FRESH HOP – Brew Day #freshhopnz14

Friday the Fresh Hops from New Zealand Hops were delivered to Steam Brewing Company, for the 12 Auckland Breweries who are part of the #freshhopnz14 mini festival. I’m told there are now 24 craft beer bars around Auckland participating. Launch day is 24th April.

Since I was in Christchurch for the weekend for the Great Kiwi Beer Festival I was unable to brew my Fresh Hop beer till today.

2014-03-31 12.26.22Due to the size of the brewhouse at Steam Brewing (10,000 litres), we worked out a way to brew a fresh hop beer on a smaller scale. We were brewing a batch of Epic Pale Ale and we diverted 1000 litres to the mixing tank (this tank is used for mixing soft drinks and juices at Steam Brewing).

 

 

 

 

 

 

freshhops14 This is me next to the 40kg of fresh Waimea hops.

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Fresh Hops in Mixing Tank #freshhopnz14 It was alot of Fresh Hops, 40kg is a large volume. We then pumped in nearly 1000 litres of Epic Pale Ale wort from the Whirlpool. (sorry no photos as it was just all steam)

We ran the mixing paddles.

We also recirculated the wort and hops.

It was a matter of making sure we got maximum contact.

At the same time I didn’t want the contact to be for too long as I want to retain the volatile aromas from the hops.

 

 

 

 

 

Hop Grant

Once it was fully mixed we hooked up the wort grant, and started transferring to the yeast propagation tank. The propagation tank is 600 litres and was around the size I thought would be good for this special fresh hop beer.

The grant was used so we could minimize the amount of hops going into the fermenter. (it has a fine mesh basket, that the liquid wort can go through, but not the hop flowers).

Once we had filled the fermenter, we ran out the remaining liquid and a bunch of hops.

We have to leave the hops overnight so that the maximum amount of liquid from the hops could come out before digging out the spent hop flowers.

Fingers crossed this is going to taste good. It smelled amazing while brewing.

Now I just need a witty name for the beer….

 

 

 

 

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BUSY – Brewing, Tap Takeover, Beer Fest, Brewing

Where to even start. There is so much going on in the next few days. Brewing a Black IPA, a Midweek Tap Takeover, Beer Festival in Christchurch, and a Fresh Hop beer.

HOP HARVEST – FRESH HOPS
Tues 25th – Fresh Hops – today the hops for the Auckland brewers were harvested in Wakefield, just outside Nelson. These fresh Waimea hops are being cooled down over night tonight. Tomorrow (Wed 26th) they will be packed up and put in a refrigerated truck and shipped overnight to Auckland. They are due for delivery at Steam Brewing Company on Friday 28th. #freshhopnz14 (brewing the beer on Monday 31st)

BREWING
Wed 26th – Black IPA – tomorrow I’m in the brewery, brewing a Black IPA – Apocalypse. It has been 4 years (I think, pretty sure) since I first brewed this. I wasn’t totally happy with it at the time, but since then have drunk many Black IPA’s from around the world (mostly US brewed), and feel I have a better idea now of what I want to achieve. So lets see how this new recipe goes.

RepocalypseLast year I brewed a special one-off batch of a trial recipe for this at the Fork & Brewer which we called Repocalypse. It was only available for a very limited time in Wellington.

Radio NZ Interview – 10:45-12pm
I’m due to do a radio interview about the Great Kiwi Beer Festival, from the brewery which can be a bit noisy.

 

MINI MIDWEEK TAP TAKEOVER
Wed 26th – Tap Takeover at Vultures Lane
Since we did the official launch on Friday, we thought we would kick it up a level for the first keg of Epic Mosaic we are putting on tap at Vultures. A list of the beers and if you want you can RSVP here too. After a beer or two we will have some chillis available to try, be cool if I can get some more #hotchillidance video.

TASTING THURSDAY
Thurs 27th – Christchurch
Heading to Christchurch to visit a few craft beer bars that stock Epic beers. Still to decide which one would be good to do a review at lunchtime. Hoping Craig from BeerNZ can give some good advice on this, since it has been a while since I’ve been in CHCH. Pomeroy’s meeting about the Beer and Food matchings for the Epic Beer Dinner in June. Therefore most likely at Poms at the end of the day if you want to catch up for a beer.

