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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After Hallertau Brewery, we headed to Otahuhu in South Auckland to check out Steam Brewing Company. Steam brew the beer for the Cock and Bull pubs that can be found in the Auckland suburbs of Lynfield, Ellerslie, Botany Downs, Newmarket and at the airport as well as Hamilton and also contract brew for a few NZ microbreweries, including Epic.

We caught up with Master Brewer, Shane Morley and had a look around the brewery. I'll put in a bit of a disclaimer here and say that we didn't really need to see much of the brewery as both Luke and myself have spent a bit of time in it! Luke was previously head brewer of the Cock and Bull brewery when it was in East Tamaki and went on to become General Manager of Steam before starting Epic, so we there is definitely a close relationship!

We sat down and chatted to Shane about the beers, brewing and the brewery. Shane is one of the few Diploma Master Brewers in New Zealand and possibly the only one in Kiwi craft brewing, so he definitely knows his stuff! With a large trophy cabinet as the backdrop to our interview, we chatted about the ridiculous amount of medals that Steam have won over the years in brewing awards. Testament to the skill and precision that Shane and his team bring, with Monk's Habit (an American Double Red style ale) one of the most awarded beers in NZ history!

But it's not just big, bold, hoppy brews that Steam contribute to our fantastic brewing landscape. The Cock and Bull pubs stock Buxom Blonde, an American Wheat Ale, Dirty Blonde, a seasonal Witbier, Fuggles, a hopalicious English Bitter served on handpull, Classic Draught, a lightly hopped Pale Ale, Blue Goose, a Pilsner-style Lager, Dark Star, a solid porter-like dark ale and a number of Brewer's Choice seasonals that see the crew flexing their brewing muscles.

Nigel Shaw heads up the brewery and with only 5 full time staff, they definitely punch above their weight. The team are all on their way to completing Institute of Brewing and Distilling qualifications, no mean feat when working full time and with around 900 hL of fermenter capacity, they can definitely brew a lot of beer! The brewhouse is a four vessel system, with a jacketed mash tun, lauter tun, kettle and whirlpool, giving good flexibility for the various brewing practices and beer styles that Shane and other contract brewers may need to utilise. The brewery is set up for hop pellets, though they have used flowers in the past. Don't know who gets the fun job of cleaning out the vessels when this is the case, but I'm glad it's not me! A 10 000 litre brewhouse would mean a lot of hop cones for an Epic brew.

We head to the vessels to try a few of Shane's creations. We have a sip of the Blue Goose, only a few days into conditioning, but clean, crisp and citrusy with the lightest hint of sulphur, something that is associated with the yeast and will condition out, leaving a great session brew. We moved on to Monk's Habit next, a bold, hoppy nose, rich, fruity alcohol and toffee and warmth in the mouth. To clean the palate, we then tasted Buxom Blonde, another clean offering with the faintest hints of estery banana. Another to try after an extended conditioning period and something to sup on my next Cock and Bull visit!

Shane also had an experimental version of Monk's Habit on the go, fermenting it with a Belgian Ale yeast strain. We had a taste and were impressed by the combination of big clove-like ester, rich toffee from the malt, resinous hops and rich mouthfeel. It's always great to see brewer's experimenting and I seriously hope these guys do a lot more of it!

The day over, we realised that there wasn't really much time to film the Epic section of Craft Beer TV... maybe next week...


Hallertau. Awesome.

Another early morning start saw us weaving our way westwards of Auckland out to the historic township of Riverhead, home to one of New Zealand’s most awesome brewbar/restaurants... Hallertau. We met up with owner and head brewer, Stephen Plowman, who has been imagining and creating fantastic beer there since 2005. Together with his wife, Hayley, they run a great venue and the food is seriously top-knotch!

