Dark Days Indeed

February 02 2014

When we opened the cellar door early last year our goal was to always offer a full, interesting and varied line up of beers. Keeping the taps occupied and the beer flowing has been more than a full time job. On several occasions we’ve come perilously close to running out only to have been saved at the last minute. with a timely batch of beer. 

However, it seems likely that at some point early this week the worst will happen. The Garage will run out of beer.

                                 [Cellar Door taps in better days]

Pernicious was the first to fall, then Aro Noir and Hops on Pointe. VPA held out valiantly but was emptied last week – since then Pils ‘n’ Thrills, Trip Hop and Extraordinary Ordinary have been putting up a rear guard action, but as of yesterday only Pils and Ordinary were left standing, and chances are that in the next few days, they’ll be gone too. Dark days indeed.

Why? The answer is something of a perfect storm – a Christmas and New Year in the cellar door that far exceeded our projections, some interruption to production as we install new tanks, two special event beers and several pallets leaving us on an OS trip - but at the end of the day the simple answer is that demand has outstripped our capacity to make beer.

But there is hope. A new batch of Pils will be coming through this week and Wednesday will see the launch of Beyond the Pale, our shockingly pink homage to the Fringe Festival, brewed with sumac, lemon and hibiscus. There are bottles of Hops on Pointe on the way and Pernicious Weed will be making a welcome return the following week along with API, our Webstock ‘reverse IPA’. There is also still Garage Project available in the best bars and bottle stores around Wellington and further afield.

Best of all, our new tanks should be up and running by the end of next week (touch wood) hopefully marking an end to lean times. In the future there will be more beer and even more variety.

In the meantime we want to thank everyone who continues to come to the cellar door and accept the slim pickings on offer with good humour. Thank you all for your support. We’re working hard to fix things.

Your patience will be rewarded.

Pete & Jos

Burning Globe

November 18 2013

Guest blog post by Maddie Gillespie

“… a quart of ale is a dish for a King”

A Winter’s Tale

My Dad is the brewer at the Garage Project brewery. When I said I had an idea for a beer he rolled his eyes. I explained that it would be a beer made with smoked malt, to mark 400 years since the Globe Theatre burned down and that we should call it Burning Globe. That got his attention.

The idea came to me while reading a book about Shakespeare. It talked about the Globe burning down and it occurred to me that it was exactly 400 years since the event. What made the idea for the beer relevant was that the book mentioned someone’s breeches catching alight and being put out with a bottle of ale.

“…only one man had his breeches set on fire, that would perhaps have broyled him, if he had not by the benefit of a provident wit, put it out with a bottle of ale.”

Sir Henry Wotton’s eyewitness account of the Globe burning down 1613

A smoky English ale was destined to be created. 

Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble – my Dad and I brewing Burning Globe at the Garage Project, Aro Valley

My Dad and I brewed the beer one weekend. We used oak smoked wheat malt, barley, and caramel malts for colour. It has finished fermenting now – I haven’t tried it but my Dad says it tastes great.

I hope there’s some left for the event!

Burning Globe will be available, served straight from an oak barrel at the Southern Cross garden bar on 1st December as part of a special Shakespeare event. As well as a range of barreled Garage beers there will be Elizabethan food, music and, fresh from their very successful run at BATS Theatre, a one-off live encore of the Playshop theatre company’s This Fair Verona”.

Theatre in Shakespeare’s day could be a boisterous and bawdy affair. Beer drinking was part of the audience experience (and useful in the event of trouser fires). Here’s your chance to get a sense of what Shakespeare for the people would have been like.   

Entry is free, as it always is at the Cross, and the event will help to raise funds for the Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ.

Barrels will be tapped at 4pm with the live performance beginning 4.30. Come dressed up if you like! Get a bit of Shakespeare up ya.

