GET TO KNOW YOUR BEER, PEOPLE
Welcome to Beervana’s You // Drink // This, a brief, beery, bloggy interlude into the lives and loves of New Zealand’s Beer peeps - from the brewers to the publicans, the festival managers to the beer reps, to those on the bottling line to the regulars waiting in line.
#3 MARCH 23RD 2021
It’s the greenest season of the year: fresh hop season. Time to crack open all those hop harvest beers and slightly edgy/tired weed-related puns. To celebrate the hop harvest 2021 vintage, we chat to three beer peeps who are right in the heart of New Zealand’s hop country, Motueka.
Hi, I’m Brent McGlashen from Mac Hops in sunny (most of the time) old Motueka. I am a proud fifth-generation hop farmer, which makes us quite old, I suppose. Before realising that hop farming was in my blood and I couldn’t escape it, I spent several years travelling the world, seeing, meeting and doing things I had always dreamed of.
Back on the farm, we’ve seen many innovations since the craft brew bus came to town. I love meeting and greeting the many brewers and industry representatives that are involved in our really cool, ever-evolving industry.
One of my most favourite beers of all time would have to have been last year’s Panhead green hop beer, Far from Dead. A little biased because it had our hops in it but, by hell, it was a rip-snorter. Currently, Sprig and Fern’s Hazy Days, which is brewed with the new New Zealand Hops Ltd. NZH102 (obviously, there will be a sexier name for this variety when released to the world) variety is one hell of a good session beer. If you’re in the Tasman area, you also can’t go past stopping in at Hop Federation to get a tasty rigger before heading to the beautiful Abel Tasman.
Hmmm, my rant would have to circle around the constant scrutiny that farmers face in this country, predominantly from the media and government. Why would young people want to go back onto farms when you have people constantly climbing on your back trying to drag you to the ground? Well, we are a resilient bunch, so they’re going to have to keep trying!! We have some of the smartest minds in farming in the world - how about we celebrate that and put them on a pedestal? In any one day, a farmer has to be an accountant, electrician, builder, plumber, engineer, agronomist, chemist, vet, councillor, salesperson, computer whizz… and, most importantly, Mum or Dad.
Kia ora, Ron, here! I’m a scientist working for Plant & Food Research at their Regional site in Brooklyn near Motueka, in the heart of the hop growing region. I’m Motueka, born and bred, growing up in the Motueka Valley on my parents’ raspberry farm. Some of my earliest childhood memories were visiting Sid Thorn’s hop garden just up the road after school, where my mum used to help handpick hops. It was a real community activity in late February-March every year (Think H.E. Bates’s Darling Buds of May TV series, set in Kent, United Kingdom).
I’ve always had an interest in plants and rural life, which is part of what drew me to plant science. I’ve been a Hop Breeder for close to 40 years now, and have loved every minute working with this special plant. It’s been a truly rewarding career, breeding new hop cultivars with special flavours that have helped the industry expand rapidly in recent times. My claim to fame would be developing cultivars such as Nelson Sauvin, Riwaka, Motueka, Waimea and many others, most recently Nectaron®. (Editor’s note: Which was in part named for Ron because he is such a hoppy legend - but too modest to say!)
I love the diversity of beers available to us today here in little old Aotearoa NZ. My early memories of beers were from my University days in Palmerston North in the early 1970s, where the culture was to “drink quantity, not quality”! While furthering my university studies in the USA, I became more aware and appreciative of the diversity of beers available, particularly imported beers from Europe. Returning to NZ in the early 1980s, craft beers were scarce, but we were lucky in Nelson to be able to access Mac’s Brewery beers. Needless to say, I became a fan of Black Mac, Mac’s Real Ale and Mac’s Gold. As they say - “drink local”!