Hallertau itself is only 15 minutes drive from downtown Auckland, so if you have a nice, friendly sober driver available, it would be pretty much sacrilege if you didn’t go and check it out. Nestled off the Coatesville-Riverhead Highway, hop bines curl up the frontage of the building and with the giant palm trees outside (and the blazing hot sun like there was yesterday), you’d almost mistake yourself for being somewhere a lot more tropical! The team have done a brilliant job with their branding, from the Hallertau insignia, through to the simplicity of the beer numbering system at the bar and the intricacy of their speciality beer bottles. It’s the complete package and after a brief chat with Steve, we propped ourselves up at the bar and went through his range.

Hallertau Luxe or “1” was first up and this Kolsch was exactly as one would wish for. Lovely New Zealand hop notes of passionfruit and gooseberry weaved their way through this pale offering and with a little biscuity malt at the back of the palate, you could see that this would be a popular introductory beer to craft newcomers. We followed this with Statesman or “2”, Steve’s delectable Pale Ale. Some crystal malts, NZ hops and NZ malt had been transformed into this delicious brew, the biggest selling at Hallertau and a fantastic creation that balanced solid fruity hop character with a good malt backbone. Copper Tart, number “3” followed, a solid American Red/Amber Ale style beer but produced using mostly Kiwi ingredients. Wisps of toffee, some subtle malt sweetness and the hop notes that seem to be Steve’s trademark were spot on. Last but not least was Deception, “4” a Schwarzbier that was full of light coffee and deep chocolate notes, but with a subtlety and balance that worked wonders.

Steve rattled off accompanying dishes and styles of food as we tasted each beer, highlighting the epicurean approach that Hallertau embodies. The quality of their food is superb (as we were to find out later) and the ability to match their beers with the food from their kitchen is an important one!

Next up we tried a couple of other beers that Steve had on tap - the seriously impressive Minimus, a 3.8% hop bomb that Steve designed as a breakfast beer. Light in alcohol but with a humungous hop nose, this has to be one of the tastiest sub 4% beers in the New Zealand marketplace. We also had a taste of his Beastwars IPA which Steve thought up whilst listening to Wellington band Beastwars on the radio whilst brewing one day. He contacted the band and they were super-keen on the idea. It’s a big, hop-forward IPA and definitely worth a taste!

We then moved on to Hallertau’s more esoteric bottled beers. Presented in champagne-style bottles, we cracked open his Porter Noir. This beer is incredible. A combination of chocolate mousse and tart cherry pie on the nose, this beer is balanced to perfection. Rich and soft in the mouthfeel, but with just enough sourness from Brettanomyces and other wild bacteria, it’s amazing to see a Kiwi brewer taking on the sour-style beers and acheiving something as refined and tasty as this. The beer is aged in local Pinot Noir barrels that contain a stain of Brett native to the area. It’s definitely worth a taste.

We then cracked his big Barley Wine, weighing in at over 9%. Steve has aged it in the bottle for 12 months and based it on an English-style barley wine, underplaying a big aromatic hop nose that would be more apparent in the US versions of this beer type. Using all Nelson Sauvin as the hop variety, but keeping it well away from aroma additions, a long boil to intensify the caramelisation and an extended bottle ageing before release, this is fantastic. It reminded me a lot of some of John Keeling’s Vintage Ales (of Fullers in London), but with a more intense mouth-coating bitterness. High praise indeed!

Finally we cracked open Stuntman, Hallertau’s Double IPA. Made with all Kiwi hops, this smelt and tasted like it was done with the cream of the US hop crop. Big, piney and resinous, with undercurrents of tangerine, this was a fantastic finish to the range. As well as their own beer, they also have taps for other Kiwi craft beer and usually have at least one US craft beer on draught (Green Flash Le Freak was on when we were there). They also do their own fruit wines under the Pukeko Grove label and Steve makes a damn good cider as well!

If there’s one thing for me that was to come out of trying all of Hallertau’s beers, it was one word... Balance. Even though the hop notes rocketed from light, to huge and the bitterness went from slight to big and zesty, Steve always managed to get the balance in the mouth right. Whether it was ensuring the dryness of something like Luxe matched it’s lighter bitterness or ensuring the big, rich fruitcake and marzipan notes of the Barley Wine were balanced out by the big, mouthcoating Sauvin bitterness, he hit the nail on the head every time!

