Canterbury tipple doesn't brew up a win
I wish I was writing an opening sentence all about our landslide victory in the Beervana Media Brew competition.
But it was not to be.
In the Wellington festival on Friday, we watched five brave judges taste and judge 21 beer entries in about two hours. They were closely watched by many members of the media throughout.
Their conclusion? Auckland brewery Hallertau, in collaboration with Dish Magazine, had produced the best Media Brew entry in its NZ Wild Ale with Horopito.
Liberty Brewing Co/Metro Magazine came runner-up (J.A.F.A Beer), and ParrotDog/Fishhead Magazine were dubbed most creative and innovative for their entry, Dog Bone. Fork Brewing/Lonely Planet got best idea for their Farmhouse du Fru Ju beer.
Needless to say, we were disappointed.
This was the first year The Press and Three Boys Brewery had entered the Media Brew competition. It meant hours brainstorming the best idea and even more hours actually brewing it.
In the end, we produced a beer called The Mt Hutt Gingernut - a brown ale made with Gingernut biscuits, raw milk from Oxford, breakfast tea and melted snow from Mt Hutt itself.
It was a beer inspired by Canterbury, by spring afternoons on the back deck with a cup of tea and a trusty Gingernut for dunking, the mountains in the background and a bit of a nip still in the air. We were dead proud of our entry.
It was served up at the Media Brew Bar at the festival on Friday, and for me, it was awesome seeing beer-lovers willing to pay to try our product ($2.50 a taste). We had some great feedback and I was suitably impressed with the other entries.
We all had to brew a spring beer, using one native or intrinsically New Zealand ingredient. Reading the tap badges at the media bar, it was clear to see we had all thought along similar lines - the Kiwi roast, classic childhood treats and afternoon tea at grandma's house.
It's nice to know the Kiwi lifestyle is so easily identifiable when 21 teams put their minds to it.
In the end, we each went our own way and the result was 21 beers reaching across some of the coolest Kiwiana you can ferment. I was particularly taken with the Raspberry Lamington, a bright pink beer submitted by Monteiths and the Dominion Post Beerhive bloggers.
Anita Mitchell and Misty Weed from Three Boys threw themselves into the project and were huge fun to work with. They made sure I was immersed in the actual process and I learned a heap about brewing beer.
Even though we didn't win, my dad liked it, so that's something.
Here's a list of a few of the awesome achievements by Canterbury breweries at the national Brewers Guild of New Zealand awards. Be sure to support your local brewers!
- British Ale Styles Trophy, Wigram Brewing Company, Tornado Strong Ale
- Stout and Porter Styles Trophy, Three Boys Brewery, Three Boys Oyster Stout
- Flavoured Styles Trophy, Wigram Brewing Company, Captain Cook Spruce Beer
- Special mention to Two Thumb Brewing Co, a first time entrant, taking home silver for its Oatmeal Stout and bronze for its NZ Pale Ale.
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Check out the blog Thursday for a post on Wellington food - does Canterbury measure up?