We need another $10,000 dollars to fund the editiing of the final episodes of the Mash Up series. Therefore we need to sell approx. 10,000 more bottles. Below people have taken photos of the bottles of Mash Up they have drunk to show there support. We are naming these great people here and thank them for their support. 

You to can submit you photos here 

Brent Marquis (Beerginner)
Simon Hurley
Brett Curry 
Glenn Wignall 

Mash Up - NZ Pale Ale - 6.0% abv - 50 IBU

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The Mussel Inn: Journal Entry

Andrew Dixon of The Mussel Inn with camera man Scott

From the NZ Craft Beer TV journal entry, 29/1/11:

Opened in 1996 by Andrew Dixon, I think this is a destination to not be missed. Pretty much everything you see at the Inn is made with Andrew’s own two hands. From the corrugated iron building that the bar and kitchen are situated in, through to his amazing log house and even the brewery itself, Andrew is never a man to sit still. Sustainability is really important to the brewery with all of his bottled beers filled into glass that is constantly re-used and recycled. Even the toilets are used a source of sustainable compost in the humanure approach.

The menu shows off great local fare. From the classic mussel chowder and steamed mussels, through to the scallops in a creamy white wine source, the homemade food is simple yet tasty. Andrew’s beers are a revelation. His Captain Cooker, made with locally grown Manuka leaves has a deserved cult following. Already it has been made under contract in Belgium and Utah in the US. Even my good friend, Matt Clarke, originally from Wanganui and head brewer at Hawkshead Brewery in Cumbria, England has converted the Captain Cooker into a cask ale with Manuka tips imported by Andrew.

The beer itself is incredibly fragrant. Wafts of rosewater and rich essential oil reminiscent of lavender and juniper are evident in the aroma and a slight resinous, almost sweetly medicinal quality fills the mouth. The bitterness from both the leaves and the hops is elegant and perfectly balanced. This is the beer equivalent of Turkish Delight. Luke and I were lucky enough to taste this beer matched with a rosewater Panna Cotta , rhubarb, caramelised almonds and small pieces of homemade Turkish Delight at the famous Logan Brown restaurant in Wellington last year. It was the perfect match.

Andrew also experiments with barrel-ageing and sour beers and I was lucky enough to try his interpretation of the spontaneously fermented Belgian Gueuze/Lambic style. His Lambagreeny, a Feijoa Gueuze was delightfully tart with big coconut characters showing in the nose (from the oak), the perfume of the fruit and in particular the greenness of the Feijoa skins present in the mouth and the slightly mouth-puckering sourness helping to round the beer out. It was awesome to try a New Zealand interpretation of this beer style and it fit in well with Andrew’s inventive, alchemical approach to making great beer. He also does Weka, a 6% barrel –aged sour brown ale. This is more like the Belgian Oud Bruin style, with a rich, tart, fruity character. I love sour beers!

Finally I tried the Bitter Ass. This had been aged in the bottle for around two years and weighed in at 8.5%. This big, bitter brown ale was incredibly complex. It had big hop character in the mouth, a mouth-puckering bitterness in the finish and the most intriguing liquorice note I’ve ever encountered in a beer coming through after the swallow. This was like chewing on a piece of liquorice root and coupled with the bold, bitter zing, made this unique beer something to remember. I had to have two!

We talked with Andrew into the night. A great guy on a constant voyage of discovery and creation and a passion for making phenomenal beer. I personally think Captain Cooker is reason alone to leave in the Tasman region. Andrew is such an approachable, calm nice guy. It was tough for us to finish the great conversation that beer can bring to a table and hit the hay. T


The Mussel Inn - Background

From the Mussel Inn's website

The Mussel Inn is located in the heart of Golden Bay, North West Nelson region of the South Island of New Zealand. A two hour drive from Nelson, over the Takaka hill, through the township of Takaka and on another 17 kms towards Collingwood  you will find yourself in Onekaka. Keep your eyes peeled, for the Mussel Inn is very subtly sign posted but can often be recognised by the many cars parked on the roadside - especially on a busy night. 

Built in 1992 by  HYPERLINK "" Jane and Andrew Dixon and their two sons, Henry and Toby, with a big whack of encouragement from  HYPERLINK "" John Mitchell , the Mussel Inn could be described as ‘Kiwi woolshed’ meets ‘Aussie farmhouse’ in style of construction. A single room with a veranda on three sides, chunky wooden furniture (tables good to dance on) and a large open fire create a space that is rustic and homely. 

