A Touch of Kiwi in Thornbridge Ales and Last Call for Mac’s in Wellington

The latest Malthouse blog looks at how far New Zealand brewing has come in ten years, unveils two Kiwi connections with the ground breaking Thornbridge Brewery in England, details the brewing of a strawberry and pink peppercorn stout and provides a visitor’s opinions on our local beer. It is called “A Touch of Kiwi in Thornbridge“:

Thornbridge Hall Country House Brewery (to use its full name) is an innovative, award-winning and passionate English brewery set up in 2004. One of the original brewers was a young brewing graduate called Martin Dickie. When Martin left to start up BrewDog in his native Scotland, Kiwi Kelly Ryan joined the team in his place. The first brewery Kelly had worked in was Tui and to this day he retains a bit of a soft spot for that ‘East India Pale Ale’. Fellow New Zealander and well known beer lover James Kemp has also joined the team at Thornbridge (though he has a quite different take on Tui.)

From The Wellingtonian, my validictory for the Wellington Mac’s Brewery which will be closing its doors next month. It is headlined “Last call for Mac’s Brewery“:

I have many fond memories, too: my first sip of Wicked Blonde; tasting sessions on the viewing platform when brewing was underway, the air filled with an aroma like fresh bread; watching people try Sassy Red with the chef’s rustic French terrine or Black Mac matched with blue cheese, gingernut biscuit and chocolate covered apricot. That was when people began to understand craft beer and the art of beer and food matching.

Epic Halcyon at Thornbridge Brewery (UK)

Although we are both from NZ, this was the first time our paths had crossed. You have to remember that everyone knows everyone else in NZ, so this was no mean feat! How can I describe Luke? He is very confident and oozes self-belief and passion. He has an intuitive understanding of the world of craft beer and has literally worked from the bottom up. He told me of how he used to volunteer his weekends at a local Auckland brewpub chain so he could learn how a commercial brewery worked (Luke was a passionate home brewer prior to this) until he was employed and gradually worked his way up in the brewing world. Commitment seeps from his every pore and the intensity with which he talks about beer and brewing is awesome. He is engaging, intelligent and the type of person that us Thornbridgers love to hang out with.

It was a big step to decide to collaborate with someone that we did not know. We hadn’t tasted his Epic beers or met him; however it was an opportunity not to be missed. In hindsight, I would have been gutted had we not brewed together. We had a great day and even got to try some of Luke’s beers, which were fantastic!

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