Beervana for beer enthusiasts
Wed, 01 Aug 2012 11:02p.m.
By Dave Goosselink
Over 250 brews will be showcased this month, at the country's largest craft beer festival in Wellington.
Beervana will also feature a dozen unique beers, cooked up by experienced brewers in partnership with adventurous journalists.
Emerson's Brewery is one of the pioneers of craft beer in New Zealand, so they were the perfect partner for our entry in the prestigious Beervana Media Brew competition.
Emerson’s senior brewer Chris O’Leary says the competition will be unusual.
“For the media brew we want something really unique and something a little bit exciting. But that also means that there's a little bit of risk involved.”
A coffee and fig beer took out last year's event, so together along with Mr O'Leary, we set about cooking up a unique recipe for the judges.
The media brews are all closely guarded secrets. A challenge for us was blending a mix of pale, dark, and caramel malts, without overpowering our special ingredients.
“This is the exciting thing about brewing, is that sometimes you don't know how it's going to work out.”
Richard Emerson founded the company 20 years ago, the profoundly-deaf brewer a popular character in the industry.
Along with a core line of beers, Emerson's produces a range of seasonal brews and limited editions like the Southern Clams Stout.
“Why not, we've got natural resources right on our doorstep, why not make something with clams,” Mr Emerson says.
That one-off brew is now a seasonal favourite with Mr Emerson encouraging his staff to try out their own recipes in the pilot plant.
“We and the boys we all can have a go, get together, have some fun, try some different flavours. Whether they work or not doesn't matter.”
Reassuring for me, as we blend our crushed malt with hot water into a brown porridge, producing a liquid called wort.
Pellets of hops are then added in three timed stages, producing bitterness, flavour, and aroma.
“Without the hops we wouldn't have that quenching quality of the beer, it'd be too sweet,” Mr O’Leary says.
He says beer trends are seeing people drink less, but focus more on quality and flavour.
That's something we reckon our beer is certainly not short on.
Mr O'Leary admits our brew is an unusual beer - we'll find out if it is to the judges tastes in a fortnight's time at Beervana.
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