Archive for the ‘Brewers’ 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.

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.


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.

Nøgne Ø – Garage Project Collaboration

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Garage Project have been impressing and confounding Wellington beer drinkers nearly every Tuesday at Hashigo Zake since they launched their first beers on August 2nd. Yesterday they brewed a beer to continue this trend in collaboration with Norway’s first microbrewery, Nøgne Ø. Founder and head brewer Kjetil Jikiun was in Aro Valley with Pete and Jos to brew a New Zealand Christmas Rye Blond with Pohutukawa honey.

Here are my favourite photos from the day.

If you enjoyed those then there are plenty more photos to see.

NZ Craft Beer TV Visits Wellington

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

NZ Craft Beer TV are nearing the end of their epic circumnavigation of New Zealand. Luke Nicholas and Kelly Ryan of Epic Brewing, with the help of their film crew, Scott and Jacob, have visited and filmed most of the country’s breweries and many of the great beer bars in just eighteen days. This effort easily doubles the number of breweries I have managed to visit in as many months!

I missed catching up with Luke and Kelly in Golden Bay and Nelson due to some sad events but managed to snap a few photos of them at the end of the Wellington leg of their tour.

The unstoppable NZ Craft Beer TV crew, halted by missing campervan keys.

Jacob photographs Kelly, Stu (Yeastie Boy B), and Luke in the parking lot beside Hashigo Zake.

I call this one “Guess the Colour of Stu’s Pants”.

Check out the trailer for the South Island leg of their journey. I can’t wait to see the finished series.

[Update] By popular demand here is a picture of Stu’s butt pants in their full-colour glory.