Ploughman's pub puts a new brew on the table

Rick Keehan serving his recently-brewed "Escape the Boss" lager at Ploughman's restaurant in Rainbow Point.

Rick Keehan serving his recently-brewed "Escape the Boss" lager at Ploughman's restaurant in Rainbow Point.

They've done coffee roasting, they've done restaurant meals. Now, Rick Keehan and his wife Louisa Redward-Keehan, a chef, are giving the beer brewing a go.

The Ploughmans Restaurant at Rainbow Point is now serving freshly brewed small batch beer on tap.

"We've got 'Escape the Boss lager' and an 'Escape the Kids American Pale Ale'," Keehan said.

Each different beer will be named after a different thing to escape, he said.

"We did a custom brew for a guy's 30th birthday – Escape the 20s," Keehan said.

"I decided to do it because we've done coffee roasting companies before and enjoy the creativity.

"If you're making an American Pale Ale, you can adjust how many hops, how much malt – it's really quite a fun process."

A brewmaster from Auckland set up the brewing equipment three months ago and trained Keehan to use them. Each brew takes 7-10 days.

"Because we do small batch brewing, we do just 100 litres. The beer's nice and fresh because there's no preservatives or anything," Keehan said.

"At the moment we've got a cider on with Hawkes Bay apples, so that should be ready in the coming week. We're doing a Liquorice Porter, which will be about four weeks way.

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"My wife loves liquorice and loves dark beers, so it's perfect for us. We think that'll go really well with our venison pie."

Following each brew, Keehan brought in a tasting panel to provide feedback.

"Man, they're harsh... which is good," he said.

"People's palates are a lot different than they were five years ago. Craft beers have taken off."

The pub will still offer local favourites, though.

"We have all the Lakeman range, which people love, so we're not trying to compete – we're just selling it here."

Keehan said he and his wife were continually modifying, testing, and tasting to improves their brew recipes.

"And if a brew doesn't work, hey, life goes on. We'll tip it out and try again. We'll always have stable beers on tap and we'll keep putting creative seasonal ones on as well," he said.

"We'll do a low alcohol beer in the next lot – Escape the Cops."

 - Stuff

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