We haven’t ever been very good at celebrating any of life’s little victories at the Garage. One reason is that we are often busy. There are periods of all consuming activity at the brewery around the lead up to events and equipment upgrades.

Sometimes these intense patches bunch up together to create a perfect storm.

You can tell when we’ve been through one of these patches when I begin to look like a Chilean fisherman who’s been lost at sea for six months and maybe had to eat his shipmates – all hair with a thousand mile stare.

I looked in the mirror the other morning and realised we’ve been riding the storm.

In the last two months we’ve pulled out our old brew house and replaced it with a new one twice the size and added three new upsized fermenters. This kind of large-scale installation and commissioning of equipment is a cocktail of excitement and terror. In the mix of cranes, forklifts and huge stainless steel tanks there are moments that make the sweat bead up in places you didn’t know you could sweat. Will it fit? Did we measure twice? What have we forgotten? WTF are we doing?

Luckily everything did fit (or was encouraged to fit) in our little Garage. A brewery is always a funny place when it’s not being brewed in - like the heart has been pulled out of it leaving a room full of cold stainless steel.

But now there is cause to celebrate. The brewery’s transplant has been a resounding success. In the last month since the install we’ve brewed what would have taken us four months on the old kit. It’s been hard work but, touch-wood, the upgrade will mean no more beer shortages. There’ll be more scope for playing around, more barrel aging, more cans and more beer in more outlets in more places. That seems like something to celebrate.

Another reason to celebrate is the news last week that we picked up a coveted Silver Medal at the World Beer Cup for our Cockswain’s Courage Double Barreled Porter in the Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Beer Class – one of the top three most contested classes this year.

 

Now, beer competitions are a funny thing and there is always an element of luck on the day. I’m generally the first to moan about them when Garage beers are ruled ‘out of class’ – but fuck yeah, we got a silver! I’m told it has been fourteen years since a New Zealand brewery got a medal. This year New Zealand won two - so huge ups to Speights who also won silver for their Triple Hop Pilsner in the International Lager Class. Well done.

So there is much to celebrate. We’ll try to find time to raise a glass and once again, thanks to all of you who have supported the Garage, even when we had no beer to sell. We look forward to being able to fill your glasses in the years to come.

Cheers.