Beervana contest tests creativity

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 23/05/2014
beer
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ

GOOD BREW: Misty Weeds at Three Boys Brewery.

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OPINION: You know you've been brainstorming too long when making a competition beer from Richie McCaw's used underwear sounds like a fabulous plan.

Although just quietly, I do think a Pitcher of Richie would sell quite well in certain circles - you know who you are.

There's a lot of technical criteria for competing in the Beervana Media Brew, including things like a final gravity and ABV reading.

This is where Misty Weed and Anita Mitchell of Three Boys Brewery come in, providing the know-how can-do, and the equipment, to make our beer happen.

All the competition jargon aside, the bottom line is, the journalist and the brewery must create 100 litres of beer using at least one "intrinsically or native New Zealand ingredient", and meeting this year's theme of Spring.

It's not as easy as it sounds.

After two hours spent in the pub over a couple of pints and a plate of brain food (cheesy garlic bread), we had come up with some pretty far-fetched beer flavours.

Hangi-inspired pilsner anyone?

There are plenty of great ideas, but many have to be crossed off because they're impossible to put into a beer, would taste terrible, or would taste of nothing at all.

Not to mention the fact that Team Three Boys want to win, so mediocrity is just not going to cut it.

When it comes to things we associate most with New Zealand, our first ideas revolve around lollies - pineapple lumps, jaffas, milk bottles. Last year's winning beer was made with jet planes and we want something original.

A significant portion of our brainstorming goes into figuring out how to get the distinctive flavour of L&P into beer. In the end, its flavour is so subtle and so sugary, it's decided the beer would probably overwhelm it, leaving it almost undetectable.

New Zealand's most famous export is probably lamb. But drinking a pint of meat-flavoured beer? Cross that one off the list.

The trickiest thing is trying to match up our favourite New Zealand ingredients with the theme of spring.

Most of our ideas are too wintry or too far-fetched. Distilling the essence of a silver fern is a tad ambitious, while turning a pavlova into a beer is a bit obvious.

By the time we leave the pub, we have a long list of maybes and a couple of definitely maybes.

Well, one definite, but it's super-top-secret and we're not even sure it's going to work yet.

This week, we start trial brews before settling on the perfect recipe.

A daisychain ale, perhaps?

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