We went in and checked out the brewery, brewer Simon and their new assistant were hard at work brewing Luxe and the hops were smelling great. Luckily it’s been a damp summer, so they had enough water for brewing! All of their water comes from the skies, so a little rain is definitely important for these guys. We checked out the barrel-ageing room and our stomachs rumbling went back to the bar for some tucker.

A mountain of food appeared. Local sausages, some made with Hallertau beer, incredibly sweet and rich barbecued ribs, made for fingers to be licked. Salt and pepper squid, locally cured meats, sticky chicken wings, fries with smoked garlic aioli made in the kitchen. Get out there and go enjoy yourselves. I think we all deserve it!

From here we went to Steam Brewery out in Otahuhu. I’ll save that one for next week though...


NZ Craft Beer TV Road Trip Returns - Waiheke Island Brewery

After a brief hiatus from NZ Craft Beer TV where Luke and I got a wee bit busy with running Epic and the 5 beer releases we did last year, we’re back into it and finishing up the breweries we didn’t quite get to. First up is Waiheke Island Brewery and we got up at the crack of dawn, headed to the Auckland Ferry Terminal and jumped on the ferry. A cracking day, we cruised through the Hauraki Gulf amongst big boil-ups of kahawai and sea-birds diving for bait-fish, dodging the keen early morning fishing boats filled with locals pulling up snapper.

We got in to the Matiatia terminal and were met by the owner of Wild on Waiheke, Rob Webb. Wild on Waiheke is a fantastic multi-activity venue nestled right in the middle of Waiheke’s wine growing area. Rob and his wife, Karen run a cafe/restaurant, brewery, vineyard and corporate activity/workshops all from the picturesque premises and after a day there, can say they do a brilliant job! Used often as a function centre for stag and hen parties, it’s combination of great food and beverages and a host of activities make it a veritable one stop shop!

We headed past the vineyard and into the converted barn that houses a bar, shop, kitchen and showcases some of the great produce that is made on the island. From locally distilled rum (which I can say is pretty damn tasty) to local Pohutakawa honey and their own range of preserves and sauces, they have a great selection and something for everyone! There’s also a cool little playground in front of the spacious deck, making it a brilliant place for a family day out. A few beers and wines for Mum and Dad, an amazing burger or pizza from their extensive and well-priced menu and all whilst watching the kids enjoy an ice-cream or mucking about on the swings? Sounds pretty damn ideal to me!

We met up with New Zealand brewing stalwart, Alan Knight, head brewer of Waiheke Island Brewery. Alan has been in the industry coming up 25 years! An ex-pat Brit, originally he trained as an actor, but while living in Canada, he got sick of drinking the insipid lagers that used to be common place, took up homebrewing and then knocked on the door of a local brewery to see if they had work. Once they found out he had been doing all grain brewing (as opposed to brewing with malt extract), they pretty much hired him there and then and the rest is history! Alan eventually became a brewing consultant and is one of the more widely travelled New Zealand brewers, having clocked up 41 breweries in his 25 years, with 11 of them being in NZ!

We were super-keen for a nice early-morning beer taster, so Alan started us off with his Wharf Rd Wheat Beer. Based on a German Hefeweizen, this poured light and hazy. Alan finished it off with a small of lemon, not something I’d usually do myself, but the fresh citrus worked to lift the subtle banana and clove characters of this nice, dry wheat beer. It was brilliant. Next up we tried the Onetangi Dark Ale, which was close in style to a Porter. Alan told us that when the oyster season was in full swing (and their is a local farm which apparently does oysters to die for), they serve this beer with an oyster in the bottom of the glass. That sounds pretty close to heaven for me! The beer itself was rich with loads of milk chocolate and dark cacao nib on the nose. It’s body was sublime, rich and smooth with the lightest tickle of bitterness from the NZ Styrian Goldings he used. Was this the best dark beer we’d tried on our trip around NZ so far? Luke and I definitely think it may just have been. Alan went on to tell us how the slight brininess of the oyster worked perfectly with this beer. Who wouldn’t want a beer-pickled fresh oyster after a glass of something is superb as this?!?!

