Epic Journey recreates beer’s most famous voyage

Forty litres of fresh India Pale Ale from Auckland will spend up to six weeks at sea on the Interislander Ferry looking to recreate a recreation of beer’s most famous voyage.

In the 1880s, pale ale from Burton-on-Trent in England took around six weeks on tall ships to reach its thirsty customers in India. British beer writer Pete Brown recently retraced the long journey which helped create this iconic style of beer. He chronicled his adventures in the newly released book Hops and Glory: One Man’s Search for the Beer that Built the British Empire.

After a sleepless night finishing the book, Malthouse proprietor Colin Mallon had the ‘crazy idea’ of replicating the experience in New Zealand. “I had met Pete Brown in England recently and just loved the book. First, I needed some beer. My first thought was Epic Armageddon, a limited release double India Pale Ale brewed by Luke Nicholas from Epic Brewing Company. He agreed immediately. Then I needed a boat. The Interislander Ferry agreed immediately. I tasked Luke with finding appropriate barrels,” says Colin.

“I sourced two 20-litre new oak barrels and filled them with fresh Armageddon,” Luke explains. “I recently brewed a real ale in England for a huge British beer festival so I knew Armageddon was not a million miles away from what a traditional pale ale would have tasted like. For a beer to stand up to the kind of treatment we have in mind it has to be pretty robust. Armageddon is definitely big, strong and hoppy. The idea is to see what effect changes in temperature and constant movement has on beer stored in wood. Most pundits believe India Pale Ale’s benefitted from the conditioning they received during their sea voyages.”

Colin and Luke jointly christened the beer ‘Epic Journey’ while the barrels are affectionately known as Pete (after Pete Brown) and Melissa (in honour of British beer writer Melissa Cole). Pete and Melissa will spend up to six weeks on the ferry before being ceremonially tapped at Beervana at the Wellington Town Hall, 28th & 29th August.

For the full background story see http://armageddon.epicbeer.com

Beer Haiku Friday, Beer Battles and Beer Journeys

In the 1,001th post on this fine blog, Beer Haiku Friday continues its ratings dominance with “big foamy head

Just some good ole boys
Talking beer, blues, barbecue
And living the dream

The TAB is offering long odds on Neil “Haiku” Miller becoming a more popular nickname than Luke “The Imp” Nicholas.

Over at the Malthouse blog, the 30th post there looks at the West Coast Challenge, brewers talking like professional wrestlers and the Dux de Lux. It is titled “Whatcha gonna do, brother, when the hoppiest beers in the world run wild on you?”

Over a quiet pint of Epic one evening, the Handsome and Softly Spoken Scotsman had the crazy idea of recreating Pete Brown’s IPA voyage recreation right here in New Zealand. He asked the Impish brewer to procure some wooden barrels and fill them with Armageddon. The Impish brewer immediately agreed. He asked the Interislander ferry if the barrels could go on their ship for up to six weeks. The Interislander people immediately agreed.

Glass Tip – Beer Haiku Daily

Beerly Writing – Winter Warmers and Beer Talk

The May Cellar Vate beer tasting looked at “Winter Warmers” in appropiately wintery conditions:

The theme of this beer tasting – Winter Warmers – was selected as the last vestiges of autumn still lay snugly over the Capital. By the time the anointed time arrived, the weather had conveniently provided a week of cold, gales and rain to really set the scene for a selection of darker, stronger, warming beers. Forty people tried a range of dark lagers, porters, stouts and dubbels in the Cabinet Room at the Backbencher.

Over at the Malthouse blog, the latest post, “Lets talk about beer“, looks at the subtle art of beer writing and Cooper’s Stout:

Liquor aficionado Frank Kelly Rich once penned a thoughtful piece on why beer appreciation (or “beer snobbery” as he called it) was superior in virtually every way to wine snobbery. Of course, Mr Rich considers anyone who drinks out of a glass rather than a furtive paper bag to be a bit of snob really. Fundamentally, he argued that beer snobs had it better because the dress code was more casual, there was no need to learn French and you could basically make everything up because no-one really knows what they are talking about when it comes to beer.

Glass Tips – The Backbencher and The Malthouse

Beerly Blogging – Waiter there’s an oyster in my beer

The latest Malthouse blog has a look at unusual ingredients in beer and Three Boys Oyster Stout. It is called “Waiter there’s an oyster in my beer“:

You can, technically, put pretty much anything into beer if you really want to. Off the top of my head I’ve had beers made with cherries, raspberries, peaches, plums, lemon, lime, pineapple, pumpkin, heather, rimu, spruce, elderberries, bog myrtle, coriander, cumin, thyme, lemongrass, chilli, honey, cinnamon, kawakawa, candy sugar, wheat, oats, rice, rye, peat smoked malt, chocolate, liquorice, coffee, caffeine, caramel, bourbon, whisky, wild yeast, guarana and Food Acid 330.

Of course, just because you are able to put an ingredient into a beer doesn’t mean that it is a necessarily a good idea.

Glass Tip – The Malthouse

A passion for drinking on the job

Mr Mallon, a softly spoken Scotsman, arrived in Wellington about five years ago and now manages The Malthouse in Courtenay Place.

“But my passion came from running a real ale bar in Edinburgh, which I did for a couple of years. It was eye opening to see that beer didn’t have to be as blonde and fizzy as a Budweiser.”

A beer revolution was hopping along in New Zealand, he said, even though beer sales had fallen in recent years. “Beer isn’t a growing market. However, the craft beer segment of the market is increasing. There are some fantastic products out there.”

Many boutique beers are designed to be matched with food but never suggest to Mr Mallon that they should be swilled.

“I hate it when people talk about beer and use the word swilling, which is never used to describe wine drinking.

“Beer seems to have the tag of being the poor relation to wine. I have made it my mission in life to try and convince people otherwise.”