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
Letters To The Business Editor – Page D7
Re: Recession Bites Grog Sales – Sunday Star Times 28th June, 2009
I was surprised to read this article which does give the point of view
of the large brewers in this country and the commodity they sell
called beer. It is easy for consumers of this type of product to trade
down in tough economic times due to the fact that the flavour
difference between the so called “premium” international style lagers
and the budget NZ draught styles (which evolved during tough economic
times during WWII) is minimal.
There is a segment of the New Zealand beer market that is still
experiencing growth, the craft beers. Last week I was in Christchurch
for a meeting of NZ craft brewers looking at setting up an export
cooperative for the Australian market. We all talked about the growth
rate were are all experiencing even now of 50% – 100% across the
brewers at the table. We also discussed the issues we are currently
having getting funding to expand capacity in our breweries. This is
definitely something that the current economic situation if effecting
the 50 craft breweries of New Zealand
As a brewer myself of craft beer, I would be surprised to see my
customers trading down, as there is no comparative products that are
cheaper. As a craft brewer I am making beers full of flavour, and
don’t compromise of ingredients, as a result my beer cost
significantly more. But there is a growing market for these beers.
This month I am releasing a beer that could arguably be most
flavourful beer in New Zealand, Epic Armageddon IPA. This beer will be
selling in supermarkets for around $10 per 500ml bottle and I expect
to sell out within a few weeks.
General Manager – Flying Brewer 😉
EPIC Brewing Company
Summary of Luke’s trip to the UK to brew a batch of Epic Pale Ale at Everard’s Brewery in Leicester for the JD Wetherspoons International Real Ale Festival
The Epic beer brand had pride of place on Campbell Live this week with an item extolling the virtues of the beer and its improved sales in the face of the economic downturn. “Packs a punch”, noted the Campbell Live reporter approvingly.
Separately, John Campbell promoted free tickets to the Munich Oktoberfest as a part of a competition for the New Zealand Beer Festival – whose other major sponsor is Liquorland.
The details for the competition listed TV3 owner MediaWorks as a promoter for the competition.
We wondered if the two matters were connected, but TV3 news and current affairs director Mark Jennings said they were not.
Executive producer Carol Hirschfeld says she was indeed told to put “promoter” on the website by TV3 legal counsel Clare Bradley.
“In essence I suppose we are promoting a competition to our viewers for a trip to the German beer festival but we are not promoting any beer brand or liquor company.
“I’m not sure what the issue is here … from what I understand, you think it is a problem that the competition followed a story on a boutique brewery? This was basically coincidental.”
We wondered if the advertising folk had any role in the line-up.
“The sales department have not had and never do have any input into these things.
“Organisers of the competition had rung us [with the idea for the Epic story] and Carol agreed. The competition was already running,” Jennings said.
TV3 marketing boss Roger Beaumont said Campbell had presented other competitions on air in the past.
Epic Beer’s hoppy brew an economic success
Mr Nicholas cannot compete with the big-boys financially but is determined to remain independent.
He does not think the major brewers could afford him anyway.
“Probably not because I think any of the big brewers that would look for acquisition, would look at how much it would cost to make Epic and how much I have to spend on hops to get that flavour and go ‘that’s insane’.”
See Video On Demand
It’s a sad fact that one of this country’s most highly awarded beers of recent times, Epic Pale Ale, is available from just 250 outlets. Soon, however, that number is set to quadruple to around 1000; but it won’t be Kiwis benefiting.
Luke Nicholas, of Epic Brewing Company is going to the UK to brew a batch of Epic Pale Ale for the World’s Biggest International Real Ale Festival.
The two week festival is run by giant pub company JD Wetherspoons from April 15 to May 4 2009. During this time, their 700 British pubs will sell more than 2.5 million pints of real ale. Over 50 cask ales will be available during the festival but only six will be made by international brewers.
2nd February 2009
26 hops per bottle
Best in Class – Festive Brew – BrewNZ 2006
Gold – Festive Brew – BrewNZ 2006
Available at the following festivals
14 Feb – Kumeu Beer Wine & Food Festival
28 Feb – NZ Beer Festival – Wellington
14 Mar – NZ Beer Festival – Auckland
Available On Tap –
Regional Wines & Spirits
Available in 500ml bottles –
Outlets to be announced via Twitter
follow me on http://twitter.com/epicbeer
UK Pale Ale, Munich and Crystal malts
US Cascade & NZ Riwaka hops
Official Release can be read here
More on Epic Mayhem here
The event will take place at Waitangi Park in Wellington in February, before returning to its birthplace at Auckland’s Ellerslie Racecourse in March.
The New Zealand Beer Festival is less about swilling the cheap stuff, than it is craft brewing, featuring the likes of the hop-laden (15 per bottle) Epic Pale Ale and Mexicali’s chili beer.’
Tickets for the Auckland and Wellington festivals go on sale from nine a.m on Thursday from Liquorland and www.iticket.co.nz