Re­gion brew­ing up a rev­o­lu­tion

Is a mem­ber of the So­ci­ety of Beer Ad­vo­cates or SOBA which was formed by a group of beer lovers who wanted to en­cour­age the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of craft beers. This is his love let­ter to the bur­geon­ing craft beer in­dus­try in the Nel­son Tas­man re­gion.

The Leader (Nelson) - - YOUR HEALTH -

Last year ac­cord­ing to ANZ beer con­sump­tion fell by 3 per cent yet the mar­ket share of craft beers grew from 3 to 15 per cent low al­co­hol, yet flavour­some beers have grown 105 per cent in sales.

Here in Nel­son and Tas­man we have some 70 bars and cafes where they are sold as well as su­per­mar­kets where craft beer sales have in­creased from 1 per cent to 30 per cent and an­other 17 per cent of over­all sales.

At one time it was just bearded 30 some­things who bought craft beers but now it is 20 -60 some­things with more and more of th­ese be­ing fe­males who are dis­cov­er­ing the many var­ied flavours and it is ac­cept­able for them to be seen drink­ing beer, even in pint glasses.

Rig­gers can now be filled at some Liquor­land stores and the Craft Beer De­pot in Achilles St.

Macs beers are now brewed by Lion as the brew­ery here was too small to meet the grow­ing de­mand in Lion bars and bot­tle shops. The recipes they use are still as Tracy Ban­ner, now owner of Sprig and Fern cre­ated them with some ad­di­tions. Emer­son’s beers are still brewed by Richard Emer­son in a brand new brew­ery in Dunedin built by Lion.

The 6th gen­er­a­tion of the Dun­can fam­ily, con­tinue to brew at Founders Park although their bot­tled beers are brewed in Auckland to recipes de­vised by the Dun­cans.

Martin Town­shend of Up­per Moutere, hav­ing been crowned cham­pion New Zealand brewer in 2015 now has some of his beers made un­der con­tract by Tu­atara, an­other larger craft brewer, in Auckland. Some Mus­sel Inn beers are brewed un­der con­tract due to de­mand out­strip­ping abil­ity to brew.

The McCashin fam­ily, hav­ing sold the name Macs, now brews two new ranges of beer un­der the Stoke la­bel with their prod­ucts go­ing all over New Zealand and abroad. They also con­tract brew for other smaller brew­ers. To­tara at Wake­field are unique in that they are the only brew­ery, prob­a­bly in the world that grows its own hops.

New hop fields are be­ing planted to meet the world­wide de­mand for New Zealand hops and a re­search cen­tre in Ri­waka is de­vel­op­ing new va­ri­eties with dif­fer­ent flavours, re­sis­tance to dis­ease bet­ter crop­ping and so on.

There is no of­fi­cial def­i­ni­tion but to my mind it is a beer that has been pro­duced by an in­di­vid­ual or in­di­vid­u­als who know and love the sub­ject, has the abil­ity to choose and blend the many hop va­ri­eties and malts made from both bar­ley, wheat and other grains that are found lo­cally here as well as from around the world.

The only other in­gre­di­ent is wa­ter. This can af­fect the flavour. This is taken ei­ther from the lo­cal sup­ply which as you know can vary in taste or from an arte­sian well on the brew­ery site. Town­shends and Stoke have this fa­cil­ity.

One def­i­ni­tion of a craft brewer is that it can­not be more than 25 per cent owned by a larger brewer, nor­mally just a few en­thu­si­asts who love and like beer.

Hops are the nat­u­ral preser­va­tive in beer so any beers ad­ver­tised as hav­ing no preser­va­tives must mean that they don’t use hops, so how do they make beer?

Craft Brew­ers do not need to spend money on ad­ver­tis­ing or cut price deals. Most have dif­fi­culty in keep­ing pro­duc­tion up to meet de­mand.

They are ‘batch brewed’ not brewed by a con­tin­u­ous flow process.

A ‘Real Ale’ is nei­ther fil­tered nor pas­teurised but it only has a life of a few days, once the cask has been tapped and some of the contents served. Then only has a life of maybe 2-3 weeks once it has been brewed and put into casks.

Part of this is to al­low it to ma­ture. Dur­ing this time it also un­der­goes a sec­ondary fer­men­ta­tion that pro­duces car­bon diox­ide and in­creases the a.b.v. (al­co­hol by vol­ume or strength) af­ter this it turns to vine­gar.

The CO2 gives the beer its nat­u­ral sparkle in the glass and on the tongue. Sec­ondary fer­men­ta­tion can be found in some bot­tled beers. They have to be poured very care­fully so as to leave the sed­i­ment in the neck of the bot­tle. They are of course not pas­teurised. This sed­i­ment is not in any­way harm­ful, it just looks cloudy.

The cost of craft beers is higher be­cause they cost more to pro­duce, the in­gre­di­ents are bought in smaller quan­ti­ties than the ‘big boys’ and are usu­ally served in Im­pe­rial pint glasses which in NZ are not le­gal but should be called 570ml glasses which are about 20 per cent larger than the NZ ‘han­dle’.

The higher price is com­pen­sated for by the fact that the drinker will be sat­is­fied with fewer pints and the clien­tele are less likely to be ob­streper­ous - , loud, yes but not un­pleas­antly so.


One of the beers on tap at Nel­son’s Free­house.

26092016 NEWS Photo: MAR­ION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ A tast­ing tray of beer at McCashins Brew­ery.

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