family, to show us the silverware!

Great work Adam and Andie - we can't wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for you!
Silver medal: AndieG

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Sasquatchs and Super G - five minutes with Andie Gillings

A short while ago we had a chat with Adam Barwood, one of our Atlas sponsored athletes. But Adam is not the only Atlas alpine skier... We are also proud to sponsor AndieG who, along with her Mum and Dad, regularly drops into Atlas after she's been skiing.

Hi there, AndieG and welcome aboard.

Hi and thanks for inviting me to be part of the Atlas athlete family.

Tell us a bit about your skiing.  What do you love about it? 

Well, I'm an alpine ski racer and I'm lucky to be from a skiing family. Both my parents ski and my Dad spent many years working in the mountains so he's always encouraged me to enjoy my skiing from a young age. 

There's a few things I love about my sport, namely being in a wonderful, pristine alpine environment - it's pretty hard to find a better place to enjoy your chosen sport! I love the buzz that speed gives me, especially when racing in my preferred Super G event. I love training with my QAST team mates and our amazing, international coaching team at Coronet Peak.

And what have you achieved so far?

I spent January and February training in British Columbia, Canada at Revelstoke and Silver Star. I had an amazing time, made some great friends and skied some deep snow and really steep terrain. The tree skiing was amazing and I think I saw a Sasquatch!

I managed a 4th place and a 10th place in a Super G event at Silver Star, competing against other girls from various Ski Clubs in British Columbia. I want to do well this season in New Zealand and hopefully make the podium where possible.

What's the remainder of Winter 2013 got in store for you?

Lots! There's the Southern Region Interfield Races and also the NZ National Youth Series Races held at Coronet Peak, Mt Hutt and Cardrona on various weekends. Between race weekends I have a speed camp at Mt Hutt to look forward to along with intensive training at Coronet Peak in early September.

Any other snow sports you're into? Snowboarding? Cross-country skiing?

Not really, I build the odd snowman! I did try x-country skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre while I was in Canada last Summer. That was great fun and if we had more reliable snow to lower levels in NZ I'd like to do more of that.

Where's your favourite place to ski in NZ?

My favourite would have to be Coronet Peak followed closely by Mt Hutt as I can ski fast there.

What do you do when you're not skiing? What are your Summer sports?

I dream about skiing! I like to swim in the lake and I like cooking and baking with my Mum. I like riding my bike but I'm a danger to myself, the general public; all motorists, cats and dogs - so if you see me coming best you get out of the way! I wouldn't say no to a few lessons from Alanna

For people who haven't visited Atlas before, what would you recommend from the menu and what's your favourite thing to eat?

That's the easiest question to answer. Atlas has the best hot chips in Queenstown! My favourite meal has to be the steak, salad and fries meal on a Summer's afternoon after I've been swimming with my mates. Also the Sunday pig roast is pretty awesome.