PRE-BEER FESTIVAL
Fri 28th – Hagley Park
Setup for the Great Kiwi Beer Festival. Making sure the beer has turned up and is in the chiller. Getting the banners and beer systems setup on our Epic/Stone stand. Maybe a beer later in the day. @StoneGreg may make an appearance at beer o’clock, but not promising anything. (sshhh keep an eye on the tweeters)

GREAT KIWI BEER FESTIVAL
Sat 29th – Hagley Park
Fingers cross we are ready, have enough staff, enough beer and enough ice to serve a crowd of 14,000 beer festival patrons. Both myself and Greg Koch from Stone Brewing Co. will be on the stand most of the day. We will be making an appearance in the VIP area at some point in the day too. Beer on our stand is listed in this post. Definitely some great beers available. Stop by and say hi. Also a chance to try the Culley’s Carolina Reaper hot sauce with some Epic Carolina Amber Ale. #hotchillidance

TRAVEL DAY
Sun 30th – Home
Travel back to Auckland. Maybe having a beer with a certain person from San Diego.

BREWING FRESH HOP BEER

Fresh HopsMon 31st – Fresh Hop Beer – Excited and nervous about brewing a Fresh Beer for the Beervana Mini Festival – #freshhopnz14 . Nervous because I haven’t brewed a fresh hop beer in this brewery, and still need to work through the details of how this is going to work logistically.

Fresh Hops take up 5 times the volume compared to dry hops. I hope the tank we plan on using can hold all the hops I ordered, and that the hops don’t suck up too much of the beer.

(It’s 10 years since I made my first fresh hopped beer.)

 

And this will bring me to the end of March. I am excited to let you know what April has in store.

P.S. Here is another video I have which shows the #hotchillidance Turn the sounds down as the language could be a bit rough for young viewers.

24 HOURS IN THE HOP FIELDS (Part 2) – #freshhopnz14

It was more than just the hop. Even though our main focus was the 2014 New Zealand hop harvest, and looking at the Waimea hop crop for our Fresh Hop beers, we managed a few other activities.

Between the visiting New Zealand Hops and the hop gardens in Wakefield, we stopped in at the Moutere Inn for lunch. We did a small IPA tasting, thanks to the hospitality of Dave Watson. I love this place. If I could have I would have stayed all day, and then the night as well (they have rooms). Also a visit to Liquid Alchemy to see what Fritz & Maria are up to with their spirits. Finally a pint and a bite at The Free House. Monday isn’t the best day of the week to go out in Nelson. Everything is closed. It did mean it wasn’t a late night.

A little video from our visit to the Hop Fields of Nelson.

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24 HOURS IN THE HOP FIELDS (Part 1) – #freshhopnz14

Monday was a super early start, flying to Nelson. Out to NZ Hops. Lunch a the Moutere Inn. Hop farm visit (huge thanks to Peter for taking time out of his day during harvest to show us around the hop gardens, the kiln, and of course his brewery and the sampling of his beers). Checked out Liquid Alchemy (everyone seemed to really enjoy the Gin, and great to see what Fritz and Maria are up to),  then some beers and dinner at The Free House. With so many photos, I thought it would be easier to upload a small gallery, than write about each moment of the day. (another gallery will be uploaded as part two, which will include the non-hop related photos). (videos to follow also)

This photo, and this link gives you a list of the brewers involved in the Auckland brewers Beervana Fresh Hop mini festival. Beers will be brewed in the next week, and the launch date for the festival is 24th April
#freshhopnz14 Auckland brewers

Thought it would be fun to include this video below. Kelly Ryan and myself actually visited Peter and his hop gardens in 2011 during the NZ Craft Beer TV filming. It was awesome to see how much the gardens have grown with new plantings.

ADDED 12 March 2014

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BEERVANA – Fresh Hop 2014

Today a bit of time was spent on planning the coming, I guess you could call it mini festival for Fresh Hops. David Cryer organizer/owner of Beervana is putting together an event which involves all the Auckland craft breweries.

What’s it all about? Fresh Hops. Hops that haven’t been dried or processed in any way.

Hop Flower
“So what”, you might say. Well Fresh Hops straight off the bine are way more aromatic. So making a beer with these hops means you have a way more aromatic beer. Yummy.

To make this even cooler a group of the Auckland brewers involved with this are heading down to Nelson next Monday, 10th March. We are going to be visiting NZ Hops who will explain how the hops will be harvested and then packed for shipping to Auckland overnight. Then we will head out to the hop fields where the hops we will be using are growing. Here we will be able to talk with the farmer and pick, rub and smell them. (oh yeah, we are going to capture this on video so you can follow along on the journey too).

