Archive for August, 2015

A Short Road to Beeervana

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Beervana is only one sleep away. This post was meant to appear a week ago to slowly ease you into this week’s events, a Pacific ale to make you realise how thirsty you really were, but now there is only time to throw an imperial IPA in your face before force-feeding you an iStout ice cream float. Go get a ticket to Beervana now, if you haven’t already. Quick, before I feel the need to break out the sours.

I recommend getting the Beervana app to help you get the most out of the festival. I am a little biased here. My day job is leading the mobile development team at Powershop and we were responsible for putting the app together. In our spare time we knocked off some of the rough edges from last year’s version of the app and even added a cool new feature: Untappd integration, which will save you badge-loving freaks the the drudgery of double-entering your reviews. And, of course, make a wish list of all the beers you want to try so you don’t forget them by the end of the session. Enjoy!

The Beervana 2015 app for iOS and Android.

Now, to get to the point before Beervana 2016 gets here, here are a few of my favourite photos from Beervana last year (if you just want to see even more you can just go straight here).

Pete Gillespie of Garage Project mixes some beer ice cream using liquid nitrogen.

Denise Ratfield (Pink Boots San Diego coordinator), Tracy Banner (head brewer at Sprig & Fern) and Ava Wilson, the brewer behind The Beer Baroness, at the Pink Boots Society Bar.

It was cold at Westpac Stadium for Beervana 2014. Ski gear was a good call.

Cassels & Sons’ bar.

Sean Burke from the Commons Brewery in Portland.

Joe Wood, head brewer at Liberty Brewing.

Kieran Haslett-Moore, head brewer at North End Brewery.

Some very serious drinkers.

A maniacal brewer. Dylan Shearer from Funk Estate.

Dylan Jauslin, of The Bottleneck fame, wearing a great jacket, talking to SOBA president David Wood.

Love is all you need. And beer. And possibly some dumplings.

If you want to see even more here you go. Make sure you say hi if you see me at Beervana. I’ll be the one with a beer in one hand and a camera in the other.

Hawkes Bay Brewers

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Beer and mandarins.

Life at The Beer Project has been pretty intense in the last few months, by my laid-back standards at least. I have been chipping away at something that I have been putting off for a long time. It is something that doesn’t come easily to me but I am determined to get it done. Many beers have been sacrificed along the way to keep me going and my sanity has been preserved by attending few good beery events.

One event I was very disappointed to miss was the Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge. In a highly uncharacteristic bout of organisation, I had booked a family trip to the Hawkes Bay to visit relatives for the last few days of the school holidays. Although I was disappointed when I realised I would miss catching up with friends at Malthouse’s big night, it was OK because I had exciting Beer Project work to do.

Whenever I go on holiday I try to photograph a brewery to add to my collection. I knew there were two or three in Hawkes Bay but when I did a bit more research I was pleasantly surprised to discover seven breweries. After a few emails trying to line up two of them to photograph, I ended up with five visits planned over three days. I’ll cover each brewery here separately over the next few weeks but for now I’ll give you a quick overview.

Zeelandt (pronounced Zay-land)
Big IPAs and extreme beers don’t interest Chris Barber. He brews a solid range of European-inspired beers, all subtle and well-balanced.

John, the assistant brewer, checking the bottling machine.

Chris Barber, owner and head brewer of Zeelandt Brewery.

Roosters
Hawkes Bay’s original brewery bar. I remember occasionally seeing Roosters Dark at Regional Wines and Spirits in Wellington a few years ago, but 90% of their beer is served at their bar.

Darryl Tong, head brewer at Roosters.

Darryl Tong, head brewer at Roosters.

Brave Brewing
Matt Smith was Champion Brewer at the SOBA National Home Brew Competition in 2013. This was enough to convince him to go commercial. He now has a 300L brewery in his garage and has just quit his day job to commit himself to brewing full-time.

Matt weighs grain for the brew.

Matt mixes the yeast in the fermenter on his trial batch of an oatmeal stout.

Matt Smith, owner and head brewer at Brave Brewing.

Giant Brewing Co.
A very small operation brewing on a 50L Farra system with the odd batch contract-brewed at Roosters. I love their logo and labels.

Chris Ormond caps a bottle of Giant beer.

Chris Ormond labels a beer.

Godsown
An engineer with a dream. Godfrey was working in Nigeria when the government started blocking beer imports. This led him to start home brewing. Now he and his wife Rachel are close to opening a brewery in Maraekakaho.

Godfrey Quemeneur, co-owner and brewer at Godsown Brewery.