August 7, 2015 by 250 Beers
Beervana in Wellington, New Zealand is now one of the most talked about beer festivals in the southern hemisphere.
The two-day affair showcasing more than 200 beers from New Zealand, Australia and around the world kicks off a week today – next Friday 14th August and shit, balls, arse…I won’t be there.
Despite my imminent non-attendance, I can lay claim to being part of a famed Beervana Media Brew. The concept is famed and not necessarily the actual beer…yet. To say that I’m a little peeved at not going is an understatement.
I’ve decided My wife has decided that I should spend some time with my family having enjoyed beery high jinx a little too often in recent months. The suggestion of a trip to New Zealand didn’t go down too well. Either that or my sales pitch to Mrs 250 Beers was utter shite. The pitch included “…but it’s a work trip darling…” and she scowled harder than ever.
The Beervana Media Brew concept is simple – it’s a competition whereby a brewery pairs with a media outlet and collaborates to brew a beer that will be available at Beervana. My involvement comes as part of a collaborative project with Newstead Brewing Co and (to mix things up in a mighty fine way) Beervana regulars and Brisbane dive bar supremos, The Scratch Bar.
A three-way collab. if you will.
Now let me set the record straight because I can almost hear murmurs of “You bloody well work for Newstead Brewing Co!” Yes, I bloody well do. However, the invitation and approach from Mark Howes to join in on an official media brew came before I commenced employment at the Brisbane microbrewery. So there.
It had been decided prior to brew day that our media brew would be based on the style of an Australian Pale Ale with a New Zealand twist. By twist I mean including a hop variety from New Zealand PLUS something from our near neighbours that Aussies have claimed as their own over the years – the pavlova. Yes, a pavlova beer was the go.
The inclusion of Phar Lap and Russell Crowe on the tap decal of Rusty Crowe’s Pavlova further cements Australia’s theft of all things Kiwi. It’s an interesting coincidence that ol’ Rusty himself was actually born in Wellington.
So, brew day, Wednesday 3rd June, 9.00am. What can I say?! Those that know how anarchic the Scratch family can be at times will perhaps sympathise with a very well organised Mark Howes whose brewery is generally well-kept and in order. A brew day with 11 pairs of hands would be
The grain bill consisted of pale malt, carapils, malted oats, rolled barley, rolled wheat and a shit-tonne (figuratively) of unfermentable lactose. You get the picture right? At this stage the beer is already shaping up to be one helluva creamy pavlova beer – without any cream.
We all dutifully took turns at stirring the mash…
In fact, we all got heavily involved. Everybody apart from Mark who took pleasure in letting everybody else do the graft. Oh, and me…I spent a lot of time documenting the day.
Once our juvenile pavlova beer had been transferred to a fermentation tank, and after the yeast had been pitched, the shortest of collaborators scaled the tallest of ladders to dry hop with Riwaka, Amarillo and Citra…
The trouble with adding a lot of bulk into a beer is that the filtration of it will prove to be a bastard. Filtering Rusty took approximately 12 hours and a lot of patience. This HERE video will set the scene. Bastard.
I was fortunate enough to try the beer a day or two into fermentation and it was shaping up to be a truly amazing beer. It’s often very easy to be biased towards a beer especially when the
writer blogger writing blogging was directly involved. It’s also very easy to say nice things about your employer when he might read this but it’s a dead-set certainty that Mark has nailed the 12 hectolitre brewing system at Newstead. He knows its capacities and boundaries as well as its restrictions and I’m confident that the 9 x 50 litre kegs of Rusty Crowe’s Pavlova that were despatched to New Zealand a few weeks ago will be well received in Wellington next week.
There are only a small handful of kegs that will make an appearance at Newstead Brewing Co and around Brisbane after Beervana. Please keep an eye out and try it if you find it.
Will it win next weekend?! Who knows. I hope so because the winning Beervana Media Brew will be canned and sold in New Zealand. Imagine that – a Rusty can!