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 

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Totara Brewing

Colin Oldham with some Hallertau hopsFrom the NZ Craft Beer TV journal entry, 28/1/11:

From the Coast we headed north, winding our way up parallel to the Tasman Sea and enjoying the vista where the rugged bush-covered mountain ranges met the usually turbulent sea. As people who have travelled this road will know, it’s another remarkable stretch of scenery with every turn yielding something new to look at. We hit Wakefield which is just out of Nelson and this time it was to a hop farm we were heading.

Totara Brewing isn’t just any hop farm however. A group of guys with various backgrounds, most importantly in hop farming, got together and decided to go one step further from growing the ridiculously unique, aromatic NZ hop and gave brewing a go. We met Colin Oldham and Peter Lines, two hop growers with a massive interest in brewing and chatted hops for hours, different varieties that they grow, the methods of harvesting, when certain varieties for picked. The passion that these guys had for their jobs was evident. Growing hops is tough toil for little return. It’s dependent on weather, brewers and exchange rates amongst others.

We spoke about organic hops and their production and it was also interesting to note that the non-organic NZ hops are also fungicide and pesticide free with a lot of techniques such as using sheep to graze and remove excess growth being common practice. It also helps that there is little to no problem with hop diseases that afflict other countries in Europe and the US such as downy and powdery mildew or Verticillium wilt. Hop pests are also seldom a problem, though one mite variety can cause difficulties for the farmers. The great thing with this though is that there is a natural predator that can be released onto the hop bines that destroys this mite. Biological control at work.

After working through the hop fields, it was time to sample a couple of beers and we began with the Drover’s Draught, a great example of the classic NZ Draught style but with the characteristic cleanness and flavour that we were to find in their other beers. The Totara Gold also impressed as a slightly sweeter lager with good body and subtle hop notes. The guys described this is a great gateway beer for the average drinker to get into craft styles and hit the nail on the head.  We went on to then try a Dark that they sell at various festivals across the country. Again the cleanness impressed and lovely dark malt and chocolate characters dominated in a nice clean dark lager/Schwarzbier style.

We also talked of their Green-Hop beer, Ninkasi. One of the advantages I guess of having a brewery on a hop farm! Named after the goddess of beer and brewing, this is definitely a beer I’d love to try after hop harvest! We chatted more about hops (why wouldn’t you!) and it was great to know that a bunch of new varieties were on the cards… all trade secrets of course! It is also cool to see a bunch of passionate people keen to make drinkable beer and challenge the mainstream perception that seems to dominate a lot of the country. With their sales on the increase, they’re definitely moving in the right direction!


Totara Brewing - Background

From the Totara Brewing website

Totara Brewing Co. is situated in the Wai-lti Valley 20 minutes south of Nelson. It is the only hop farm brewery in New Zealand; producing hand crafted beers using only natural ingredients and the finest New Zealand hops.

From The Nelson Mail - A group of mates are making a good fist of running the country's only farm brewery just out of Wakefield. In just over a year Totara Brewing Company has won a good number of fans and some glowing reviews for its boutique beers, made from the shareholders' own hops and brewed in a rustic shed on Peter Lines' farm. A fifth generation hop grower, Mr Lines formed the company along with fellow hop grower Colin Oldham, of Tapawera, Eighty-eight Valley farmer Ian Parkes, Richmond fisherman Shane Wakelin and Ross Ford, who works on Mr Lines' farm and in the brewery. 

"It was a spur of the moment thing," explained Mr Lines. "A bloke renting my house had bought the Kohatu pub and thought he was going to put a brewery in there but ran out of money and there was a bit of a fire sale [of the brewing plant]. "A few of us were sitting here having a beer with him and in a rash moment said `we'll buy it'." While they got it cheap, they soon realised it was only 20 per cent of the equipment they needed to start brewing but being "pretty practical blokes" they managed to cobble together something that worked. 

They also employed an experienced brewer to teach them, "because we were green as grass". "He helped us get through the first six to eight brews until we got the hang of it." Now after 70 brews and a lot of fast learning they were confident they could handle most situations, Mr Lines said. 

They brew about 3000 litres a month, all of which is sold in Nelson, with the Wakefield Hotel their biggest customer. The Moutere Inn and the Free House are among a handful of outlets that also stock it, but Mr Lines said it was a battle when the big breweries controlled so many of the taps. "We've had to keep our prices down because we're the new boys on the block and you've got to be competitive to get into outlets." So far they have produced four beers – a draught, a lager, one brewed for special events they attend like wine and food festivals and another, called Ninkasi Green, made for the Marchfest beer festival using green fresh hops picked on the day of brewing, which has won particular praise. Their draught was also judged champion at the local A&P show. 

Being busy men, brewing gets done on wet days, fitted around other jobs or very early in the morning. "There's always something to do in the brewery every day, but you pop in for an hour at night, have a beer and do the job," said Mr Lines, who also runs a farm with 600 sheep along with just over 10 hectares of hops and produces Totara Terrace grape juice. 

I would like to think I've got most days pretty full." While the brewery was a "thoroughly enjoyable" sideline which paid its way, "we didn't have to make a big profit or pay a divvy to please our shareholders", Mr Lines joked. "We started the business with very low capital and had to top it up a couple of time but we've done a heck of a lot out of turnover." The novelty may have worn off, but they still get a kick out of getting together to taste a new brew. "Colin and I have been hop growers all our lives so the association with brewing has all been part of it," Mr Lines said. "We really enjoy making the beer, we're familiar with the varieties of hops we're using, their aroma and smell and relating it back to what the beer tastes like." 

The positive feedback they had received from customers made it even more worthwhile, he said.  "It's been good to try something a bit different. It's another way to make the land work for you; we've enjoyed that challenge and it's also interesting working together after being our own bosses for so long." 

Totara Brewing's range of beers: 

Drover’s Draught - The first Brew releassed in mid 2009 was a draught style beer,aptly named "DroversDraught" reflecting the farm background of the Partners in the Brewery.  "Drovers Draught" is an easy drinking draught with a subtle malt undertone and a mild bittering finish using "Green Bullet" hops.

Totara Gold - The second release "Totara Gold" followed shortly after.  A classic lager, bright, clear, golden beer again very gently malt-accented with a balanced aroma and bittering hop finish using "Pacific Jade" NZ Hallertau and Riwaka hops.

Ninkasi Green Limited Edition - This amber ale was brewed in the tradational method using green hops freshly harvested on the day of brewing.  The result a full flavoured,thirst quenching ale with the beautiful pungency of Hop picking time. This ale "Ninkasi Green" was thus named after the ancient Sumerian goddess Ninkasi who was the goddess of beers and brewers.