 

 

 

 

 

Hop Cones
A week later, after harvest we will all be brewing with our fresh hops, to all make a unique beer using freshly picked Waimea hops. The only thing in common all these beers will have is the same hop variety.

Since many of the other details are being finalised I’ll finish it at that. Other than saying if you are in Auckland pencil out the evening of the 24th April.

#freshhopnz14

 

 

NZ BEER FESTIVAL SEASON – Looking forward, not back

Rather than doing a wrap up for February (you can look back over the posts here) I am doing a look forward for the coming month. Some feedback I received was people reading this blog wanted to know about what’s coming up rather than finding out about things that have happened, that they didn’t know about.

So this is what the coming month for me looks like

Hops

6th March –  Epic Carolina with Culley’s Hot Wings Eating Competition – Malthouse, Wellington
7th March – Epic Carolina with Hot Wings sampling for all – Skysports Grill, Viaduct, Auckland
10/11th March – Visit to Hop Harvest, Nelson
13th March – Stone Brewing Co. (with Greg Koch) City Tap Takeover, Malthouse and Fork & Brewer, Wellington
15th March – The New Zealand Beer Festival, Auckland (1st day of Epic Mosaic IPA – KEG ONLY)
17th March – Get beer ready to ship to the Australian International Beer Awards
18th March – Brewing Green/Wet Hop Beer
19th March – Nine Inch Nails & QOTSA?
21st March – Epic Mosaic IPA Launch (and some hot sauce action thanks to Culley’s), Brew on Quay, Auckland
27/28th March – Christchurch
29th March – The Great Kiwi Beer Festival, .feat Stone Brewing Co. beers & Greg Koch (on the shared Epic/Stone stall), Christchurch

Luke on a plane

 

I’m sure there will be other things I do, and other things that are on that I could attend if I had the time, but this should be enough. Still have to fit in the everyday other stuff, plus some sleep. Maybe a link to Air New Zealand here would be good since I am going on 8 flights this month. (maybe even make a wish to the @AirNZFairy )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 2014
There are a few additional things from last month…

  • I made the big move from Blogger to WordPress which took a few days to get setup and working. The one small issue with that is the first few weeks of posts now have slightly different URL’s than what I have post out in the wild so my link backs won’t be working. (Working on it).

Michael Donaldson - SST – NZ’s beer style – Michael Donaldson also wrote about this in his column in the Sunday Star Times

  • Regarding training of bar staff which I pointed to in this post, I found out that an off flavours training was held last weekend. Here is a great write-up about it, but wished I knew earlier about it, so more people could have attended. Maybe something that could be repeated for interested bar staff/owners? I’ve been told that you would have been notified if you were part of this online community.

  • If you made it this far, then you might be enjoying my posts. I have been adding posts without notifications or sharing on social media. So if you want them all, please make sure you add your email address to subscribe (top of right hand column).

  • Please comment on posts if you have an opinion, or send me an email if you have a suggestion for a post or information you would like me to expand on.

Cheers
Luke

NEW ZEALAND HOPS – Harvest 2014

I sent Doug Donelan of New Zealand Hops a quick email as I was interested in finding out the order New Zealand Hops were harvested. This is what he had to share with me:

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“Order depends on area, growers closer to the coast pick Cascade first then Pacifica where as further inland Cascade follows Pacifica. Designation is given as early, mid, late season. The earliest are the English types generally Fuggle, Golding etc…most northern varieties are early, Styrian Goldings were picked this week. Age changes things as well, first year plants generally mature early as well but will settle into the season 2nd year.”

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For New Zealand Varieties it’s a bit like this.

Early: (1st week March)            Pacifica, Motueka, Riwaka

Mid:    (2nd/3rd week March)   Wakatu, Nelson Sauvin, Rakau, Dr Rudi, Southern Cross, Wai-iti, Kohatu, Pacific Gem, Pacific Jade.

Late:   ( End of March)               Sticklebract, Waimea, Green Bullet.

(we are only talking about a 4 week period to harvest 15 NZ varieties, 8 Northern Varieties plus Trials)

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“Not all growers grow all varieties but all need to have a mix to ensure they can optimise the picking windows to stretch across the season. They also can’t be too heavy on one variety over another as the picking windows can’t overlap too closely.”

Cheers Doug. Really appreciate your time (especially at this time of year), and this interesting information.

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