Hops production in NZ slumps by 10 percent

The New Zealand Hops co-operative says its 18 growers, which are in the Nelson region, produced about 750 tonnes of hops, which was 33 tonnes less than the year before.

Chief executive Doug Donelan said the weather had not been right since spring.

“The growing season wasn’t very good. We had a cold summer and prior to that during the early stages it was a very wet spring. The two things you really don’t want when you’re growing hops.”

Mr Donelan said some varieties were hit harder than others.

“We were down 30 percent on some varieties, but overall it was probably down about 10 percent on the previous year… that came off increasing acreage so we actually had more plants in the ground and produced less hops.”

The co-operative is working to increase the production of hops and wants to grow total volume by 30 percent to about 1100 tonnes.

New Rangiora fillery an oasis in a craft beer desert


Dave Wilmott is bringing an oasis to the craft beer and cider desert of Rangiora.

Rangiora’s first craft beer and cider fillery, The Good Drop at 7 Durham St, will open on Wednesday after the store’s off-licence came through on Tuesday.

Customers can fill their own bottles – or use those provided – with their choice of a range of 20 craft beer and ciders.

(Full Article)

Brother’s Day beer

My plans for a Mother’s Day beer column went out the window when I realised today, May 6, was my brother’s birthday.

If you want a Mother’s Day column you can find one here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/79433567/get-mum-some-drinkable-perfume–beer but this year I’m going to do Brother’s Day.

Back in the early 1990s Tim and I were regular consumers of the Mac’s range, particular Black Mac, which was probably the most sophisticated set of beers you could regularly lay your hands in those days. But in 2004 Tim played a role in starting my craft beer journey. On a trip home from Australia, I visited him in Christchurch and he offered me a Monteith’s Summer Ale. It was the beer that woke me up to the wider flavour possibilities on offer in New Zealand and it seemed light years ahead of anything I was drinking in Australia.

Tim and his family now live in Perth, and I’m back here, so in the spirit of that Summer Ale awakening, I figured it was time to return the favour and give him a taste of what he’s missing in New Zealand.

Call it the birthday six-pack. I might even send him one, if he’s lucky.

(Full Article)

Cathay Pacific’s Betsy Beer is coming to New Zealand flights


Cathay Pacific’s unique craft beer – brewed to taste better at 35,000 feet – is coming to a flight near you.

The Hong Kong airline announced today that it plans to introduce its craft brew to flights between Hong Kong and New Zealand, as wells on services to Europe, Canada, the United States, Japan, and Tel Aviv.

Betsy Beer – named in honour of the airline’s first plane – was rolled out in March and April for business and first class passengers travelling between Hong Kong and Britain.
Created in a partnership with Hong Kong Beer Co, the ingredients include a lychee-like fruit and Hong Kong honey. (full article)

Hawke’s Bay winery turning its hand to craft beer


For the last few months the winery has had two new beverages for customers to sample, but instead of grapes this variety is flavoured with hops and malt.

The brewers of the Trinity Hill IPA and session ale beers are better known as the winery’s cellar master Sebastian Hanse and logistics and inventory manager Roy Kamphuis. (full story)

Amber liquid turns gold for Waipu brewery


Milton Mewett, Geoff Gwynne, Jason Bathgate and Clayton Gwynne, from Waipu’s McLeod’s Brewery, with their gold-medal-winning Tropical Cyclone Double IPA. Photo / Michael Cunningham

There’s a beer revolution going on at Waipu, with the owners of McLeod’s Brewery determined to change the drinking habits of the country into appreciating fine craft beer.

And the plan is already paying dividends, with McLeod’s Brewery coming away with three medals – including a gold – for its brews at the weekend’s prestigious New World Beer and Cider Awards.

The brewery won gold for its Tropical Cyclone Double India Pale Ale, which certainly tickled the tastebuds of the competition judges.

“Head brewer Jason Bathgate has worked wonders with the brews in the past year, and the Tropical Cyclone is right up there alongside New Zealand’s best double IPAs. [It has] huge tropical fruit aromas with the slightly musky, dank smell you get from ripe papaya. Great length, well balanced, clean and juicy,” were some of the comments from this year’s panel of independent judges. (full story)

Craft beer expert Michael Donaldson’s surprise as Epic Armageddon clinches coveted IPA trophy again


Craft beer expert Michael Donaldson chaired the judging of this year’s New World Beer & Cider Awards. The author of two books on New Zealand beer was surprised when Epic Armageddon won the coveted IPA trophy for the second year in a row.

Were you surprised when Epic Armageddon won Best IPA for the second year in a row?

I couldn’t believe it because the IPA class is so competitive. It’s a blind tasting so we don’t know who has won until afterwards. It’s also won the Brewers Guild awards twice in a row. It’s won in Sweden and Australia. It just keeps coming out on top.

Epic owner Luke Nicholas gets his hops from America. Is that unusual for a New Zealand brewer?

Yes. The majority of our brewers use local hops. There’s enough for everybody despite high demand. Luke uses US hops because he started out brewing American-style beers. They just have the flavour profile he’s after. Parrot Dog Pandemonium won Best Pilsner with Australian hops even though New Zealand pilsners are the thing at the moment for their tropical passionfruit aromas. (full story)

Auckland brewers rule at Beer and Cider Awards


The hoppy notes of India Pale Ale were one of the big winners at the Beer and Cider Awards this year. The other was Auckland.

The city is proving itself a beer powerhouse, with Auckland breweries taking out 10 of the 12 Champion awards for beers and ciders.

Judges blind-tested more than 500 beers and ciders to pick the winners of the awards, which are run by New World. Criteria for the winning tipples include drinkability, mouthfeel, balance and technical excellence.

Indian Pale Ale (IPA) is a favourite of craft brewers and the class was hotly contested this year. Judges sipped their way through more than 70 entries from 45 breweries from around the country, with Onehunga-based brewery Epic’s Armageddon IPA winning for the second year in a row. (full story)

Boutique beer heaven

The Southland palate received a crash course in craft beer on Saturday, with brewers from all over the country attending the inaugural Hop’n’Vine beer festival.

Some of New Zealand’s top craft breweries were showing their wares at the event, which was held at the ILT Stadium Southland Velodrome.

Downie said the festival was an opportunity build the profile of craft beer in the region, and in particular showcase Southland brewers.  (full story)


More money, more problems – Kiwi craft beer growing pains


What happens when your hobby and passion become your business? And what happens when business booms?

The incredible growth of craft beer in the past decade has created a difficult dilemma for many of the nation’s craft brewers, who suddenly find themselves running multimillion-dollar operations.

The craft beer boom has transformed the industry.

Statistics released today show total beer consumption is growing again for the first time in years.

The high alcohol category – which tends to reflect the craft beer end of the market – has doubled in the past five years and rose 17 per cent last year.

But some breweries have been growing much faster. (full story)