VIDEO – Brew Day – House of Nicholas – Sarah IPA – #FreshHopNZ15

Video from the Brew Day at Hop Federation, with Simon Nicholas & Luke Nicholas. – HOUSE OF NICHOLAS #FreshHopNZ15

Day 23 – Beers of Auckland – Stuntman IIPA

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 23 – Stuntman IIPA by Hallertau

StuntmanTAP + BOTTLE: Stuntman IIPA
BREWED: The Beer Fountain

ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 90
HOPS: Lots and Lots

This is probably the first time I’ve had Stuntman IIPA in at least six months. Man it is tasting good. My memory of it was more full-bodied and a bit chewy. This batch is lean, clean, bitter and ready to kick some serious ass.

I only had a taste while having lunch at Hallertau today, but did bring home a bottle. Bottled in September, it has lost some hop aroma and flavour compared to the tap version but still a very serious beer.
IMG_1677 2

As I taste my Hallertau from my Spiegelau IPA glass I start to think maybe it’s time that there should be a taste off with Stuntman IIPA, Citra and Hop Zombie, all Double/Imperial IPA’s. From Three of the Four Horsemen of the Hopcalypse.

Maybe at the release of the 2015 Four Horsemen of the Hopcalypse, would be a good opportunity to do this. Because that is just what a release party for a 12%abv beer needs, a tasting of with three beer that are 8.5%+abv.

Anyway, something to think about.

I had some lunch. Didn’t get the burger (I know I should have for comparison purposes) I got the Chicken Arms instead, because of the cool name and it was one item I haven’t tried on the current menu. As you would expect they were good. I haven’t ever had a bad food experience at Hallertau before. Always yummy (get the Jalapeno Poppers). Also it was just too hot to eat a big meal at lunch today. So hot in fact they installed a fan next to me while I ate. How considerate.

Cheers Steve. Always good to catch up for a beer, and Merry Christmas. Shame we live on opposite sides of the city, as it would be nice to share a beer more often.

Yes, I need to get my Gin reviews finished, and updated. I hope to do this over the holidays.

How Many Breweries in Auckland?

Beer Fountain - Hallertau LibertyThe Brewers Guild of New Zealand have announced (see below) that they had received 670 beers entries from 82 breweries for the 2014 NZ Beer Awards. This is pretty exciting news as it is a record number of entries for the competition.

The piece of information that surprised me in the press release was that there are 18 breweries in Auckland that have entered. I guess it has been awhile since anyone has actually counted / listed the breweries (beer brands) in Auckland. I hadn’t given it much thought, hence the surprise.

Below is a list of breweries (bold) and beer brands (contract brewed). My count here is 29? breweries/brands. If you can think of any others let me know and I’ll update this list.


Lion Breweries
– Macs
– Crafty Beggars

DB Breweries
– Monteith’s

Independent Liquor
– Boundary Road Brewery
– Founders

Steam Brewing Company
– Epic Brewing Company
– Bach Brewing Company
– 8 Wired Brewing
– Croucher Brewing
– Galbraith’s Brewing Company

The Beer Fountain
– Hallertau Brewpub
– Liberty Brewing Company
Behemoth Brewing Company

Shakespeare Brewery – brewpub

Brothers Beer – brewpub
Laughing Bones Brewing

Deep Creek Brewery – brewpub

Galbraith’s Brewing Company – brewpub

Waiheke Island Brewery – brewpub (Wild on Waiheke)

Leigh Sawmill Brewery – brewpub?

Hancocks – brewed at McCashins

Black Sands Brewery

  • Ben Middlemiss Brewing Company
    – Schippers Beer

Zeppelin BrewingGovernors Lager
Weezeldog Brewing – Brewed at Zeppelin Brewing

Dedwood Brewing Co. – not sure if this is still going. I think it was a Williams Warn system set up by Luke Dellow in his bar Tin Soldier. Guess this gets the title for smallest commercial brewery in New Zealand at 20 litres? Could this be called a brewpub?

1010 Brewing – Sales St, is this still open? Are they still brewing? Brewpub

Little Empire Brewing – The Crown (previously The Brewery Britomart) now used as a small test/trial brewery for Lion brewers. Not even sure the official name for the brewery, or how often they brew. Guess it is time for a quick visit. Brewpub

Ale Chaps Brewing – Waiheke ( Amelia Beerhart )

How many breweries in Auckland?

[ready_google_map id=’1′]




Beer judges fizzing to find New Zealand’s champion brewery

A record number of New Zealand breweries are vying to be crowned beer champion at New Zealand’s prestigious beer awards, the 2014 Brewers’ Guild of New Zealand Awards.

Now in its eight year, entries for the beer awards officially closed last week with more than 670 beers from 82 breweries being nominated across seventeen beer categories.  A total of 72 breweries were nominated from New Zealand.

