New Zealand Founders | 1981 Pale Ale
Quietly perched on the north side of the south island of New Zealand, a lesser-known Founders Brewery company sits 8,500 miles from everyone’s favorite Founders out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and 143 years its senior. As a close disciple of the American Founders, I was implored to experience its far removed Kiwi cousin. With over a century more brewing experience and a reputation that precedes them, I had high expectations.
Founders began making beer long before New Zealand was a country, when a ship of newcomers arrived to the island and simultaneously became both brewers and mayors in the small town of Nelson. Some of their recipes date all the way back to those first pioneers. My choice of the day was more recent, dating back to only 1981.
The Founders 1981 Pale Ale was inspired by the American craft beer movement and its then cutting edge pale ales. It was meant to provide refreshment for the cutting edge folks in Silicon Valley, who were also making waves in their own industry at this time. Although I find it hard to believe that much of this particular brew made it all the way across the Atlantic into the hands of glassy-eyed coders, I certainly appreciate that this little brewery at the bottom of the world brewed a beer inspired by, and created for, Americans.
I chose to enjoy this particular brew in the company of sheep instead of computers. Sheep are much easier to come by in this particular corner of the world, and I must say that this pale ale pairs perfectly with an afternoon stroll through a sheep paddock. It’s golden, refreshing and unassuming. Mild hops give way to orange and wheat tones and an abbreviated bittersweet finish, which gives way to another, and another. Time moves a little slower in New Zealand, and we all know breathtaking views are best appreciated with a solid brew, or six.