Alfresco Baltic

December 21 2012

 

Pouring today only at Regional Wines and Spirits will be our Alfresco Baltic Porter, brewed ‘en plein air’ in the car park of Regional Wines and Spirits a month or so ago on one of Wellington’s shittier blustery days.

 

The brew is a Baltic Porter, made with six malts and given a long cold ferment with lager yeast for a nice clean palate. To give this brew a Regional Wines & Spirits angle, the beer was conditioned on French and American toasted oak chips which had first been soaked in red wine and whiskey respectively (get it, wines and spirits - see what we’re doing there).

I think the finished beer is quite fun, complex but not cloying with a nice oak aroma and the ghosts of wine and whiskey lingering in the palate.

The usual Garage Project warning about limited quantities is even more pressing here given that one 20L keg of the porter will be available on the fill your own taps with a minimum pour size of 1.25L (which, if you do the math, means a lucky 16 people get one). However, they will also be reserving another keg for in-store tastings available from today while stocks last. Check with Regional for details.

The Chosen Few

December 17 2012

Last year Boundary Road, the “independently minded brewery nestled in the foothills of the Hunua Ranges” who also brew Tuborg, Carlsberg and Kingfisher beers under license, very generously sent twenty two thousand $5 notes to people who had expressed an interest in trying the brand’s new beer offerings.

 

 

At the time we were hard up against it trying to find enough cash to upgrade from our 50 litre pilot plant, and their marketing ploy seemed a tad extravagant to us. Jos cheekily suggested that anyone who didn’t want their $5 Boundary Road beer money could donate it to our fermenter fund as a way of helping us buy some more equipment.

 

 

A surprising number of people did pass on their stamped $5 bills and thank you very much to all of you who did. Fact is that it didn’t quite add up to a fermenter (they are expensive) and that left Jos and I with a neat little pile of fivers and the sense that we really ought to do something worthwhile with our ill-gotten gains.

Jos once more came up with a plan – why not use the money to make the most gratuitously extravagant beer we could imagine and then offer this to those who had supported us.

So this Tuesday night at Hashigo Zake we are proud to announce the launch of the beer we have christened The Chosen Few (aka. Mr. Truffleupagus). At its heart is a specially brewed strong blonde Belgian ale, to which we added 20g of freshly dug white bianchetto truffle that we first infused in honey, and then refermented with champagne yeast. The result is something you’ll just have to taste if you can make it down to Hashigo Zake this Tuesday night.

Those of you who gave us your details with your Boundary Road beer money will be contacted, but for those who anonymously donated (and be honest), it would be in your interest to make your way to Hashigo Zake this Tuesday and make yourself known to the bar staff. Hopefully we can make it the best $5 you ever did nothing to earn and then gave away.

All of you be warned, only one 20 litre keg of this beer exists and it starts pouring at 5pm on Tuesday 18th, so get in quick.

We would like to especially thank Jeff Weston from Borchii Park for sharing his knowledge of bianchetto truffles, Ace, Bonnie and Bellasconi, the truffle dogs responsible for finding this brew’s extravagant addition and without whom this beer would not have been possible… and of course, cheers to Boundary Road.

 

This week we’re genuinely excited to announce the re-release of Summer Sommer, our Double Summer Ale. We first brewed this beer in November last year as part of a hugely enjoyable and successful collaborative brew with Kjetil from the Norwegian brewery Nøgne Ø. We were all happy with the result back then, so much so that we sent a couple of bottles off to the Australian International Beer Awards where it ended up winning a trophy for best in class for speciality beer, which was nice.

Despite the inevitable dramas of brewing with rye, (see our post on Bastard Rye) it is great to brew this recipe again. I love the tradition of brewing festive beers, but in the northern hemisphere these brews are often dark, rich and spiced, something like a liquid Christmas pudding, which somehow doesn’t seem quite right for an antipodean Christmas. Summer Sommer (sommer is Norwegian for summer) is our answer to Christmas in the sun.