Brewers Guild Chairman, Craig Bowen, said New Zealand breweries had been performing well in international competitions.  He was looking forward to seeing this level of quality and success translated to the New Zealand stage.

“Beer brewing has exploded in recent times – amongst hobbyists and professional brewers alike.   In the last two years, the number of professional brewing operations in New Zealand has increased by more than a third.

“That confirms that New Zealand is enjoying a golden period for brewing in terms of the variety and quality of beers produced.  These Awards are the epitome of the $2.2 billion beer industry, and reward those who are especially talented at brewing quality beer,” he said.

The Brewers’ Guild of New Zealand Awards is an international competition, with entries from throughout New Zealand and the world.  Judging will take place over three days from 8 August with the judging panel comprising 25 national and internationally qualified judges.

All beer entries will be rated against a style guide for each category for its aroma, colour, bitterness, flavour and presentation.  A beer’s overall balance of characteristics, with all those factors taken into account, is then rated and judges decide whether it’s worthy of a gold, silver or bronze medal.

Winners of the 2014 Brewers Guild Awards of New Zealand will be announced at a gala dinner on 21 August at Shed 6, Wellington.

This year, Auckland has the most number of breweries vying for awards, with 18 breweries entered.  Last year, Marlborough-based Renaissance Brewing was crowned 2013 New Zealand Champion.

For more information including a list of all categories and beers nominated for the Awards, visit

2014 Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards – nominations by region:

Northland – 1Bay of Plenty -5Wellington – 12Taranaki – 1Otago – 2
Auckland – 18Hawkes Bay  – 5Nelson/Tasman -7Canterbury – 12Southland – 1
Waikato – 2Poverty Bay – 2Marlborough – 3West Coast – 1International – 10


How To Win The Beer Awards

This was originally just going to be a tasting of Renaissance Brewing Company beers, as they had won the Champion Small Brewery for the second time in a row at the 2014 AIBA (Australian International Beer Awards). It has evolved into things I think about when looking at results and when thinking about entering my beers into competitions.

It started with the thought about “hey I should get my hands on all the award-winning Renaissance beers so I can and see what makes them the Champion Small Brewery two years in a row.”

In Auckland, specifically Lunn Ave there were only 5 available of the 11 medal beers – from 13 beers entered. The stores visited were PaknSave, New World and Fine Wine Delivery Co. It turned out to be a good sample. Below is the name of the beer / best before date/ medal won and tasting notes.
Renaissance Champion Small BreweryVoyager IPA – Mar 15 – Silver aroma subtle sweet fruity. OK, low hops, no faults, lingering bitterness, did well in category. Seemed to be lacking hop intensity for the style.
Elemental Porter – Aug 14 –  Bronze – very tasty, biscuity, good mouth feel, good balance and drinkability, smooth chocolate, caramel, clean finish. Seems unlucky it only got a Bronze medal.
Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout – May 15 – Bronze  no cobwebs under cap**. aroma dry toast, cold coffee, burnt wood, burnt fruit toast.  taste cocoa, but needs a little more body, little acrid in the finish, more sweetness like the Porter.  (Drank the Epic Coffee & Fig afterwards totally changes the Epic beer, big hops and figs. Great beer match – try these two beers together).
Stonecutter – Mar 15 – Silver  sheep manure, agricultural, peaty, blue cheese, farmyard, smoked peat. Good medal. very balanced, and drinkable. Probably my favourite and most balanced out of the five we tried. I love Scotch Ales.
Tribute Barley Wine 2011 – No Best Before* – Silver – aroma biscuity and husky, grainy, burnt hazelnuts, rasiny, viscous, cloying sweetness, misses something in the mid palate. (* did you know you do not have to put a best before date on a beer bottle if the beer is going to be good beyond two years.)

Overall it seemed like a pretty solid range of tasty well made beers that medalled well. Congratulations to Andy and Brian at Renaissance for taking out another great award. Nothing like consistency to show people how great your range of beers are.

The next question that came to mind was what is the criteria that for winning this trophy?

Awarded to the international brewery with an annual production volume up to & including 5,000hL which has the highest average score from the four top scoring exhibits entered by the brewery.

Here is where I go off on to “How To Win The Beer Awards”

There are many beer awards competitions around the world, and after looking at them and their rules, there are ways you can improve your chances of winning an award.

Take the above for example “highest average score from the four top scoring exhibits entered by the brewery”. To me this reads “enter as many beers as you can” (it will cost you more money) but it increases your chances as it is your four highest scoring beers.

Other ways of increasing your chances

  • Plan your brewing schedule so that all your beers are super fresh and ready at time shipping to meet deadlines at the last possible moment.

  • What package type. If you can send kegs, do so as you are less likely to have issue with oxidation

  • Shipping conditions.  Ship the beer cold, and as fast as possible. Make sure you look after the beer the best you can, to give it the best chance. Time and temperature are working against you.