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to taste some spectacular beers made right here in NZ. Two of my favourite beer memories were a Festive Lager Special made by Monteith’s with our newly released Riwaka cultivar, and the very first beer using Nelson Sauvin hops by Mac’s Brewery/Lion called AroMac. Another favourite memory was helping Mac’s Brewery with the last fresh (green) hopped Brewjolias beer, brewed at their Stoke, Nelson site in 2008, using our Riwaka hops, which was then showcased at the IBD Asia-Pacific Convention in Auckland. (Editor's note: here are some great photos of the last Brewjolias brew day in 2010 at the former Mac's Brewery in Wellington. Photos by Jed Soane)
Being a true “Hoptimist”, I like beers using lots of hops, especially if they’re our Plant & Food Research-bred cultivars. Who said I’m parochial? Currently, my favourite beers would be various versions of IPAs, using our latest hop Nectaron® (e.g. Cassels Nectaron IPA, Behemoth’s Me Time #5 Nectaron Hazy IPA, McLeod’s Sail Rock Pale Ale) and, locally, my go-to beers (all using our new hop, Nectaron®) would be Sprig & Fern’s Nectaron IPA, Townshend’s Lazy Hazy IPA and Golden Bear’s Stormy (Hazy IPA). In terms of fresh harvest beers, it would be hard to beat Tracy Banner’s Sprig & Fern Harvest Pilsner.
My passion is hops, especially NZ ones! I believe there should be a law that requires all NZ breweries to use copious quantities of our hops. Why wouldn’t you do so anyway? I think the domestic breweries are in the enviable position of having available to them some of the best and uniquely flavoured hops in the world. Bring on those NZ style beers, I say!
When I’m not “thinking hops”, I love watching live sports (especially rugby and cricket), reading thrillers, watching natural history documentaries and Homeland, along with enjoying vacations with my family.
HOP BREEDING & GENETICS,
PLANT & FOOD RESEARCH
FOUNDER & HEAD BREWER
Hi, I’m Simon, Chief Brewer at Hop Federation Brewery, here in Riwaka. Originally from Auckland, we moved down here 7-and-a-half years ago and started up Hop Federation, before selling to Kono in August 2020. After all these years I still have the original team in tow, only now we have expanded our whānau, making for better fun here at the brewery.
I like to keep it nice and simple with a good clean Lager or Pilsner - anything around the 4.5 -5% mark works perfectly for me. If I feel like changing it up, I’ll sit down with a decent West Coast IPA. It takes me back to when I first tried Green Flash West Coast IPA or Bear Republic Racer 5, both just good, clean, solid IPAs. I’m also looking forward to getting stuck into a few pints of Green Limousines in the near future, which is our 2021 Fresh Hop beer we’re producing with Nelson Sauvin, grown here on our own Kono Hop Farms.
It’s no surprise that I’m keen on a spot of mountain biking - how can you not when you live down here, especially with some of the best biking tracks on our doorstep? If all goes well, I’m out there at least three times a week. It keeps the heart pumping and adrenaline rushing. Besides mountain biking, I enjoy hanging out with the family - exploring the Abel Tasman is on the cards too.
#2 MARCH 8TH 2021
The last blog we wrote for You. Drink. This. also happened to be for International Women’s Day. Then 2020 happened. So why not try this all over again and get us in the mood for 2021 with a You. Drink. This. celebrating International Women’s Day? We chat to three women in the New Zealand beer industry about themselves, what they’re drinking and whatever the hell is on their minds at this point in time.
Hi, I'm Jess, co-owner and head brewer of Rhyme x Reason Brewery, Wanaka, NZ. I hail from a small coastal suburb on the east coast of Australia. I grew up surfing, bike riding and camping and found myself chasing snow at the age of 17, professionally brewing by the age of 24, and owning my own brewery by the age of 33.
Our Limoncello Beer blew my mind last year. That was a recipe I had been designing for over five years. I just slowly ticked away at it. I had to pressure myself into pulling the trigger and actually brewing it by offering it as an option for a special beer event. Thank you, New New New, for that pressure! Some of my most memorable dining experiences have ended with a wee glass of Limoncello. Now if I could create a beer that tastes like that, but is more balanced with higher drinkability, I could enjoy a full pint of it... It had to be done. But I wasn't sure if it would actually work out. I had plenty of last-minute help. Literally on brew day, I was calling some of my go-to brewers for answers. Thank you to Brendan Bransgrove, George Duncan and Dave Nicholls for helping bring this beer to life!
Hannibal, Hannibal, Hannibal. I am a fan-ibal. Please, can a TV network say yes to a fourth season? I am so into murder this year. My Favourite Murder podcast is just the best thing to listen to on a road. I hadn't been into thriller or suspense until I gave myself a pretty good knock on the head late last year. Since then I cannot get enough murder!