Brewed with pale, rye and cararye malts, Pohutakawa honey and finished with Kohatu hops - the aim is a strong summer blonde ale, something a bit special for the festive season.

If all goes well Jos and I will be heading over to Norway next year to brew this beer again with Kjetil. Fingers crossed.

Summer Sommer is available first at Hashigo Zake (it’s going on as I write this) and then in all good beer bars around New Zealand, and maybe even Australia. There will also be a limited number of Summer Sommer bottles available soon, stay tuned for details.

From all of us at the Garage Project, Gledelig Jul and have a great festive season.

PS - Dylan and the guys at Hashigo filmed the original brew, which you can watch here. Thanks guys!

North American Scum*

November 21 2012

 

Pils ‘n’ Thrills & California Über Alles

Call it a rut, call it a phase, call it what you will but we seem to have been brewing  a lot of American inspired beers of late. We haven’t done it on purpose but looking at the fermenters there’s a definite trend.

Last Friday we released Pils ‘n’ Thrills, Garage Project’s first Pilsener beer. To be honest it was something of a covert release with a few kegs appearing at The Southern Cross and Regional Wines and Spirits, but despite the quiet release this is anything but a quiet beer.

There comes a time in any brewery’s life when they need to make the serious  decision about what sports team they’ll get behind. For Garage Project this decision was simple – roller derby. If you haven’t made it to a roller derby match yet, you really don’t know what you are missing out on. Inspired by Wellington’s own Richter City Roller Derby team Pils ‘n’ Thrills is an American hopped pilsener, with a bright golden colour and a crisp, clean, bitter citrus character.

Like all Garage beers it is also vegan and unfiltered. The fantastic vintage tattoo art work is by local tattoo artist Simon Morse, which seemed fitting since he’s inked half the Richter City team. Unfortunately events conspired to prevent a proper roller derby launch for this beer, but we are looking forward to celebrating the beginning of next year’s season with Pils ‘n’ Thrills. In the meantime, look for Pils ‘n’ Thrills at the Cross and at a few other select outlets.

Then, continuing our American affair, next week we will be launching California Über Alles. Brewed with US Northern Brewer hops, Pale, Vienna, Crystal and Caramel malts and California Lager yeast, California Über Alles is the Garage take on the California Common style made famous by Anchor Steam beer. I should point out that anyone looking for a replica of Anchor’s classic brew won’t find it here – like all Garage brews Über Alles takes the style as a starting point rather than trying to produce a clone of an existing brew. If you don’t get the name then you probably didn’t spend the eighties trying to push safety pins through soft parts of your anatomy. If this is the case don’t feel bad, but remember it’s never too late to start.

 

As if that wasn’t enough, look out for a batch of Angry Peaches and another American hopped Golden Brown in the lead up to Christmas. Honestly, what hop crisis?

* Settle down, it’s a lyric, not a racial slur

Caledonia Über Alles

November 08 2012

When you mention old world India Pale Ale most people who have read the standard history of beer think of Burton-on-Trent, England. It’s less well known  that Scottish breweries played a significant role in the production and export of  IPA, accounting for a quarter of all British beer exports by the late 1800’s.

This is the inspiration for Caledonia Über Alles, an ‘old world’ IPA brewed with Edinburgh Ale yeast, a strain capable of producing beers with a crisp, clean character, and Golden Promise malt made from Scottish spring barley. That’s where any pretense at historical accuracy ends. Other than Goldings, the other hops in this beer - Target and Challenger - are modern British hybrids that weren’t even a twinkle in the hop breeder’s eye in the heyday of IPA. The result is a crisp, hoppy pale ale, weighing in at a respectable 7% abv with a clean amber gold malt base and a hop character which is assertive but distinctly ‘Un-American’.

The name is of course a reference to the song by US proto punk band the Dead Kennedys. Later this month we’ll be launching a new Garage Project beer that we’ve called California Über Alles, a beer based on a style known as California Common. Phil made the Caledonia Über Alles joke. We laughed. It stuck.