No need to get dressed up - in fact there is no dress code - although it would generally be more appropriate if some clothes were worn - the atmosphere is laid-back and  family friendly. 

The fare is simple and wholesome and as much as possible, prepared in our own kitchen. Famous for our fresh steamed mussels and thick mussel chowder, we also do steak, fish and vegetarian options and a  range of snacky foods are always available. 

We also produce all our own beers, ales, ciders soft drinks and occasional house wines in a small  HYPERLINK "" brewery  located adjacent to the Mussel Inn. Home made lemonade and ginger beer will please those looking for something non alcoholic and a small selection of Nelson area wines and a basic range of spirits for those who are. 

About the Brewery 

The brewery is located adjacent to the Mussel Inn in a small purpose built building built in the winter of 1995. The brew length is 12 hecto litres (1200 L) - a fairly standard size for most micro breweries.

The main ingredient for our beers – the water – comes from a small stream in the hills behind the Mussel Inn – bush filtered and low in dissolved minerals. The hops we use are locally grown organic varieties with a couple of special brews being made from our own hops which grow around the front of the Mussel Inn. For bittering we mainly use Pacific Gem followed by either NZ Hallatau or Riwaka (Saaz D) for aroma. Our organic pale malt which makes up the bulk of the grist is grown and malted in Canterbury by Gladfield Malts. Until such time as someone in NZ starts producing them, the small quantities of ‘coloured’ malts we use are imported from Australia and the UK.

All of our beers are produced in the traditional way, using a gravitational system in the brewing process. We use a straight infusion mash and a gas fired kettle. Except for our bottle conditioned ales which use various top fermenting ale yeasts, a bottom fermenting lager yeast is used in both our lagers and dark beers, fermented at 13°. All beers are unfiltered and are naturally carbonated in the conditioning tanks through secondary fermentation (no added CO²)


The Mussell Inn's range of beers: 

Captain Cooker - Inspired by the first beer ever to be brewed in New Zealand, by Captain James Cook in 1773, the Mussel Inn version is a red brown all malt beer flavoured with the freshly picked tips of the Manuka tree and locally grown New Zealand organic hop varieties. The only one out of 240 New Zealand beers to rate 10 out of 10 in Keith Stewarts book  HYPERLINK "" ' HYPERLINK "" The complete guide to New Zealand Beer'.  Also featured in  HYPERLINK "" 'Best - a New Zealand compendium'. .  A typical comment - this one from  HYPERLINK "" John Thompson and he should know. 

 A very distinctive beer with notes of ginger and rose oil which sometimes gives the perception of a slight sweetness although the beer is fermented dry. Long known for it's medicinal qualities by the native Maori population of New Zealand, manuka's high anti oxidant properties are also to be found in Captain Cooker manuka beer.

And the relevance of the pig?As was normal on early voyages of discovery to new lands, Captain Cook released several pigs on his arrival. The untouched forests of New Zealand proved to be most attractive to these pigs and it wasn't long before they had spread throughout the land. Great for the pigs - not so great for our forests. These unique pigs are now commonly known as "Captain Cookers" - and likewise, the Captain Cooker manuka beer is commonly referred to simply as "The Pig". 

Pig hunting has long been a great New Zealand past time, taking good keen men (and women) and hardy hounds to the most inaccessible nooks and crannies of what remains of our wildest jungles. Now you too can hunt 'the pig'. With a little determination and a little perservarance you never know - you just might get lucky!

In 2004 we were approached by Dirk Standaert of Gent, Belgium, asking if we would be interested in exporting the Captain Cooker to Belgium for him to distribute. Shipping a product  that is 95% water, to the other side of the world, in a heavy glass bottle that probably came from the other side of the world in the first place, did not sit comfortably with our environmental philosophies. Neither do we have the capacity or the equipment to bottle - and so the offer was declined and there the pig lay. About a year later, while I was busy revamping our brewery, it occured to me that there could possibly be another way. Belgium - the home to a vast range of fantastic beers and the brewers who create them - why don't we just send the vital ingredient  over there (in a dried form) and let them do it themselves?