Next up, we had a taste of the Baroona Original Pale Ale. This was a Kolsch style brew, hopped to perfection with Motueka hops from the Nelson region. Again, Alan had nailed it. Massively quenching, beautiful hints of passionfruit and stonefruit and one of the cleanest, crispest finishes I’ve experienced for sometime. It was awesome. Alan is the master of taking fine ingredients, keeping recipes simple and nailing the beers. We finished off with the big 7.2% Matiatia Malt Beer and were pleasantly surprised yet again! With Pacifica and NZ Cascade as hops and a blend of 6 malts, this drank like a 4% session brew, going down like silk. Alan recommended this with a good, strong cheese, but I reckon I could have slowly sipped away on a few of them in the blazing Waiheke sun with ease!

After a few samples we had a look around the 1200 litre brewkit. Originally from Tauranga where it was set up as a Mac’s brewery, this simple 2 vessel brewhouse has definitely done it’s time for NZ brewing and I’d say that with Alan at the helm, it will do many more years! The cooling on his fermenters is all manual, so it’s lucky he only lives a few minutes away, meaning he often stops by at night to ensure his babies are fermenting away at the right temperature.

The beers are served from their own cooling tanks through a 47 metre beer line that runs direct to the bar! Not only do they do the 4 core beers, they also do an incredible non-alcoholic Ginger Beer called Hauraki Gulf Ginger, which was devised by Alan in his kitchen and uses around 30 kilograms of freshly juiced root ginger in every 600 litres! Alan also had his very first batch of cider on, which completed a fantastic range. The cider is awesome.

We then headed out into the vineyard and had a bit of a go at archery. Needless to say, the NZ Olympics team better look elsewhere for talent, though Leon from our production company, Augusto, nailed a few close to the bullseye. We then all took our turns at some laser clay bird shooting before heading in for an amazing burger and beer. I can’t recommend this place more highly and if you really want to try some great Kiwi beer, then jump on the ferry in Auckland and get out there as soon as you can. You won’t regret it!

The office beckoned however, so we headed back to the mainland to do some of that proper work stuff. It always seems to get in the way! We’re going to hit Hallertau Brewery tomorrow in Riverhead, west of Auckland and check out Steam Brewery and even ourselves at Epic. Another busy day beckons!!



Support is Choice!

For those non-New Zealand readers, “choice” is a term that Kiwis tend (or tended) to use to refer to something being cool, nice or just plain awesome. For example, “Check out my Mazda RX-7, bought it today!” to which the answer would be “That’s choice, bro”. I would use different words, but hey, RX-7s were never for me…

As most of you are aware, Luke Nicholas of Epic Brewing Co. and myself (also of Epic Brewing Co. as of this year) embarked on a 17 day road trip back in January and February that saw us visiting and filming 44 breweries and resulted in a collaboration beer called Mash Up, the world’s largest collaborative brew. We are still trying to get this out there as a bunch of webisodes, with each one highlighting breweries or areas that we visited.

Kelly's lovely tea-stained coaster. Should be beer-stained!

The idea behind this was to get some footage of what it is that these breweries are doing, having a chat to the brewers and owners and generally allowing those in the comforts of their own armchairs to have a glimpse inside some of Aotearoa’s great breweries. The challenge with such a mission is that it cost money. Campervans and film crews and food and brews along the way. Sometimes we had amazing custom from people along the way, other times it cost us a bit. Then there is the editing. This also costs keg-loads of money and we assumed that the sales from the beer throughout the year would cover the costs of brewing/production/packaging as well as the trip and the editing. It didn’t.

So a shout out was made on Facebook and Twitter for people to buy a Mash Up instead of a green-bottled beer to show their support, not only for our project, but for a certain rugby team that was playing in a certain final a few weeks back. I’m sure now that the event that couldn’t be named due to hardcore copyright madness is now able to be named, but just to be on the safe side, I won’t name it. I can give you a hint though… it’s initials are the same as the following… “Right Wing Capitalists”. No link between the two of course.