Caledonia Über Alles will be available at the Malthouse this Friday 9th October for their ‘old world IPA challenge’. Beers pouring from 5pm - sláinte!

El Dia de los Muertos

October 31 2012

For el Dia de los Muertos - Mexico’s Day of the Dead, it gives us great pleasure to announce the return of an old friend, and introduce to you his little sister.

Last year’s Dia de los Muertos provided one of the most memorable nights of the 24/24 with the launch of the Day of the Dead - a strong black lager inspired by the Aztec beverage xocolatl, “a bitter, frothy, spicy drink” combining cocoa and chilli.

This year we’ve brewed Day of the Dead again, this time on our big kit. We made a special effort with this brew to source as many authentic Mexican ingredients as possible, with Mexican cocoa and smoked chipotle chilli going into the brew.

The finished beer was then rested on Mexican vanilla pods, more chipotle, agave syrup (the basis of Tequila) and raw cocoa nibs sourced from Whittaker’s Chocolate. The result is a smooth and complex mix of smoke, chocolate and restrained chili heat that builds as you drink. I’m happy with the result, which I think might be even more balanced and complex than last year’s offering.

We’re also excited to introduce a new beer especially brewed for this year’s Dia de los Muertos. La Calevera Catrina, the elegant skull, little sister to our original dead head.

La Catrina is as blonde as Day of the Dead is dark, but she’s no lightweight. The base beer is a blonde lager with a cheeky, even ironic addition of maize. Maize is an ingredient you’d normally associate with much blander lager offerings, but here it is fired up with a generous addition of organic Habanero chillis, giving Calevera a far more assertive chilli heat than the smoky chipotle of her brother. To this blonde chilli base went an addition of rose water and watermelon. The result is a complex and surprising beer we think can stand proudly beside the Day of the Dead. Cheeky, ironic, complex and firey – what more could you want in the Lady of Death? We hope you’ll give her a warm welcome.

This Día de los Muertos, November 1, Day of the Dead will be available in good craft beer bars around New Zealand. La Calevera Catrina will be available in limited supply at Hashigo Zake the following night, Friday November 2.

Pie vs Cake

October 30 2012

Cakes and pies, cakes and pies!

Ziggy’s Carrot Cake came as a bit of a surprise for us at Beervana. Honestly, I just really like my Mum’s carrot cake (always referred to in the family as Ziggy’s carrot cake, though no-one knows why) and I thought it would be funny to brew with carrots. Then everything got a bit crazy, Ziggy won the trophy for best festival beer and we ended up having to ration people to half pours to make the beer last each session of Beervana (which it didn’t even).

After the dust of Beervana had settled people asked if we were going to rebrew Ziggy’s. I said definitely not – festival beers are for festivals and the Ziggy’s recipe was filed away.

Pie vs Cake has made me a liar. But how could I say no – a proper confectionery confrontation, a real dessert storm. Ziggy’s Carrot Cake the original recipe spiced carrot ale vs the contender, Pecan Pie, a rich dark ale brewed with caramel and biscuit malts, Moscova sugar and infused with candied pecans. And along side, a proper old fashioned bake off, with Wellington’s sweet elite bringing in their best Carrot Cake and Pecan Pie offerings for our panel of experts to judge.

As for the beers, you decide.

There can be only one.

Very limited stocks of Ziggy’s and Pecan Pie will be pouring from 6pm at the Southern Cross, Halloween Eve, until the kegs run dry.

Kava Coconut

October 19 2012

 

Sa vakarau na yaqona ni turaga - the kava of chiefs has been prepared

 

There is an important lesson to be taken from the research we undertook before brewing this beer. On no account should you ever engage Sean from the Thirsty Boys in any form of competitive Kava drinking. Really.

