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.




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


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.


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:

2012-03-17 15.01.59

“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.

2012-03-17 14.20.23

A better nights sleep with a Hop Pillow

these hops are a little wind damaged, but smell great

I haven’t been sleeping well this week, and my hops are now becoming riper and more aromatic. Therefore I am making a little hop pillow to assist in a good nights sleep.

Its really easy to do. Pick half a dozen or so hops from the vine. Put them in a tissue. Fold the corners over and then put this little pillow of hops in the far corner of your pillow case.

The fresh aromas will fill your nose, and you will drift into an amazing deep sleep.

The hop pillow should last about a week, but as each day goes on it will be less intense, but by then your sleeping patterns should be back to normal.

(note: when you wash your pillow case, remember to take out this little pillow of hops or the petals will get every where in the wash) –

The English have also known about hops’ therapeutic benefits for some time. The ABC says one of the most prominent people treated with hops was King George III. He is believed to have slept on pillows filled with hops to help calm him down.
Studies have found that hops is sedating (calming and sleep promoting), often with no unwanted side effects. Compounds in hops have various properties, including relieving aches and pains, and killing bacteria. Hops is used to help treat various health problems, such as sleeplessness and nervous problems. (Link to original article)