From the NZ Craft Beer TV Trip Journal, 18/2/11:
We hit the Mount and pulled up at Brewers Bar. This is pretty famous in the area for its amazing live music. Loads of great NZ bands have played this place throughout the years and with a glass window behind the stage that looks in on a line of small shiny copper kettles, it's definitely unique. We met up with Larry Kurth and his new understudy, Carl, and began doing what we do best… talking beer! Larry is a really passionate guy. Previously an accomplished homebrewer, he began working in the brewery when it was a U Brew. Essentially, it was a series of small kettles and fermenters where people could come and brew their own beer and take it away with them, hence escaping excise duty (they were brewing it for themselves, after all!). These were really popular in Canada for a time, Australia still has a handful, but the concept never took off in NZ, even though there was one in Rotorua and one in Christchurch.
The U Brew kit then became the Brewers Bar and Larry began brewing the great beers he is still brewing. He converted the brewery from a malt extract setup to a full grain brewery and when we arrived, the spent grain bed was still throwing up light malty aromas and the wort had just begun boiling, filling the place with a great Horlicks smell. We had a look around the brewery as Larry explained his past and the processes and the beers that he brewed. We talked about the support the pub gets from the local community and how he helps out home brewers in the Mount, by acting as a supplier and a small home brew shop. Larry is great. He loves what he does and has given a lot… he told us that he was about to retire and hand the reigns over to new recruit, Carl (who has just spent 5 years abroad in the UK being involved with cask ales and pubs in Hampshire). It's evident that Larry will always be about though… with 750 brews already on the little 600 litre kit, I reckon there may be a few more that he'll have a hand in!
We tasted the brews, a tasty Lager that is the biggest seller in the bar and in flagon and a fascinating Draught beer that had big hints of berries and orange sherbet. Larry explained that the ale yeast he was using had been throwing up these flavors of late. Luke and I were impressed and amazed at how much character was coming from the yeast. A really unique and interesting beer!