BEER FEST – Great Kiwi Beer Festival 2014 – Review

I never got to writing anything about the Great Kiwi Beer Festival in Christchurch, before I headed to the US.

Geoff Griggs pretty much summed it up with “On the downside – and there really wasn’t much to complain about”

Fritz & Maria wrote – Destination Woolston

The event was well attended, the rumoured number going around the event was that there were 14,000 people there. 12,500 pre-sold tickets with walk up sales available.

Compared to Auckland it was a lovely, relaxed day, with people enjoying themselves without the overt presence of security and police. When looking for security in the crowd you couldn’t see them, I was able to spot three at one point. I noticed a couple of police walking through the crowd mid afternoon. At the end of the event there were approx. 20 police walking from the back of the event following the crowd out the gate.

Yes there were a handful of dickheads who always have the smartass comments, and asking for free beer. But I’ve now concluded that these people are just like that anyway, with or without alcohol inside them.

One thing which was a concern was the glass size. We were selling 100ml sample and 285ml full serve. When you measured it the sample line was 100ml and the full serve was 200ml, with to the brim being 250ml. Oops.

Our Epic beers sold extremely well. Again surprised that the Lager sold out first (guess this sleeper of a beer if finally being discovered for the great beer that it is). For those that knew of Stone Brewing Co. they were overwhelmed, they didn’t know where to start, like kids in a candy store. Arrogant Bastard was the first to sell out, partly because of the name.

We had a great crew, and everything seemed to run super smooth considering the scale of our stand this year. 16 taps, 16 staff and 1500 litres of beer.

But the point made from this event was that the local police and liquor licensing didn’t go over the top with enforcement and it made for such an enjoyable event.

What the hell happened Auckland?

Christchurch you win.

 

 

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.

ON MY MIND – Beer things I should write about

There are things I am currently thinking about but haven’t had the time to put my ideas down in words, and think through what it means, and what I think about it. So rather than them getting lost here is a bit of a brain dump…

New Zealand Beer FestivalNew Zealand Beer Festival – maximum serve 165ml, bar closes 2 hours before session ends 10am-3pm & 4pm-10pm. Beer Festival where you can’t buy beer? no beer over 9% but you can buy wine (which is likely to be 12-14%)? (Discussion here)

Great Kiwi Beer Festival – 11.30am -7pm (7.5 hours to sample beers vs 4 hours in Auckland) How come there are different interpretations of the law, or what local councils and police see as appropriate in different parts of the country. Are people in Christchurch more responsible and cause less harm vs Aucklanders?

Beer Festivals – over the years I have found that 4 hours is actually about the right amount of time for people to sample a fair range of beers, before you start seeing effects of intoxication. The recent blanc Beer Fest, seemed to naturally start slowing down at around 5pm, after starting at 1pm and went to 7pm. It might have had something to do with the time of day, and people having plans for later on in the evening.

New World Beer Awards vs Brewers Guild Beer Awards – a previous sponsor now to run their own beer awards, at a similar time of year. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the developments with these two competitions. Wonder how Super Liquor will feel about this?

Kegs – how to manage your kegs, so you get them back, so you can put your beer in them so you can sell more beer.

Craft Beer Pricing – new craft breweries entering the craft beer space, under cutting the market on price. Does cheaper pricing equal larger volume sold? Or does it just erode everyone’s margins. Does craft beer price discounting work for anyone? Will it be a race to the bottom?

Just some thoughts for now….

GREAT KIWI BEER FEST 2014 – Stone Brewing Co. & Greg Koch

Thought it would be time to let people know a little more, so you have a chance to get tickets for the Great Kiwi Beer Festival (and flights if you are out-of-town).

Stone BrewingGreg Koch from Stone Brewing Co. is in New Zealand on holiday (sabbatical), taking a break, rebooting, but he has made himself and his beers available at a couple of events here in NZ.

Next Thursday there is the amazing 50 tap Wellington City Takeover (there are tap takeovers and then city takeovers, only Stone could do this). The Stone beers are going to be split between The Malthouse and the Fork & Brewer. When the special beers (they will all be special, as they are fresh and direct from the brewer in San Diego), rare beers then, will be announced via social media, so you know which location they are at. (See you next week Wellington, there is no way I’m missing this)

Check out this article just posted about Stone Brewing Co. & Greg Koch in New Zealand by The Beerhive’s Shane Cowlishaw – A beer blitzkrieg

The article gives a little background into how this all came about.

Here are the beers that will be on the Epic / Stone stall at the Great Kiwi Beer Fest (plus Greg Koch and myself). I’m sure there will be a beer for everyone to enjoy.

 

 

STONE BREWING CO.

2013 Stone Imperial Russian Stout
2013 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
Arrogant Bastard Ale
Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
Stone Ruination IPA
Stone Levitation Ale
Stone Smoked Porter
Stone IPA

EPIC BREWING CO.
Epic Lager
Epic Pale Ale
Epic Mosaic IPA
Epic Carolina
Epic Armageddon IPA
Epic Coffee & Fig
Epic Hop Zombie

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