Food & Drink
OPINION: Beer is like life - you get out of it what you put into it.
In this beer, Red Rocks Reserve, an ancient method of boiling wort adds a heck of a lot of work to the brewing process but the spinoff is a splendid brew.
Wort can be thought of as raw beer. It is essentially sugars - extracted from the malted barley - and water. The boiling process is required to burn off unwanted compounds, sterilise the brew and most importantly, allow the hops to impart their beautiful characteristics and oils to the beer. Most brewers use gas or electrical heating to boil their wort. In this example, The Garage Project threw hot rocks into the wort to achieve a higher than normal boil temperature and the unique characteristics that come with that.
The Garage Project Brewery is located in an old garage in Aro Valley, Wellington. Its brewers are an unpretentious bunch of blokes who aim to make craft beer without being constrained by a brand range. They experiment and push boundaries.
Red Rocks' boil stage was powered by fire-heated super hot rocks sourced from Wellington's south coast. This process is called steinning. It involves a lot of preparation - sourcing the correct rocks complete with advice from a geologist, sizing them and heating them on a wood fire to the right temperature. The payoff is the wonderful toffee body that is imparted to the brew.
As I poured this out of the bottle, I was struck by the rich, warm, red body of the beer. It flowed smoothly down the side of the glass leaving a honey, sticky lace that stayed until the end. The taste was body, body, body.
There is a light hoppy presence that balanced the taste perfectly as well as a residual bitterness and full mouth feel that makes it delicious. At 7 per cent abv, this is a beer to be shared with food or a friend. Its unique brewing background makes it a novelty beer but it's more than that. It's a fine drop worth savouring. Warwick Foy
- © Fairfax NZ News