Fritz and Maria's Beer Column
Our thoughts on Kiwi beer and its successes in international competition in our last column generated a couple of items in our inbox that warrant sharing with our readers this time around.
But first we need to mention the stunning results of the Asian Beer Awards. Not that Yeastie Boys' Pot Kettle Black won Champion Beer, but that Auckland home brewer Santiago Aon Ratto took out the top pilsner honour, with his third brew on an automated brewing machine. That says a lot for artisan brewing, and the pressures of mass production as outlined in our second item below.
But first, while we covered the medal winners at the Australian International Beer Awards, we didn't mention that Wellington-based Yeastie Boys won perhaps a more important award: Peoples' Choice at the exhaustingly named Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS).
GABS is a festival event held alongside the beer awards, opening Melbourne's annual Good Beer Week, where participating breweries created one-off beers for the event.
Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta India Pale Ale beat out nearly 60 other beers as the punters' choice. It is an India pale ale "dry leafed" with earl grey tea, which lends its distinctive citrus note in place of the hops.
The beer has been released into the New Zealand market this week as a one-off, and will be one to look out for.
The second item to come to our attention is Hopfen und Malz Verloren, a documentary exploring the dearth of medals for German beers at the World Beer Cup. If we were a little sad that Kiwis missed out, imagine how a country with a 1000-year tradition of brewing feels about Australia walking away with the Gold for South German-Style Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier.
According to the film, there is a focus within the German market on mass production while innovative brewers seem to moving to America.
One brewery highlighted is Schneider-Weisse, a family-owned Bavarian brewery that uses traditional techniques to make a range of wheat beers.
There is Aventinus, the dark wheat beer which inspired Joseph Wood to start brewing. There is also Unser Original, a traditional style beer hefeweizen, or yeasty wheat beer.
Coincidentally, we had picked up a couple of bottles this week at Nelson New World. The beer is on a heavy discount as it is past its use by date. While admittedly lacking the punchy clove and banana yeast character of fresh local versions, we found the beer to be in good stead. .
Schneider-Weisse is an innovator, despite their traditional techniques. In 2011 they brewed Mein Nelson Sauvin, featuring the ever in demand Nelson Sauvin hop. The beer is in stock at Regional Wine and Spirits in Wellington, and can be purchased via the store's website.
The Moutere Inn is running a showcase of Auckland brewery Galbraiths with six beers serving from June 21. Galbraiths is the other New Zealand specialist real ale brewery, alongside our Townshend Brewing.
Beervana tickets are now on sale, and selling briskly, with the Home Brewing Masterclass sold out. Beervana 2012 will be held in Wellington on August 17 and 18.
The date for Marchfest 2013 have been set. The music and beer festival is returning to its April roots, and will be held on April 6. Organisers promise more bars, more taps, and more beer.