Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011

Wellington's Newest Brewery... Aussie Invasion... With Canadian Air Support... And a Japanese Stout... New from Hallertau... New from Liberty... Other Goodies... Ice Hockey... A Few Dates...

Wellington's Newest Brewery

Wellington has often been referred to as New Zealand's Craft Beer Capital. Ironically this is usually said by non-Wellingtonians, particularly brewers who simply know where their beer is being sold.

Nevertheless it has been said enough to inspire jealousy and a few dissenters, particularly residents of cities that, unlike Wellington, are blessed with an abundance of local breweries. The Wellington region can boast of the spectacularly successful Tuatara brewery. And there is, of course, the amazing Yeastie Boys, whose production actually takes place in Invercargill. But there's effectively no commercial brewery, craft or industrial, in metropolitan Wellington, unless you count the barely used equipment in the former Temperance.

It's led many of us to wonder why New Zealand's craft beer consumption capital isn't also a production centre. No really good explanation has ever emerged, and it could well be that the simple answer is that no-one has got around to it yet.

That theory is about to gain weight because there are signs that breweries are about to pop up in Wellington like brothels in a gold-mining town.

There was the recent announcement of a brewpub on the site of The Bond Street Inn The Loaded Hog Syn Bar The Ruby Lounge. And we've heard rumours of at least two embryonic commercial breweries in the city. (If the people behind those projects would like to get in touch, make a sales pitch, send samples etc, we'd love to hear from you.)

In addition at least two local businesses whose personnel we know well at Hashigo Zake are planning their first contract brews and we hope to be pouring their beers in the near future.

But probably the most exciting future Wellington brewery that we know of goes by the name Garage Project.

We've seen a lot of the people behind Garage Project and we can tell you that planning has been going on for some time. Jos, Ian and Pete have experience and credentials to burn. They've been absorbing influences from great breweries all over the world, from nano-breweries to giants and have been patiently developing their plans for what seems like a decade.

One of the outcomes of that prolonged planning process is that they are starting defiantly small. The first incarnation of Garage Project will be so small that the term nano-brewery barely seems adequate. Their first beers will be rare. How will beer geeks and collectors track them down? The simple answer is: drink where the brewer drinks. (Or check out the Garage Project's website.)

Aussie Invasion

Some time ago we lent a pallet of kegs to Emerson's to help them send beer to Australia. Late last week those kegs arrived back on our doorstep filled with Anzac goodwill. Or to be more precise:

  • Jamieson The Beast IPA
  • Bridge Rd "The Harvest" Pale Ale
  • Bridge Rd Bière de Garde

We then rushed these goodies into cold storage for us all to enjoy over the coming months. We kept one keg of The Harvest on the premises and this will appear on tap any day.

With Canadian Air Support

While we were shopping for beer in Victoria we refreshed our stocks of a few bottled Quebec beers that are imported into Australia but not here. Shipping products indirectly like this can be fraught, so we've limited ourselves to a handful of exceptional beers that we are confident have travelled well.

  • St Ambroise Oatmeal Stout is generally considered one of the best stouts in the world and was snapped up last time we stocked it.
  • St Ambroise Citrouille (Spiced Pumpkin Ale).
  • Dieu du Ciel Péché Mortel (Coffee Imperial Stout). Again this was snapped up so fast last time that we had to get it back.
  • Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique (Baltic Porter). We don't find an awful lot of Baltic Porters in New Zealand and after trying this we're left wondering why. Imagine a cross between a doppelbock and an imperial porter. An extraordinary beer, but we only have a couple of cases.

And a Japanese Stout

While we were updating our stocks of world class dark beers we snuck in a few cases of Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout. Again, we only have a couple of cases so don't waste any time.

New from Hallertau

After a succession of delays we've finally taken delivery of another all too small order of beer from West Auckland's greatest brewpub. It includes kegs of:

  • Winter Minimus - the session hop-bomb.
  • Maximus - American-style IPA.
  • Barley Wine.

New from Liberty

In terms of variety, Joe Wood may just be the most prolific brewer in the country. Next week we're expecting two new beers from him in kegs, including a hoppy session ale developed in consultation with us, which may be named Welcome Back Ale or Taranaki Session Beer. Or something else.

The other is something pretty special cooked up with a certain high profile figure in the New Zealand craft beer scene. More about that next week.

He's also drip-feeding us information about a collaboration with some of the most famous brewers in Auckland, and we hope to have stock of this in the near future.

Other Goodies

A few of the gems that were just lugged down our stairs and will be on tap soon:

  • Batch 2 of Yeastie Boys Hud-a-Wa' on hand pump then tap (or vice versa, or maybe even simultaneously).
  • Twisted Hop's IPA (on hand pump) AND Sauvin Pils - not bad for a brewpub that's inside the cordon in Christchurch.
  • Golden Eagle's South Island Pale Ale on handpump.
  • Golden Bear Patriot Ale.

Ice Hockey

It was a pleasant surprise last Sunday to find out just how many Canadians there are in Wellington. You're all most welcome back for game five on Saturday afternoon.

A Few Dates

In case anyone was thinking of leaving town...

  • June 21 - Our own Winter Solstice Tasting
  • June 25 - SOBA's Matariki Winter Ale Festival, at the Boatshed
  • July 4 - Our own US Beer Extravaganza
  • August 5/6 - Beervana 2011, complete with new owners, a new format and a new venue - Westpac Stadium
  • August 12, 13, 14 - the first New Zealand Chocolate Festival, at the Intercontinental Hotel
  • October 22, 23 - to be announced


Dan said...

love ya work, let us know when you tap The Beast IPA, was one of my faves whilst living in Melbourne. Any chance of tapping Feral Hop Hog?

Dominic said...

Dan, funny you mention Feral. Stay tuned. I've said too much.

Greig McGill said...

All I can say is I hope y'all like Pumpkin! ;)

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