So contact was re established with Dirk and the pig was roused from it's slumber. de Proefbrouwerij in Lochristi - a brewer of many many fine beers - was contracted to produce the product and manuka was harvested, dried and sent. A trial brew was made (which required us to travel over there to sample - bugger!) and although not exactly like the original Mussel Inn version, was equally as good and so production was started. As has always been our intention, we wanted the brewery to interpret the recipe as best they see fit to produce a product that would best suit the market that it is serving. In this case we have an alcohol content of  5.7%, fermented with an ale yeast, packaged in the standard re usable 330ml Belgian bottle (as used by Duvel and others), sporting a rather swish looking black label designed by Dirks team. Great beer - great look. Check out   HYPERLINK "" .  

In December 2008,  I bumped into Peter Cole and his partner Debra at the Mussel Inn and we got yarning. Turned out that Peter not only shares our concerns for this planet we live on but is also the part owner and founder of the Squatters bar and brewery in Salt Lake City, Utah.  HYPERLINK "" Squatters brewery . He is also passionate about all things beery and was keen to give the pig a whirl. So manuka was cut and dried and on the 8th of August 2009, the first American Captain Cooker was released at Squatters down town venue in Salt Lake City, in the good company of Jenny Talley, the brewer and other key staff. I have to admit, that alongside the samples that we had taken to compare it with, the local version excelled. And this is a good thing too - proving once again that beer is best consumed where it is made and really shouldn't be exported around the globe. Besides -  pigs really shouldn't be flying (our samples were in riggers - not ideal at 30,000 feet). 

November 2010 - release of the Pig Bombers - 650ml bottle version - 6.26% and tasting even better than the first brew.

December 2009 - another fortuitous collision - this time, Matt Clarke, head brewer at the  HYPERLINK "" Hawkshead brewery located in Staveley in the Lake District of the UK. After a look around our operation and a few samples, Matt was inspired to 'bring the pig home' - and in July 2010, the first cask conditioned real ale Captain Cooker was dispenced at the annual Hawkshead beer festival - no fanfare, no advertising - but the punters soon caught wiff of it and it was not long before it was cut. Another fantastic interpetation - and hopefully to be repeated in the not too distant future.

And closer to home.... Invercargill, November 2009.

You couldn't find a brewery further away from the Mussel Inn on the South Island, to contract brew for us but there are reasons that make this a viable choice. First and foremost is Steve Nally - brewmaster of the Invercargill Brewery. Top chap! Next is they have the means to produce a bottle product and the will to do so. Then there is the fact that all of our malt is produced in Canturbury - closer to Invercargill than Onekaka and on the main trunk line - which has advantages that apply to moving bottles and kegs around also. More than half of the Invercargill production is being distributed from Christchurch via  HYPERLINK "" BeerNZ so this also makes sence. And what is this version like? Damn good! 5%abv, a bit more highly carbonated than the Mussel version and consequently a bit more aromatic. (they are also brewing the Golden Goose and Dark Horse now). These are the versions you are most likely to find in your supermarket or at your more inspired restaraunts.

Golden Goose Lager - A hoppy golden lager. No shell, no feathers, just pure gold. 4%

Dark Horse Black Beer - Very dark and roasty – not too dry. A solid and dependable performer - pulls away strong at the finish. 4%

White Heron Wheat Beer

Bitter Ass - Extra bitter brown ale - 8.5% -  So here she is - the baddest ass your like to encounter this summer.  From an extremely high hopping Stallion and a kick ass  funky Donkey - approach with caution! 500ml bottle conditioned nightmares to satisfy you double IPA geeks.

Strong Ox – Strong Dark Ale. A bottle conditioned ale, fulsome with a slightly sweetish finish. For strength and endurance.6%

Pale Whale Ale - A bottle conditioned pale ale. Big body – long tail! 6%

Monkey Puzzle - extra strong ale - Belgium style ale full of … everything! Proceed with caution.10% 

Lean Lamb Gueuze - our loose interpretation of a trad Belgium gueuze - slightly tart 'n somewhat frisky! New version out now – 

Lambagreeny - Feijoa gueuze - another one off wonder from the barrel of joy! Very limited supply

Heat Rash Chilli Beer - Golden Goose with a chilli added to the bottle. The older the hotter. Small runs  available depending on supply of chilies. Usually available after the Easter chili harvest. Served with the chilli for those who can hack it. 4%

 Weka – Tasty Dark Ale. A barrel aged strong darkish Belgian styled sour ale. One of a kind and extremely rare! 6%