A toast to a good brew

Hot stuff: Art of Pizza owner Chris Chevalier and Kereru Brewing Company owner Chris Mills with a beer that won a silver medal at the Brewers Guild of New Zealand awards.
Hot stuff: Art of Pizza owner Chris Chevalier and Kereru Brewing Company owner Chris Mills with a beer that won a silver medal at the Brewers Guild of New Zealand awards.

Coconut toasted in a friend's wood-fired pizza oven was the special ingredient in an Upper Hutt brewer's award-winning beer.

For Great Justice, brewed by Silverstream craft brewery Kereru Brewing Company, was awarded a silver medal in the flavoured and aged styles category at the Brewers Guild of New Zealand awards.

There were 541 entries in the annual awards, which recognise excellence in the New Zealand brewing industry.

Kereru owner Chris Mills said several different types of malt, hops and coconut were used in the beer.

Faced with the challenge of toasting large amounts of coconut, Mr Mills asked his friend Chris Chevalier if he could use his wood- fired pizza oven.

The oven was custom-built and includes lava rock from Mt Ruapehu as well as stones from Hutt River.

Mr Mills said smoke from the manuka wood used to fuel the oven gave the beer a great flavour.

"The coconut was delicious and I made some lovely macaroons from the leftovers."

After the success of the 200-litre trial batch of beer, Mr Mills said he hoped to add For Great Justice to Kereru's permanent range.

Mr Mills said New Zealanders were lucky to have a thriving craft brewing scene. "All the brewers are trying that much harder to make excellent beer."

Upper Hutt Leader