Archive for June, 2013

The Little Big Brewery

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

A few nights ago I made a comment on Twitter about photographing a brewery in a tight space. This led to an amusing “mine’s smaller than yours” contest amongst some brewers before soon reverting back to the usual order of “mine’s bigger than yours”. There is a brewery that can lay claim to winning both of these contests in Wellington: the commercial brewery with the biggest brewhouse also has the smallest brewing capacity, at least for another week or two: Kereru Brewing in Upper Hutt.

Until recently Chris Mills has been brewing 100L batches at his home in Silverstream but after struggling to cope with demand, Chris and his wife Natasha decided to invest in a new 1800L brew kit. This meant finding a commercial space that would be suitable to house a brewery. The building they found in Upper Hutt, an old Feltex linoleum factory, is certainly big enough for future expansion, probably for all of Wellington’s breweries.

I had been keen to photograph Kereru in their new home since seeing a photo that Chris posted to Facebook, of his small brew kit in the middle of a very large space. I thought the contrasting scale would make for some good photos. Stupidly, I forgot to take many of those photos. Here’s one that kind of gives you a sense of scale.

Chris calculates how many fermenters it would take to fill the brewhouse. Answer? A lot! Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.

The small brew kit has been busy as Chris readies all the beer he needs leading up Beervana. With beer in the tanks he will be able to give his full attention to setting up the new brewery kit when it arrives around the 7th of July. The day I was there Chris was brewing a beer for the SOBA Mid-Winter Ale Festival, a toasted coconut porter called “For Great Justice”. He had also made a delicious pea and ham soup for lunch that fed hungry photographers and contractors. (Thanks for that and the recipe, Chris).

More photos from brew day are below. There are even more in this gallery.

Small brewery, large space. Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.

 

Chris Mills mills the grain for a brew. Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.

 

Weighing hops to add to the kettle. Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.

 

Measuring the gravity of the wort. Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.

 

Small fermenter, large space. Ancient forklift. Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.

I think I need to work harder on finding new angles. These two photos were taken almost two hours apart and are a little too similar.

 

I heard the news today, oh beard!

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

The news I heard last night of the demise of Pete Gillespie’s stylish beard has spurred me into action. I had stopped in at Garage Project to purchase a couple of bottles of Death From Above to celebrate finishing a long-running project (sadly neither beer nor photography-related). I was chatting with Jos who casually told me that I had just missed Pete and had probably walked past him without recognising him: his beard was no more, it had ceased to be, it was an ex-beard, etc. Jos then showed me Pete’s photos of the amusing facial hairstyles that you make when you trim off your beard. These photos are the second best reason for growing a beard in the first place (the first, of course, being that a beard makes you look devilishly handsome).

Seeing these photos reminded me it was time to finish sorting out and posting some shots I took at the brewery a few weeks ago, before you all forget that Pete ever even had a beard and wonder who the hell the dapper man bearing an uncanny resemblance to Lord Cockswain is in these photos.

Pete, being the all-round good guy brewer that he is (admittedly I am starting to wonder if that is a tautology because I am yet to meet a bad guy brewer) was happy to to have me lurking around the brewery for a few hours occasionally blinding him with my hidden flash or forcing him to stare into the distance for a brooding portrait.

When I wasn’t trying to take arty shots of the ephemeralness of foam or the graceful lines of a bottling machine I did manage to get a few good shots of Pete, Jos, and Phil hard at work making and selling the beers you all love. With beards.

Pete Gillespie, brewer, staring into the distance for a brooding portrait. Garage Project, Aro Street, Wellington, 2013.

 

Pete pours a sample from a fermenter. Garage Project, Aro Street, Wellington, 2013.

 

Cleaning the mash tun. Garage Project, Aro Street, Wellington, 2013.

 

Pete and Jos making plans. Garage Project, Aro Street, Wellington, 2013.

 

Phil Cook updates the cellar door whiteboard. Garage Project, Aro Street, Wellington, 2013.

 

Checking out the artwork for Death From Above, a beer brewed for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular in Melbourne. Garage Project, Aro Street, Wellington, 2013.

 

The graceful lines of a bottling machine. Garage Project, Aro Street, Wellington, 2013.

 

The ephemeralness of foam. Garage Project, Aro Street, Wellington, 2013.

 

There are plenty more photos to see if you haven’t had enough beards.