Some facts. The drink Kava is a popular recreational drug widely consumed throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia, including Hawaii, Vanuatu, Melanesia and some parts of Micronesia. It is made from the powdered roots of the Kava plant Piper methysticum, a plant that coincidentally is closely related to the New Zealand Kawa Kawa, the leaves of which (6000 to be exact) went into our Wellington in a Pint beer earlier this year. Powdered Kava root has mild sedative and anesthetic properties and when consumed produces a state of relaxation. Another interesting fact, you can buy it at Pak’n’Save– who knew?

Sean and his wife Tere had very kindly agreed to come around to the brewery to help us do a little research on Kava. We chatted about the cultural practices of Kava drinking while Tere prepared a large bowl by mixing the powdered root with water and squeezing it through a fine mesh bag. She then poured me a shallow coconut cup worth of the hazy liquid.

I’ve heard people describe Kava as tasting like muddy water, but I’m not sure that this quite does it justice. The normal descriptors I’d use for beer are useless here. It is oddly numbing, at once somehow both bland and intense, with a muted spiciness and well, a little bit of mud.

I tried to down my cup in what I imagined was a confident worldly way. I obviously failed at this because Sean gave me one of those special sympathetic smiles before he and Tere both effortlessly downed a coconut cup each. Phil, the most recent member of the Garage Project, was given a cup that he took away and thoughtfully nursed.

At this stage a significant portion of my face went numb. “Sean”, I said, “I can’t feel my face.” This was quite hard to say because my lips weren’t really working very well. “What, already?” said Sean lifting one eyebrow. Now, as a brewer I’m normally pretty good at holding my drinks, but this was a different story. Clearly I was out of my comfort zone here and judging by the look on Sean’s face I was obviously a bit of a kava woose.

Not to be totally put to shame I accepted another cup, downed it in what I hoped was a more confident way and smiled. Job done, I thought.

It was at this stage that Tere explained that once a bowl was made it was customary for drinking to continue until it was empty. WTF. I looked at the bowl. It seemed like a pretty big bowl. Why would anyone manufacture a bowl that big? What were they thinking? It also still seemed quite full. I looked at Phil who was avoiding eye contact with me and was still nursing his first cup. I looked at Sean who just grinned and passed me another cup.

Around cup number four I had the interesting sensation that my brain was a boat, that the rope holding it to the pier had slipped off and that the boat was just floating gently away. I won’t lie, it felt quite nice.

Somehow the bowl was finally emptied. Neither Sean nor Tere seemed to have been effected in the slightest. I on the other hand felt that I had severed ties with time and space. I thanked both of them, doing my best impression of having my shit together. They both grinned at me. I grinned back in a slightly lopsided way and hoped that I wasn’t drooling.

And from this exhaustive research comes our offering for the Great Pacific Beer ExpoKava Coconut, a truly Pacific inspired brown ale, brewed with coconut sugar, Maris Otter, Biscuit, Crystal, Caramel and Special B malts, lightly hopped with Centennial and infused with toasted coconut and yes, Kava. Available on Saturday and Sunday this weekend at the Great Pacific Beer Expo. We are told some tickets remain…

Finally, huge thanks to Sean and Tere for all their help, and for being so tolerant of my amateur attempts at Kava drinking. Make sure you check out Sean’s side of the story at the Thirsty Boys blog site.

This is definitely one of our more playful beers. The base is our Bastard Rye, which had its debut at Hashi a couple of weeks ago and will appear in a number of forms over the months ahead. This particular batch was soured up and has been resting on cherries. We were having a taste of it to see how it was getting on when Jos just happened to play Lola by the Kinks, with that classic opening line.

“I met her in a club down in old Soho Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola”

The next thing you know our sour cherry rye is getting a dose of Six Barrel Cola syrup. The result is a bright cherry red beer with sour cherry palate and a whimsical cola finish. We’ve called it Lola. As well as being the musical inspiration for this beer, Lola is also the name of the Aro Park cat – the tabby who frequents the park beside our brewery - one of the few cats I know with its own Facebook page and definitely among the most charming and photogenic local Aro characters.

