Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3, 2011

Celebrity Visitor... Speaking of Scandinavian Beer.. Townshend Tasting... Hard Act To Follow... Spiced Beer Season...

Celebrity Visitor

This month we're organising what is for us a completely new kind of venture. We invited Kjetil Jikiun, founder and head brewer at Norway's Nøgne Ø, to come and visit New Zealand as our guest and he has accepted.

We think the Nøgne Ø story is of uncanny relevance to New Zealand's booming craft brewing sector. Kjetil started the Nøgne Ø brewery with no justifiable expectation of success - Norway had little history of craft brewing, a conflicted attitude to alcohol consumption and high excise tax. But by producing beers of uncompromising character and quality and taking advantage of export markets early on the brewery survived and helped foster the local market which is now more accepting.

(For more background on the brewery, read this blog entry.)

Kjetil will only be in New Zealand for a short time and we're trying to show him around and introduce him to some local brewers. But we're organising one major public event :- we're collaborating with our neighbour (and landlord!) Zibibbo restaurant on a meal so extravagant that rather than call it a degustation or beer dinner, we're calling it a Banquet.

One of many highlights of the banquet will be serving the result of a previous Nøgne Ø collaboration. A year ago Kjetil and Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller visited Scotland's Brewdog where they came up with a hybrid of their respective uber-strong imperial stouts - Mikkeller Black, Brewdog Tokyo* and Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon. The result was Black Tokyo* Horizon and we're looking forward to trying it with dessert.

The Nøgne Ø - Zibibbo - Hashigo Zake Banquet takes place on Sunday, November 20 at 7pm. Tickets will cost $165 ($150 to SOBA members) and will be on sale at Hashigo Zake from Monday November 7. Places are limited.

Speaking of Scandinavian Beer..

It's been a while since we took delivery of anything new from Mikkeller. That just changed because as this is being written a pallet has arrived at our chilled warehouse. Unlike previous batches from Mikkeller, this shipment is mainly made up of kegged beer, which means that we'll soon be offering the likes of 1000IBU, Big Worse Barleywine and Black on tap. Yes you read that right. We may have to revisit our policy of not serving shots...

Townshend Tasting

To those of our customers sporting English accents it's likely that Martin Townshend is our most popular supplier. Martin is an ex-pat pom himself who has turned his hobby into a mission to create authentic English-style ales at his small brewery in Rosedale, Nelson. Those beers have become a mainstay on our beer engines.

It is a pleasure then to host a tasting dedicated to celebrating Martin's contribution to the New Zealand craft beer scene and work our way through most or perhaps all of his range.

This tasting will take place at 6:30pm on November 29. Tickets cost $35. You can book and pay at the bar or at

Hard Act to Follow

This week's Garage Project release broke all their previous sales records (gone in about 70 minutes) and it may just have been the most universally popular. So the chilli chocolate black lager was a welcome reminder that experimentation can yield great results, since a few people with hyper-sensitive palates seemed to struggle with the green coffee bean saison.

So suddenly expectations must be high again when the guys wander in next week with Home Bake. It's described as a spiced roast kumera ale, playing on the new tradition of pumpkin beers (that should arguably be called cinnamon/nutmeg beers) that often appear at this time of year. Apparently cubes of kumera were tossed in brown sugar, roasted until caramelised, then thrown into the boil with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla beans.

It does beg the question - if and when these Garage Project experiments are scaled up to a much bigger plant, will they employ assistant brewers or kitchen hands?

Spiced Beer Season

Continuing on the theme of seasonal spiced beers, we can provide updates on a couple of beers of interest to many of you.

  • The remains of our single keg of Brewaucracy Bean Counter, the vanilla bean infused porter that was released at the Pacific Beer Expo, are on tap right now.
  • A single 20L keg of the second batch of Brewaucracy Punkin Image Limited is in our clutches. We thought of getting it out for Halloween, but have been advised that the fourth Thursday of November will be a more fitting occasion for it.

Greig McGill of Brewaucracy assures us that it was never his intention to create a brewery dedicated to spiced beers and that something far more experimental and less spicy is on its way.


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