Brewer claims rare festival slot

A Hamilton brewer has been granted the chance to showcase a taste of New Zealand on an international stage after booking a slot at one of the world's biggest ale festivals.

Good George's head brewer Kelly Ryan has landed one of only eight international taps at the International Real Ale Festival.

For the month of March, British beer lovers will have the opportunity to quaff their way through 40,000 litres of Mr Ryan's unique Good George Pacific Pearl - a black India Pale Ale - at the event hosted twice a year by British pub giant JD Wetherspoon.

Mr Ryan will spend two days brewing four batches of the hop driven beer, which will be sent to 750 bars around the United Kingdom.

To put that into perspective Good George sells between 6000 and 8000 litres a month at the micro-brewery and it will take 33 brews to produce the whopping 40,000 litres.

Mr Ryan is the third New Zealand brewer to be invited to the festival since its inception in 2005.

"For Good George, being pretty new on the block, it's super exciting to get an offer like that," he said. "Everybody there gets to drink a little taste of New Zealand, well, a little taste of Frankton even.

"I'm going to really try and showcase some great New Zealand hops."

Good George general manager Nathan Sweetman was as excited as his head brewer about the trip. "It's a pretty wicked opportunity for little brewery in the heart of the Waikato that's still pretty new to get some exposure on a very international stage," he said.

While Mr Ryan is over there, he will also be working on collaborations with a variety of highly respected brewers.

It's a good opportunity to try something that's not the usual," he said.

Unfortunately the Good George Pacific Pearl won't be available for New Zealand beer lovers, but the brewer has created a "brother brew" Black Pearl, which will hit taps on Wednesday.

Waikato Times