Lola the Aro Park Cat

If you’re keen to give Lola a try be advised that there is an extremely limited quantity of this beer in existence, so get down to Hashigo Zake from 5pm on Tuesday the 16th. First in first served.

Bastard Rye

October 01 2012

Rye, it’s a bastard.

Its lack of husk, high water retention capacity and high beta-glucan content mean rye is notoriously difficult to brew with. In simple terms it can convert a brewer’s mash (the porridge like mixture of hot water and crushed grain designed to convert starch into sugar) into a giant vat of gluggy jello, making it almost impossible to run off the sweet wort needed to make beer. There are cautionary tales among brewing circles of rye brews lasting days while their brewers sit rocking back and forth in a fetal position, sobbing.

But despite, or perhaps even because of the difficulties it causes, rye holds a special place in brewing lore. It delivers a unique and distinctive spice character to the beers it’s used in, but I suspect that, like eating puffer fish, its popularity has something to do with courting danger.

With a few rye beers under our belt on the pilot plant I was feeling pretty confident, even cocky, about brewing a batch on our big kit. Summer Sommer, our first rye beer, brewed with Kjetil from the Norwegian brewery Nøgne Ø, was a bit of a bastard to run off - but I was pretty sure I’d improved my technique, pretty sure I’d dodge the rye bullet.

Wrong.

Normally the run off from the mash takes a couple of hours. By hour seven of my rye run off I was feeling decidedly less cocky. Bastard rye. This was shaping up to be a nightmare brew.

It was particularly interesting to chart my mood with the slow realization that this was going to be a terminally slow run off. I was reminded of a ghastly human resource workshop I was forced to attend when I worked for Lion Nathan in Australia. In this workshop we were introduced to SARAH - a description of people’s reaction to traumatic events (S-hock; A-nger; R-ejection; A-cceptance; H- ealing). What I thought was interesting was that after reaching a state of calm at around hour 9 (which I assumed was H-ealing) I seemed to go back to S and start all over again. It’s personality flaws like this that meant I would never be a good Lion Nathan employee.

At hour 13 of trickling slow run off I decided I had enough, in more ways than one, and started the boil. I have to say that after a 13 hour run off a one hour boil just seems like an anti climax.

Now the funny thing is that we brew two days in a row to fill our fermenters, so with the brew finally done and dusted by the small hours of the morning, I crawled home with the knowledge that in a couple of hours I’d have to be back at the brewery to do it all over again.

I arrived back at the brewery feeling significantly less cocky. Now, I’m not normally big on the whole modernist ideal of man’s dominance over nature, but after a 19 hour brew day the day before I was keen to bring the full power of science to bear on this beer. This time I made a separate mash for the rye with not one but two protein rests designed to break down those troublesome beta glucans which had ruined my run-off the day before. I then added this to the main mash and this time success – a respectable four hour run off, and a warm slightly smug feeling. In your face rye.

This Tuesday night you can taste the first installment of Bastard Rye as part of our 24 More series at Hashigo Zake. The lion’s share of this beer has been tucked away to mature in Maker’s Mark bourbon barrels, but we pulled out a small portion that we have been quietly resting on raspberries. At 11% abv this is one of the strongest Garage beers so far, so strong it seems to cling to the glass. The result is a boozie hit of rye spice and berry character, blonde but with a definite raspberry tint. With an alcohol content this high, although it was brewed almost four months ago now, it still seems ‘young’ to me. It’s great fun to try now, and it will be fascinating to see what happens to the beer as it ages in our bourbon barrels.

A proper bastard to brew certainly - but well worth the effort. 