CO-OWNER AND HEAD BREWER RHYME X REASON BREWERY
I look after all things sales and events for 8 Wired. You can usually find me zooming around the country visiting bars and restaurants or slinging pints at most beer festivals. I was born and bred in the Highlands of Scotland in a wee village called Tongue where I spent most of my time climbing trees and exploring the wilderness before jetting off to Glasgow to become hardened up by city life and partying. I’ve spent the last ten years in New Zealand, most of it in Wellington. Although I always had a love for beer it really became a passion over here.
This may shock you but I actually really like to drink beer. I drink most styles but I do tend to lean towards malt-focused brews. I spent many years in Glasgow where I drank a lot of German beers, with the odd pint of Tennants thrown in for good measure. Not to mention a wee dram (half bottle) of Buckfast on occasion because, well, I am Scottish, after all. I have been blasting to the past lately and enjoying some Weihenstephaner and Erdinger Dunkel which were my go-to back in the day.
I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so nature has always been in me. I am in my happy place when out foraging. I enjoy fishing and scouring beaches and rocks for shellfish and seaweed. My latest foraging adventures have piqued my interest in fungi/mushroom hunting, so I love a walk in the woods, looking down to see what treats I can find. I also love fermenting foods and I have a dedicated fermentation station in my kitchen with various experiments on the go.
Hey, people! My name is Kerry and I’m co-owner of Mean Doses Brewery and Fillery (a.k.a The Boss). I'm born and raised in the magnificent city of Wellington (#Newtown4life) and juggle a day job alongside a family as well as Mean Doses, so life is pretty busy. In my spare time (what the hell is that?!) I try and squeeze in a gym sesh to balance out the beer-drinking, walk my doggie and am currently rewatching The Wire because it is simply the best TV show ever. Starting Mean Doses has been a massive learning curve - both on the business front as well as learning about the complex world of beer. I am so grateful for the amazing beer family that we have gained since we joined the industry - it really is a friendly and supportive community. I love meeting other people who love craft beer too, so come and say hi the next time you’re in Tory Street.
Over summer I went crazy over Duncan’s ice cream sours - I could not get enough of them! I’m also a sucker for a super juicy hazy and love the Garage Project Fresh range (who doesn’t?), and can’t walk past a Baylands Offshore Bandit. There’s also the McLeod’s 802 Series - arrrggghh, I could go on! There are so many damn fine beers out there. Right now I’m totally digging our Mean Lashings Sticky Pecan Bun Cream Ale - if you haven’t tried it, you haven’t lived! Also, I sometimes cheat on craft beer and have a sly G&T. My go-to is Southward Mountain Gin, made in Welly - sooooo good!
I am completely obsessed with my Miniature Pinscher, Sergeant Pepper. She is pretty much the love of my life (I think Dean knows this). You should see the smile on her face and hear the squeals of delight every time I come home. No one else is that pleased to see me - ever. No one. If I’ve had a rough day or crap things are happening in the world around me, it all seems to be OK when I have snuggles with Peps. I just wish she could be with me always.
#1 MARCH 2020
This week, in light of International Women’s Day and a recent Pink Boots Society brew day in Wellington to celebrate said day, we chat to three women in New Zealand beer about themselves, what they’re drinking and whatever the hell is on their minds at this point time.
I’m Operations Manager for The Lumsden Freehouse, Save Ferris, Wood Street Pizzeria and The Village Wines. Alongside that, I'm Chair of Pink Boots New Zealand, organise Fresh Hop Auckland and started the Auckland Beer Mile. Aside from all the beer stuff, I'm all about Bruce Springsteen, an avid watcher of Arrested Development, love to rock a bold nail colour, and despite being so beer-focused, I'm incredibly anti-beards and tattoos. Also, I'm known for being a drunk Etsy shopper (a.k.a. Regretsy).
I love a good Stout - big, boozy and bold. So many great ones out there in New Zealand, but can't go past the beauty that is Epic Coffee and Fig Stout.
My current penchant is listening to hyped-up, crazy motivational speeches over dramatic music. Have become obsessed with the paranoia these motivational speakers have in their head that everyone is dragging them down.
