Press brewer aims for a 'cool' ale
Abbie Napier is representing The Press at the annual media brew competition at the Beervana brewing festival in Wellington. The competition brew is finally underway.
When I was a student at the University of Canterbury I was a member of the home-brew club.
How I got involved, I can't recall, but the club spurred a brief foray into the world of beer brewing and extensive and enthusiastic tasting.
I'm afraid the closest I ever got to presenting a palatable beer was a kit brew Pilsner I managed to see through to the end, for once.
At Three Boys Brewery, I was given an insight into how the big boys do it and it's a far cry from that kit brew Pilsner.
Paramount is the need for cleanliness and a good supply of sensible footwear.
The real professionals use steel-cap gumboots.
Words like fuggle and wort are tossed around a fair bit.
Three Boys has a 50-litre brewing kit. It's basically large metal drums connected together by pipes, one above the other. This makes for a neat little process where you start at the top and eventually get beer out the bottom.
It takes about five hours.
Brewers Misty Weed and Anita Mitchell made sure I did a lot of the work, right down to scrubbing scum out of the barrels at the end. Brewing is pretty labour intensive. I now know this first hand.
Fortunately for me, Misty and Anita know what they're doing and the whole thing runs like clockwork. Everything is timed down to the minute and the recipe we followed was both unique and precise.
There was even a scheduled pizza break while our beer baby bubbled away contentedly.
The recipe is still top secret. We intend to put our best foot forward in this competition and we can't have any insider secrets being leaked to our competitors.
What I can tell you is, it's very Kiwi and very cool.
For now, the beer baby will sit in its tanks and ferment away quietly until the time comes for it to wow the judges and skyrocket us into the international brewing hall of fame. I'm expecting TV appearances and a lucrative intellectual property payout any day now.
In August the beer baby will travel north to Wellington where it will finally be unveiled.
Even if we don't win (perish the thought), the process has shown me just how hard proper brewers work to make sure that pint in your hand is perfect.
- The Press
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