 

Aro Noir

September 25 2012

Don’t get me wrong, we love Aro, but let’s be honest, it’s an interminably long, damp, dark bastard of a winter in the Valley. It’s made worse by the fact that which ever deity is in charge of Wellington’s weather clearly does not bestow his/her love equally. As anyone who has ever lived in the Valley knows, in the middle of winter, one side of the street gets all the sun, while the other moulders in perpetual gloom.

No guesses which side of the street we’re on.

Perhaps it was one of the early symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, but there were days when I’d stand at the garage doors peering out from the shadows at the sun drenched houses on the other side of the street, and I swear I’d begin fantasizing about building some kind of giant fuck off mirror on the other side of the street so that we could share their warmth.

Inspired by what is now two winters on the ‘dark side of the street’ comes Aro Noir, one of the stars of the 24, and a personal favourite of mine. I have been asked a number of times what my favorite Garage Project beer is. I’ve always been reluctant to answer– but this would have to be one of them. It’s pitch black and full flavoured but with a nice balance of hops and roast malt character. At its heart is English Maris Otter pale malt, with a touch of Crystal and a generous addition of Roast and Black malts. The hops are American, Chinook and Summit, creating a nice citric bitterness and aroma which marries nicely with the roast malt character. At 7.1% abv it’s rich but not heavy or cloying.

Yes, it is inspired by the darkness of a Wellington winter in Aro Valley, but truly it is a stout for all seasons.

Join us on the dark side.

It’s 7 o’clock in the morning, the Sunday morning after Beervana, and most sensible craft beer enthusiast (not to mention quite a few less sensible ones) are still tucked up in bed. But we’re not. Despite having only finished packing up our Beervana stand about 6 hours earlier we’re now setting up our little brewery and bar just outside the front of Moore Wilson’s. It’s the Wellington on a Plate Food Heroes’ market and for a day the Moore Wilson’s car park has been taken over by an army of stallholders offering just about every kind of produce imaginable. It’s a foodie’s dream and more than enough reason for us to be there, but there is another reason.

Just outside the front of the store is a water fountain, a very special water fountain which is fed by the Thompson Lewis Crystal Spring bore which taps into an aquifer of pure artesian water 470 feet beneath Wellington. I have actually spent a number of distracted shopping trips to Moore’s, often totally failing to buy what I’d gone to get because I’ve been thinking about brewing with this water. This was, finally, my chance.

We’ve brewed al fresco before. The last time was in the hop fields of the Tadmore Valley for our hop harvest brew. Brewing out in the middle of a hop field is challenging. Brewing outside a supermarket has its own challenges, but a lack of convenience is not one of them. So in addition to Moore Wilson’s spring water, English Maris Otter, Aromatic and Crystal malts and whole New Zealand grown Goldings hops, a quick nip around the store yielded some fresh oranges to zest and a rather nice jar of marmalade.

The resulting beer is our Moore Wilson’s, Old English Bitter Marmalade, a proper English session Bitter with a marmalade twist, coming in at a modest 3.8% abv, dry hopped and conditioned in the Firkin and served straight from the cask on the bar top at Hashigo Zake tomorrow. We’re calling this number one of 24 More, a nice gentle start to our next installment of new brews at the bar where it all started.

It’s good to be back.

 

We’ve probably had more than our fair share of fantastic collaborations. Wellington’s a town with a nice buzz going on and the fact is it’s not been hard to come across inspiring and like-minded people doing all sorts of interesting and creative things.

But our collaboration with chef Jacob Brown and his partner Sarah, the owners of Miramar restaurant The Larder for Wellington on a Plate has definitely been our most challenging and perhaps most audacious project yet.

 

 

 

I really like Jacob. There’s no doubt he’s a great chef, but he also has a cheeky streak and you can tell that he likes to stir. Witness his soft spot for offal. It’s an interest grounded firmly in the philosophy of using the whole beast, from tail to snout - but there’s definitely a twinkle in his eye that suggests there is more than a hint of mischief at work. It’s just as well for those who are lucky enough to have tried his meals, because this kind of mischief, when it’s backed up with real skill, creates something pretty close to genius.

