Won­der­ful, weird and wacky beers to tempt your palate

Weekend Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Har­ris

A few strange- tast­ing beers will be poured at the up­com­ing Great Aus­tralasian Beer SpecTAPu­lar — with drops fea­tur­ing in­gre­di­ents as di­verse as co­gnac, to­bacco, dou­ble smoked bone mar­row, rasp­ber­ries, chill­ies, salted caramel and kina.

The fes­ti­val i s com­ing to Auck­land’s ASB Show­grounds for its sec­ond year on June 16 and 17.

It made head­lines last year with a belly­but­ton- fluff beer. Three Aus­tralian brew­ers har­vested their belly­but­ton fluff, cul­ti­vated yeast from it and then chose the best one to go with, GABS founder Steve Jaf­fares ex­plained.

“It wasn’t a ter­ri­ble beer but it kinda went vi­ral,” Jaf­fares told the Week­end Herald. “There are a hand­ful who get su­per cre­ative. But the vast ma­jor­ity are much more palat­able.”

Jaf­fares said more com­mon in­gre­di­ents in­cluded cit­rus or stone fruit, chilli, choco­late and cof­fee.

More than 50 brew­eries and 300 beers will be rep­re­sented at the fes­ti­val. There will be 80 fes­ti­val beers and ciders — drops that have never been brewed be­fore — as well as food stalls, en­ter­tain­ment, and a “Craft Col­lege” beer school.

Welling­ton brew­ery Funk Es­tate founder Jor­dan Evi­son will be show­ing eight beers at the fes­ti­val, in­clud­ing a pink IPA.

“We just thought it’d be some­thing a bit out there.

“It’s about in­no­vat­ing, keep it ex­cit­ing . . . Keep in­vent­ing pretty much.”

The fes­ti­val started in 2011 in Aus- Ch­est­nuts, chill­ies and plenty of caramel flavours to blend it all to­gether. The re­sult is sweet and nutty with a bit of heat. A Bel­gian style white sweet stout tralia as a way to pro­mote brew­ers’ cre­ativ­ity and Jaf­fares brought it to Auck­land last year.

“We work hard to pro­vide an en- made from goat’s cheese whey, cof­fee, roasted choco­late nibs and vanilla. The lac­tose- rich whey adds body to the beer. A light IPA with trop­i­cal/ cit­rus hoppy good­ness. They’ve used hi­bis­cus, rose­hips, pink pep­per­corn and pink grape­fruit to get a de­li­ciously pink drink. vi­ron­ment for peo­ple to try new things. They find new flavours, brew­ers and beers they haven’t con­tem­plated be­fore.”

Beer fa­nat­ics can taste a tip­ple with beer sam­ples served on pad­dles. Each 85ml glass costs around $ 2.20 or $ 11 for five.

“By try­ing small sam­ples peo­ple are more open to tak­ing risks.”

Jaf­fares said they don’t en­cour­age peo­ple to try every beer but some still at­tempt it. With beers that can range up to 22 per cent al­co­hol some pints pack a mighty punch.

“It’s never a good idea to try every beer.”

Satur­day evening may be the most pop­u­lar ses­sion with a screen­ing of the Maori All Blacks vs the Lions on giant screens through­out the fes­ti­val hall.

Tick­ets start at $ 40 for a sin­gle ses­sion or $ 120 for a fes­ti­val pass.

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