Beervana 2013

August 14th, 2013

Beervana: can it keep getting better? I would rate this year as the best yet. Garage Project took stands and stunt beers to new levels, the Festive Brews were inventive, the Media Brews even wackier than ever (Panhead and the Beerhive’s kiwifruit and pavlova beer, Epic’s beer made with jet planes and Steinlager), a plethora of new and old kiwi breweries with plenty of tasty treats, an interesting and varied range of Australian beers (mmm, BrewCult Acid Freaks, a Baltic Porter made with a dash of balsamic vinegar), and the food, oh, the glorious food. I didn’t think the Boulcott Street Bistro’s cider glazed pork belly roll could be beaten (even the bit that fell in my beer was delicious because I had fortuitously matched the roll with Liberty’s How Do You Like Dem Apples?), but the flavours in House of Dumplings’ dumplings made me completely forget that I was there to drink and take photos. And of course the beer, ah the beer. I don’t think I had a bad one all day. I could go on, but Herbertimo has written up a great summary over at The Wellingtonista, which means I can move straight on to showing you photos.

All of this goodness distracted me somewhat from working hard at getting good photos but I did get one photo I am immensely happy with. It’s very rare that I look at the back of my camera and know I have a great shot but this one of Jos Ruffel from Garage Project I couldn’t stop showing people all day. It already has me planning my next exhibition.

Jos Ruffel from Garage_Project making a Fire Poker Blended Cockswain’s Courage Porter. Beervana 2013.

The Garage Project stand at 11:05, Friday morning, before the hordes arrived. Beervana 2013.

Brewer Andy Deuchars from Renaissance Brewery with the trophy for Champion NZ Brewery. Beervana 2013.

Tracy Banner from the Sprig & Fern with her eleven medals from the Brewers Guild of NZ Awards. Beervana 2013.

John Duncan and sons, Matt and Caleb of Founders Brewery. Beervana 2013.

If these gentlemen aren’t musos they should be. Beervana 2013.

Sam Wakelin, a volunteer at Beervana 2013.

More photos from Beervana this year and the past.

Beervana 2013
Beervana 2012
Beervana 2011
Beervana 2010
Beervana 2009

New Wellington Breweries Exhibition

July 30th, 2013

Opening this Saturday, August 3rd, at Hashigo Zake is an exhibition of recent photographs I have taken at the eight new breweries that have started brewing in Wellington in the last two years. Wellington has long been the craft beer consumption capital of New Zealand but has been remarkably quiet on the actual brewing side of things. The nearest breweries were in the Wairarapa and on the Kapiti Coast. Two years have made a huge difference and the eight new breweries are a welcome addition to our craft beer scene.

Come along to the red room at Hashigo Zake from 4pm to see the photos and chat with me over a beer. If you can’t make it on Saturday, the exhibition continues through Choice Beer Week until Sunday the 11th of August. Hashigo Zake will also be hosting the 2nd birthday celebration of The Garage Project on Saturday night so it should be a highly entertaining evening.

As a warm-up for the exhibition here are a few photos that didn’t make the cut:

Lester Dunn empties the mash tun after the first brew at the Fork & Brewer. Septemper 18, 2012.


Pete Gillespie and Jos Ruffel plan The Garage Project’s calendar. Aro Valley, April 28, 2013.


Chris Mills keeps an eye on his brew of For Great Justice at Kereru Brewing.Upper Hutt, June 20, 2013.


Aidan Styles check the gravity of the wort. Baylands Brewery, Newlands, June 25, 2013.


Dale Cooper, brewer at Black Dog Brew Co. Te Aro, June 30, 2013.


Shiggy Takagi and Dan Lord, of the Funk Estate, check the instructions for their beer gun before filling bottles of Super Afro-disiac. Massey University, Palmerston North, July 14, 2013.


Matt Warner checks the mash at ParrotDog Brewery. Te Aro, July 19, 2013.


Matt Kristofski in the steam at ParrotDog Brewery. Te Aro, July 19, 2013.


Mike Neilson checks the mash at Panhead Brewery. Upper Hutt, July 20, 2013.


Mike Neilson at Panhead Brewery. Upper Hutt, July 20, 2013.

The Little Big Brewery

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!

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.


Congratulations to Emerson’s Brewery

November 7th, 2012

Congratulations to Richard Emerson and the crew at Emerson’s Brewery in Dunedin. I hope the Lion NZ buyout means fewer worries about growth and distribution and more time to focus on brewing more of your outstanding beers.

I visited Emerson’s with my camera in the winter of 2010. I accompanied Kieran Haslett-Moore to document the brewing of the first Regional Special Bitter, a collaboration between Regional Wines and Spirits and Emerson’s Brewery. Photos from those brew days are already online. Yesterday’s news of the buyout reminded me that there were other photos from Emerson’s that I have been meaning to add. Below are a few of my favourites. There are more in the gallery.

Richard Emerson. Dunedin, June 22, 2010.


Richard Emerson Empties a Mash Tun. Dunedin, 2010.


James Falconer keeping the brewery tidy. Emerson’s Brewery, Dunedin, 2010.


Morning Tea. Chris “Father” O’Leary tests a beer from one of the conditioning tanks. Emerson’s Brewery, Dunedin, 2010.


Lunch. Chris “Father” O’Leary and James Falconer taking a quick break for lunch. Emerson’s Brewery, Dunedin, 2010.


Emerson’s Bottling Line. Dunedin, 2010.


Boxing-up bottles at Emerson’s Brewery. Dunedin, 2010.