LUMSDEN FREEHOUSE, SAVE FERRIS, WOOD ST PIZZERIA, VILLAGE WINES
Howdy, I'm Stacey, owner of LBQ and Mockingbird. LBQ has been open for almost nine years, so that has been a good run of some amazing beers and brewers. I'm from Dunedin originally but my time spent in Wellington is inching closer to taking over the formative years spent there - although you can't replace my Speights youth and time spent at KC's Bar (it’s in my DNA) - Wellington, with its walkability, eclectic folk and dubious weather, is home.
I'm actually not a full power, danky hop fiend. My favourite styles are a red or brown ale. If 8 Wired would bring back Rewired and Parrotdog would brew me some Bloodhound, I might have to buy it and drink it all. I'm happiest drinking beer with good people. It really does enhance the flavour. I'm liking lower alc beers with a decent body too. Townshend on the handpull and clones of [Emerson’s] Bookbinder types suits me fine. I'll have a whisky too please; Jura for a weekday and anything put in front of me on the weekend. Sharing is caring.
I'm obsessed with finding more balance in life: reading more, hanging out with loved ones, being good to myself... LBQ is heading into its 10th year, so that means a fair bit of reflection. This industry and world is always a bit of a challenge, and navigating that fills in the days. I still love good beer and great people, so life is a win.
I’m originally from West Auckland, but I’ve lived in a few places, including Sydney, Australia; Powell River, BC (Canada), and I’ve been in Wellington (for the second stint) since 2016. I’m on my third career now. I started out in the finance industry, then worked in TV as crew, in theatre as a lighting and sound technician, and now I feel like I’ve found my niche as a brewer. I see it as being a commercial witch of sorts. I brew up science, art and tasty magic. I’ve always been a bit of an oddball and in this industry, it works in my favour. I still do some community theatre on the side and I feel extremely lucky to be following my dual passions; beer and the arts.
When I’m not herding yeast, I’m into tending my small garden, day hiking, knitting (badly), collecting crab and raccoon-related memes, and seeing as much live music as I can afford.
I'm sure this will come as a total surprise, but I am really quite into beer. My first ever beer was an Export Dry at a camp ground in Waihi Beach (I loved it), but I like to think my tastes have become a little more refined since then!
In general, my favourites are IPAs, but shortly after I moved back to Wellington I fell in love with a man over a beer. We locked eyes over our pints of Tainted Love from Fork Brewcorp, “accidentally” made out on the first date and... you can imagine the rest. The man lasted a few months (OK, the name of the beer might have been an omen), but the beer is an enduring favourite of mine to this day. The bright passion-fruit and juicy, wheaty, softly sour base makes my eyes light up and my heart flutter every time.
Don’t tell anyone, but I’m also quite partial to the odd stupidly-expensive Speyside single malt. I can never afford to buy my own bottle, but the whiskey tastings at Regional Wines and Spirits are an affordable way to try a lot of lovely drams while nerding out with like-minded folk.
I'm not just a yeast herder at work; I can often be found making bread and bread-adjacent things at home. While I'm capable of fancy sourdoughs, substantial no-knead grainfests and crispy French loaves, the most versatile dough is my basic white bread recipe. You can do a lot with it - roll balls of it in cinnamon and sugar for monkey bread; bake it in buns in coconut cream and sugar syrup for panipopo; blanch it in baking soda solution to make pretzels. You can roll it, bun it, braid it, cheese it; more or less do anything you like with it.
KERERU BREWING CO
Here's how to make it:
- Bloom two heaped teaspoons of yeast in about a cup and a quarter of warm water with a teaspoon of sugar (whatever kind you have).
- When the yeast begins to foam, add the yeast and water to a large bowl with a generous tablespoon of oil (I like olive, but you do you).
- Combine two cups of flour with a teaspoon of salt and add these to your liquid mixture. It will still be very wet and sticky.
Add more flour in half cup increments until it’s a kneadable consistency, then knead it for ten minutes or until it’s no longer sticky, and you can stretch it thin.
- Coat your big bowl in some oil, and let your dough rise in it, covered with a damp clean tea-towel for an hour in a warm place.
- Once it’s risen, you can shape it and top it however your heart desires! It bakes at 225C for about 20-25 minutes.