Then Luke had an idea… We need about $10 000 more to complete the editing, a batch yields us around 10 000 bottles and the $1 profit we make per bottle would pay for it! So we’re gonna brew another batch tomorrow, which should see Mash Up around for the next couple of months. I’m not gonna beat around the bush. We hope people buy it and we get to finish the NZ Craft Beer TV project. That’d be cool.

We’ve also taken the liberty to alter this recipe a bit… We’re using more NZ malt than the previous batches and we’re gonna increase the dry-hop to balance out this change in grist. Better than the first two batches? We hope so!

So, if you drink a Mash Up, take a pic and post it on the NZ Craft Beer TV page or elsewhere in Facebook to show your support for the project. We’ve had some awesome support from a few brewers around the country who have given the recipe a whirl: Martin Bennett from The Twisted Hop, Joseph Wood from Liberty Brewing, Fraser Kennedy from Ad Lib Brewing and we’ve heard rumour that Dave Kurth from West Coast Brewing and Stephen Plowman fromHallertau Brewery are also gonna give it a go. The recipe is also on the NZ Real Beer Forum if any of you keen homebrewers out there want to have a go. We’re thinking that we’d like to try your brews, we’ll judge the best one and give you a sweet little prize.

Shot fellas (Do you see what I did there? I finished with another Kiwiism…) “Shot” means “thanks” and “fellas” refers to you lot!

Kia ora


Your Turn To Brew - MASH UP

Hi all,

Here are the ins and outs of the NZ Craft Beer TV Mash Up recipe as it was communicated to the collaborating craft breweries. I'll sit down today and convert it to a 20 litre brew for everyone so you don't have to headbutt the calculator yourselves. Thinking maybe if anyone wants to give it a crack, Luke and I will probably get a little competition going where we'll judge a bunch of your Mash Ups and vote on the best. Anyone keen?



The Recipe
Maris Otter Pale Ale Malt - 70%
Gladfield Ale Malt - 30%
Original Gravity - 1.058
Final Gravity - 1.012
Final AbV(%) - 6.0
Liquor Treatment - Calcium chloride only (in mash) at rate of 0.59 grams per kilogram of grain (based on starting water chemistry as follows): 
Ca 9.7 ppm
SO4   0.5 ppm
Mg 0.1ppm
Na 12.2 ppm
Cl 15 ppm
CO3 30 ppm 
Mash Grist:Liquor ratio - 1:2.6

67 degrees Celsius mash temperature, 45 minute saccharification time

Hops - Southern Cross, Riwaka, New Zealand Cascade

1st addition - Southern Cross(at boil start)
2nd addition - Riwaka, NZ Cascade and Southern Cross (flavour addition, 30 minutes before boil end)
3rd addition - Riwaka, NZ Cascade and Southern Cross (aroma addition, add at boil end or into whirlpool)

Aim for 50 IBU and 90 minute boil time.

Dry hopping - Add into fermenter at SG of 1.015 - 1.020. Add Southern Cross, Cascade and Riwaka.

Hopping proportions will vary on your system and IBU calculations, but can be proportioned as follows:

1st addition - Southern Cross at 8.5% of total brewhouse hop volume
2nd addition - Riwaka at 22.9% of total brewhouse hop volume. NZ Cascade at 13.1% of total brewhouse hop volume. Southern Cross at 6.5% of total brewhouse volume.
3rd addition - Riwaka at 9.8% of total brewhouse hop volume. NZ Cascade at 26.1% of total brewhouse hop volume. Southern Cross at 13.1% of total brewhouse hop volume.

Dry hopping rates - Total = 3.48 grams hops/litre of fermenting beer

- Southern Cross - 1.63 grams/litre.

- NZ Cascade - 1.14 grams/litre.

- Riwaka - 0.71 grams/litre.

Due to the lack of Riwaka on the market, we recommend a combination of Motueka and Nelson Sauvin (at a ratio of 4:1) to give a flavour/aroma profile that is similar. This would have to be adjusted according to alpha acid percentages.