Hawkes Bay Brewers

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.

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.

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.

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