 

This was the premise - hatched up over beers and a slab of barbequed meat in Jacob’s back yard – a six course meal, to be held among the tanks of the brewery, each course to be served with a different beer, three courses designed by Jacob to go with existing Garage Project beers and three courses with beer designed to go with a dish suggested by Jacob.

 

 

What happened next was about three months of discussion back and forth, testing, tasting, design and revision - nowhere near as clear-cut as the original idea, but in practice even more productive and fun. The highlight was definitely brewing our Oyster and Black Pepper Stout with Jacob, sharing the brewing process with him while he shucked his way through a pile of fresh Tio Point oysters - one for us, one for the brew, two for us…

 

The result in the end was eight rather than the original six courses (there were just too many ideas that seemed too good to pass up). The beers in order of appearance were, Purple Haze Honig Hefeweizen a tart, dry Blue Borage honey wheat beer designed as an aperitif, Pernicious Weed, Bier Blonde sur Blonde, a Belgian Blonde brewed with malted barley, rye, wheat and oats, a quick Red Rocks Reserve to stall while the finishing touches were being put to the pig, Smoke and Mirrors, our lightly smoked Bock beer that’s also been served along side LBQ’s Hare of the Hog Burger, our Tio Point Oyster and toasted black pepper stout, Lord Cockswain’s Double Barreled Porter and the very last of the Double Day of the Dead.

 

I won’t give a blow-by-blow account of the night itself, that’s already been done in inimitable style by the food blogger Jeremy Taylor the Omnivore detailing the eight courses of inspired and surprising food that greeted the diners on the night. If you were lucky enough to be one of the forty people who sat down to Jacob’s dinner I’m sure it will bring back fond memories. For those who missed out, sorry, we’ll try to do it again. But in the meantime just think of this as porn for food and beer lovers.

 

 

Huge thanks to all involved, to Jacob, Sarah and their team, to Jeramiah Ross aka Module for the perfect mood music, to Simon, the small holder who takes our spent grain and of course his pig, who made the greatest sacrifice of all - you will be remembered fondly by all who attended the night.

 

Looking back over our blog, I realise we’ve been off air for some time – an indication of just how busy things have been of late. Getting resource consents, building consents, certificates, licenses and codes of compliance takes time - apparently lots of time. Lots and lots of time.

So busy, yes, but not necessarily busy doing what we like doing best.

That’s why it is such a pleasure to be announcing some new brews. In fact, next week is starting to look like a Garage Project fruit salad. First up, for the Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge comes…

Super Angry Peaches

The fact is there are no peaches in Super Angry Peaches. None. Why’s it called Super Angry Peaches then? The reason is that last year we brewed a beer called Angry Peaches, and, well… this beer is just a little bit more Super. Actually, at 10.1% it’s quite a bit more super. Super-duper even. But why Angry Peaches? 

Again, no peaches. None. Inspired by a throw away beer descriptor line by beer blogger Phil Cook, Angry Peaches was all about trying to create an aggressive stone fruit character with absurd amounts of the American hop Amarillo. This time around, for Super Angry Peaches, we got all the Amarillo we could find, and put it all in.

It’s Amarillo in your face. Remember, Angry is the new nice.

And then, just when you thought it was safe to go back to the bar…

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry Bomb

The fox you’ve been waiting for (yes, here there are cherries in this one). Especially for the SOBA Winter Ale Festival formerly known as Matariki, Cherry Bomb is a cherry, chocolate Imperial Porter. Weighing in at a thoroughly warming 9.5%, it’s a rich ebony/mahogany colour, with layers of cacao nib bitter-sweet dark chocolate and a distinct tart cherry tang (and hints of stone age love).

West Coast IPA Challenge and a Winter Ale Festival. A good week for Wellington beer lovers (and fruit).

Coming soon 24 more…