Good George brews blueberry beer

JAMIE SMALL
Last updated 10:07 30/07/2014
Good George
NICK REED/Fairfax NZ

Good George brewer Nate Ross shows off the new Blueberry Beer at the brewery in Frankton, Hamilton.

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Waikato blueberries in Hamilton beer: it's not a classic brew.

But two local companies have teamed up to deliver an experimental blueberry sour beer.

Darrel Hadley, the owner of Good George brewery, got thinking about sour beers while visiting the United States.

He then got talking to his neighbour Dan Peach, who runs Oakberry Farms in Matangi, and the pair agreed to give blueberry beer a go.

"He's essentially donated the blueberries to the project so we can brew it as a pilot," said Hadley.

The initial 100 kilograms of berries has gone into a 300-litre batch of beer.

It will be ready on Friday, and Hadley said early taste tests are "fantastic".

To make sour beer, wild yeasts and bacteria from the fruit - normally tightly controlled in a brewing environment - are allowed to take charge in the fermenting process. This gives the beer a tart flavour that Hadley says is refreshing to drink, especially in the summer.

"It's about keeping people interested in the beer category in general."

Oakberry Farms exported 150 tonnes of blueberries last year, mostly to Australia and Asian markets.

Peach said the opportunity to work with Good George was a fun and unique way to collaborate with another local business.

"I've seen blueberries used in loads of different ways before but never thought I'd get to taste a blueberry beer."

Sour beers are often made with cheaper fruits - Good George has already done batches of lemon, raspberry and kiwifruit beers - but Hadley wanted to use the Waikato blueberry industry.

"We pride ourselves on that local tagline quite strongly," he said

Initially, the beer will be available at the company's three Hamilton pubs, but bottled blueberry sour could be available for retail in the future.

"We might bottle a limited run," Hadley said, "but it's not something that's going to happen this time."

Good George has recently made some of its beers available in one-litre bottles in New World, Super Liquor and Liquor Land in Hamilton. 

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