  • Play the numbers game. There are always classes where the number of entries is significantly lower than the popular ones like Pale Ale and IPA. AIBA as example, there were only three entries in the Scotch Ale class. This would be an obvious place to enter a beer next year.

  • Top end of style. Make sure your beer is at the top end of the style guidelines as it will stand out to the judges. If your beer is has the best aroma and greatest flavour, the highest IBU and ABV it is going to be marked better. Even though each beer is judged to the style guidelines and presented to the judge so they have no idea where the beer is from, after tasting a number of beers the same, the big ones are always going to do better.

  • Add enough hops. After judging both the World Beer Cup and the Australia International Beer Awards recently, the biggest thing that stood out was not enough hops for style. Judging Pale Ales, IPA’s and Imperial IPA’s the most common comment from the judges was “lacks hops for style”. So many of these beers just didn’t have enough hops. Maybe it is a reflection on how hard it is to get enough hops in this current market.

All of the above assumes that the brewer entering is making good beer that has no technical faults.

If any other judges and or brewers want to add to this list of ways to win the beer awards, please added your comments below.




Renaissance Cobwebs** we did notice mould under a number of the Renaissance caps, maybe the use of a water sprayer after the beer has been capped might solve this issue.

Moa Shareholders Will Be Sad :-(

A few days ago I wrote about Moa and their latest Annual Results. There have been a few articles analysing these results (see below), and commentary from the investment industry.

Since then Moa shares have continued to drop on the back of sharebrokers downgrading their recommendation on Moa stock from “neutral” to “underperform

Moa Sour BlancThe questions the media have raised seem to be around:

When they run out of money what happens next?
– do the existing shareholders get called on for more cash?
– will there be another issuing of shares, diluting current shareholders?
– will it be debt that is taken on to continue fund the company?
– will the Business Bakery and Pioneer Capital provide funds as a loan?

How will the new brewery be funded? Are they even going to build a brewery?

Will the main shareholders the Business Bakery and Pioneer Capital turn around, make an offer and buy out all shares and delist the company?

Will Moa merge with Stoke and Hancock’s to form the largest craft brewery in New Zealand? Or even Tuatara?

The questions I am currently thinking about:

With many people having Moa as their top of mind “craft / boutique brewery” in New Zealand does their current predicament and negative media attention cast a shadow over the whole craft beer industry?

Has this ultimately reduce the appetite of the public to invest in the (craft) brewing industry in New Zealand. i.e. if a brewery wanted to do an IPO, would they now be overly cautious and less likely to invest in a craft brewery, based on Moa’s performance?

On the flip side, even though we are seeing this negative angle, does it really matter as Moa have pretty much single-handedly raised awareness about breweries and craft beer in New Zealand to the general public. As much as the beer geeks might hate on them, the mainstream beer drinker in New Zealand now thinks about beer as more than just Lion and DB now.

Taking it to a random place, should the industry rally together and support each other to raise the awareness of craft beer which includes Moa. Do we (craft brewers) all have more to lose if they fall from grace in the eye of the public? Maybe this is something the Brewers Guild of New Zealand discuss on behalf of its members.


Moa shares tumble to new low
– 3:42 PM Thursday May 29, 2014

Shares in Moa Group, which raised $16 million when it went public in 2012, plunged to almost a third of its listing price after the boutique beer maker posted a wider full-year loss

“If you look at their cashflow statement they appear to be some way away from generating positive cashflow.”

Moa “unappetising” – analyst
– 1:00 PM Wednesday May 28, 2014

Sharebroker Forsyth Barr has downgraded its view on Moa Group, saying the company is an “unappetising investment case” and is expected to burn through its remaining cash reserves over the next 12 months, which may lead to a capital raising.

“However, we continue to struggle with the investment case in light of slow growth in key offshore markets and a trend towards lower margin products.”

Moa has turned a corner: boss
– 5:00 AM Wednesday May 28, 2014

“The company is looking at a range of financing alternatives and timing, and we will keep the market abreast of plans as soon as they are finalised,”


Moa Shareholders Will Be Happy?

Bit of a soft article this morning the NZ Herald about Moa signs deal to use Nelson brewery . Might as well have just posted the link to the post Moa has with the NZX – Moa secures capacity for growth

(the article was convenient as it just cut out the key points from the official release, so therefore saved time in reading the whole thing, thanks. I’m told journalists have to become experts 5 times a day as they write a lot on topics that are wide and varied, it must be hard work.Maybe cutting a pasting would be easier since Moa had already done the work of writing the release)

The release was put out yesterday about contract brewing, one day before the release of Moa’s Annual Results.

Moa Can Bottle
Moa in a can bottle on Air New Zealand.

