Archive for the ‘Brewer Portraits’ Category

Wild & Woolly Brewing

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Many breweries have popped up around Wellington in the last three years. This has been convenient for The Beer Project because I haven’t been able to get out of Wellington to photograph breweries as often as I’d like. Recently two brewers, Llew Bardecki of Wild & Woolly Brewing, and Annika Naschitzki of Tiamana Brewery, have joined forces and finances to create a shared brewery in the suburb of Mt Cook, only two hundred metres from my office. Even more convenient.

The Wild & Woolly name could be equally well inspired by it’s handsomely dishevelled owner, Llew, or his wonderfully inventive brews. A 2.5% Berlinner weisse is already an unusual style in New Zealand, but add kaffir lime leaf, lemon zest and Thai basil, then you definitely have a wild and wacky, but incredibly tasty, beer. The brewery officially launched at Hashigo Zake with a beer named Silver Cat Angry Gummy Bear White Stout, an absurd and previously non-existent concept beer invented by Dylan Jauslin in a parody post about the top 20 beers you must try before you die. Just the type of challenge Llew enjoys.

Llew has been inspired by relatively normal (and existent) beers too. Early in his home brew career Llew tasted Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black and loved it so much he decided to make a clone. It turned out pretty well. Today he was brewing that hoppy porter again. To celebrate the beer’s origin Llew is wearing a Yeastie Boys t-shirt. “An observation I’ve made, and Stu [McKinlay of the Yeastie Boys] will like this, is that brewers are like bands: they will wear t-shirts of other brewers while they work,” a particularly apt simile given most of the Yeastie Boys beers being inspired by songs.

Llew expects this brew to hit the limit of what the mash tun can comfortably hold. Mashing-in starts well but the mash temperature end up too high. Llew starts adding buckets of cold water to bring the the temperature down. The mash level gets dangerously close to the top before the temperature is close. Deft use of the mash paddle blends the cold water with the warm, and the correct temperature is reached without a drop spilt

A few weeks later I return. Llew is transferring the base beer for his Pacific Beer Expo beer into a white wine barrel for three weeks. It is a blonde ale so there is plenty of time to impart a subtle oak flavour that shouldn’t overpower the beer. It will be dry hopped with Pacifica hops and mandarin closer to the festival. As the beer is transferred Llew cleans a few kegs. Everything runs smoothly. The brewery is hosed down.

Llew is wearing his Yeastie Boys t-shirt again so we finish the night with a portrait, one to confound future beer historians.

A path is formed by laying one stone at a time

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Saturday was the second birthday party of Golding’s Free Dive. We headed along for a couple of drinks amongst friends and the Golding’s family. Among the staff favourites put on for the party I tried many good strong and intensely-flavoured beers: 8 Wired Super Conductor, Kereru Velvet Boot, Ballast Point Victory at Sea, and Wild & Woolley Silver Cat Angry Gummy Beer White Stout, but it was the beer I had from the handpull after Phil Cook’s favourite, Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta, ran out that I enjoyed the most: Four Avenues Half Nelson. The antithesis of the others, lower alcohol and subtler flavours, which made for an incredibly nice contrast.

Inexplicably I had left my camera at home, an inexcusable oversight on my part, but it did mean I could relax and enjoy the moment (and the Darth Vader melted helmet cake). That didn’t stop my brain from imagining photos. A man sat down next to me and I couldn’t help thinking he would be a perfect subject for a new series of photos I’d like to take one day, if I ever have any spare time outside of my day job and The Beer Project.

By the time he got up to leave I had enough beer-fuelled courage to ask him what he did for a living (an important part of the future project) and if I could take his photo sometime. Thankfully I wasn’t too drunk or creepy enough for him to call security. He was a tattooist – Simon Morse. I remembered he was tattooing people at the Panhead stand at Beervana. I even have a photo of him doing it. He mentioned he also designs some of Panhead’s cool labels too.

While gardening yesterday I had a great idea (that’s where I tend to come up with a lot of good ideas. A lot of bad ones too, but if I’m still thinking about them while having a post-gardening beer I know they’re usually good ones). I should photograph Dr Morse sketching ideas for a new Panhead label. Then it would fit in with The Beer Project and I might actually find time to take them. Genius.

That night the mighty Facebook timeline algorithm decided to randomly show me a post from Simon: a pencil sketch of the designs for the new and beautiful Panhead Canheads. A quote from my favourite TV show popped into my head: “Gentlemen. When two separate events occur simultaneously pertaining to the same object in inquiry we must always pay strict attention.” It was a sign! (A sign that I was too late for to photograph those designs, but there will always be more labels.) Now to make it happen.

These events have also reminded me that I haven’t posted the photos I took of Mike Neilson at Panhead almost two years ago. My favourite photo from the shoot might be familiar. It was in my exhibition New Wellington Breweries at Hashigo Zake during Choice Beer Week in 2013, in my All Tomorrows Breweries exhibition at the Catfish bar during Melbourne’s Good Beer Week last year, and has appeared in a few publications and here on my blog of course. Here it is again, one of my all-time favourites.

It was a short shoot, just a couple of hours. I can get some great single shots on short shoots but to get a solid series about a brewery I prefer to spend a whole brew day or, even better, multiple visits, to get a much broader view and more inventive photos. Given that Panhead Brewery has grown considerably since then, it would be great to revisit them one day.

Here are some other favourites.

I love the rim lighting around Mike’s head and arms and the way the backlight highlights the water spray in this one.

Here I like the strong flash light being diffused by the malt bag.

Here’s a shot just for Dylan Jauslin. Mike pours a Port Road Pils (I think it was the first ever batch brewed in the new brewery). If only you could taste photos this would be a good one.

Check out the rest of the photos from the shoot.

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.


The Beer Project Exhibition

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The first ever Beer Project Exhibition opens at 5pm on Monday, March 5th, at cult beer bar Hashigo Zake. Come along, enjoy a beer, and check out photos of some of New Zealand’s brewing legends. I’d love to see you there. If you can’t make it on opening night then the photos will remain up through until closing time on Tuesday, March 13th.

The exhibition is a fundraiser to help cover some of my costs in getting to a photography workshop with Magnum photographer Trent Parke, in Fremantle later in March. See my earlier post for more details. All prints will be for sale.

Many thanks to Dom from Hashigo Zake for coming up with the idea and offering to host the exhibition. Thanks to 8 Wired and Yeastie Boys for supplying beer for the exhibition opening.

Brewers At Work, photos by Jed Soane. March 5th to 13th. Hashigo Zake.

In Threes

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Pete Gillespie (left) and Jos Ruffell (right) of the Garage Project, with Nøgne Ø head brewer, Kjetil Jikiun (centre). November 21, 2011, Wellington.

L-R: Søren Erikson of 8 Wired Brewing Co., Kjetil Jikiun, head brewer at Nøgne Ø, and Andy Deuchars of Renaissance Brewing, collaborating on a brew at Renaissance Brewery in Blenheim. November 23, 2011

The Moa Front Row. Brewery operators Josh (left) and Sam (right), with head brewer and hooker, Dave Nicholls (centre). November 24, 2011, Marbourough.