After reading the good news article about contract brewing at Stoke/McCashin’s Brewery (funny how things change, remember when “IT HAS A TRUE BRICKS AND MORTAR HOME“? UPDATE 31 May 14 : Moa has deleted this page so this link no longer works. Google Cached Link for now) * I read the Moa Annual Results. Maybe there will be an article tomorrow covering the following.

[UPDATE 27 May 14: d’uh I just found this – Moa widens losses, gets shareholder backing ]

I’m not a Moa shareholder but I’d possibly be thinking “that is a pretty big loss”, but the reasons for it seem pretty legit, right?  $5.8 million loss on $4.6 million revenue. The biggie though is only $4 million in cash left. Will there be enough left to buy that bigger brewery, which was I thought one of or the main reasons for the IPO?

The following couple of quotes from the Annual Results caught my attention:





“As a consequence, the planned brewery expansion has not been undertaken and the anticipated capital expenditure has not been incurred…”


“The company is looking at a range of financing alternatives and timing to ensure adequate capital resources are available to support the Group’s growth plans and capitalise on opportunities…”

The contract brewing at Stoke maybe good news, but it was the only option at the end of the day since they haven’t built their own bigger brewery. The tough part is going to be funding the aggressive growth plan in this highly competitive global craft market.

Moa Share Price to 27 May 2014
Moa Share Price to 27 May 2014

I must say the Moa IPO has been fascinating for me, and watching how you have to keep feeding the media positive spin, in during the not so good times. Being a small publicly listed company, in a very fast changing, dynamic market is harder work than being a private company. Moa is living in the public eye, and what they are experiencing (read all the challenges in their Annual Results) is what I was alluding to in my Craft Bubble post. Craft beer isn’t all rosy and good times, there are many challenges for all sizes of craft breweries. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lot of fun, and the challenges keep it interesting. If it was easy everyone would do it…

Maybe I should write something about the challenges I’ve experienced and have seen others have to deal with in the growing craft beer market? . I’ll sleep on that for a bit.



* This was my favourite part. Even though the water part of beer is highly under rated.

[*The following has been retracted: The following A craft brewery does not contract brew at different breweries around the country or allow its beer to be brewed under licence overseas. The most important and influential ingredient in beer is water and you cannot accurately replicate your water supply in a different location.]

UPDATE 31 May 14: Looks like I am going to have to do screen grabs in the future. I wasn’t expecting Moa to delete the page from their website which I linked to.


Lion to close the Mac’s Brewery in Wellington

Lion Nathan has decided to relocate the Mac’s Craft Beer production capability from Wellington to the Canterbury Brewery, Christchurch and close the Mac’s Brewery in Wellington.

The Wellington Brewery is a higher-cost facility relative to our other breweries but up until now we considered this a component of our investment in building the Mac’s brand and its reputation for brewing innovation.

However the brand has developed to a point where consumer adoration for Mac’s no longer depends on the Wellington Brewery underpinning the brand’s reputation for brewing innovation. The maturity of the Mac’s brand and the introduction of the Mac’s Brewbars throughout the country have contributed to this change in consumer attitude, to the extent that we can now no longer justify the expense of operating the Wellington Brewery.

Full Story

Boysenbeery beer back for summer season

Invercargill Brewery’s award-winning Boysenbeery beer is back on the menu.

The colour of fine claret, Boysenbeery pours with a frothy pink head and is styled in the finest traditions of Belgium fruit beers. Its strong colour and flavor is all natural.

“We don’t use colouring or perfumes in any of our products. The art to brewing is seeing what you can achieve by using malt, hops and yeast and the brew process itself,” head brewer Steve Nally said.

“When we do use additional flavours they’re 100 percent natural too – like orange peel, Kamahi honey, herbs, spices and naturally reduced fruit concentrate – nothing that comes out of a chemistry lab.”

Boysenbeery gets its strong flavor and colour from fruit concentrate – each batch contains the equivalent of 15% berry by volume, more fruit than many branded fruit drinks sold in NZ.

Full Story

Row over name leaves DB in froth

The trademarking stoush between a multinational brewery and a bunch of Kiwi beer enthusiasts over the use of the beer term “radler” is starting to froth.

DB Breweries, which is now wholly owned by Singapore-based Asia Pacific Breweries, last week signalled its intention to fight a legal application filed in May by the Society of Beer Advocates (Soba) to invalidate its trade-marking of radler, in what is shaping as a David and Goliath beer battle.

Soba’s strategy would be to establish that New Zealanders, particularly brewers, were aware of the generic nature of the term before that date.

“We may soon require the assistance of all brewers in New Zealand in our quest to show that DB are either malicious in registering a trademark they knew was a generic brewing term, or incompetent in not knowing it was, when every other brewer worth their salt did,” Mr McGill said.

“One outcome means they lose the trademark, the other means they lose huge amounts of credibility by being a brewer without a clue about beer.”

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