Originally inspired by the humble ANZAC biscuit, Pan Pacific is brewed with golden syrup, suggestively named Golden Naked Oats and a combination of New Zealand Motueka and Australian Galaxy hops. It was originally released as a 20 litre cask at the first Pacific Beer festival with a name acknowledging the biscuit which inspired it. Interesting fact – it’s actually illegal to use the word ANZAC in the name of any product other than ANZAC biscuits (which can’t be called cookies). Who knew?

This latest big batch brew has an addition of toasted coconut and a new name acknowledging its pacific ingredients. Pan Pacific is a rich red amber, with generous malt and fruit hop character, and a subtle hint of toasted coconut at the end of the palate. It’s a brew to meet the arrival of Autumn, with nice body and character with just a hint of warmer climes.

Come fly with us.

Not as Good as Gold

January 23 2012

Back in November we brewed our first collaboration brew with Kjetil from the Norwegian brewery Nøgne Ø. Brewed with pale, rye and cararye malts, Pohutakawa honey and finished with Kotahu hops the aim was a strong summer blonde ale. We had a lot of people put forward ideas for the name, but the one we liked in particular was Good as Gold. Kjetil liked it too. Sorted we thought.

But not so.

After mentioning Good as Gold in a recent post, we received a very polite email from the Coromandel Brewing Company pointing out that they already have a yummy Pilsener called Good as Gold.

Yikes. Sorry Coromandel Brewing, our bad. NZ has had more than its fair share of name of beer name dramas of late. No biggy, we’re happy to walk away.

So this Tuesday at Hashigo Zake we will not be launching a beer called Good as Gold, instead we offer you Summer Sommer (it’s Norwegian for Summer) our 7.6% Cøllab double summer ale. The idea is that Kjetil will be rebrewing this at Nøgne Ø for the Norwegian Summer. That’s so cool.

So if you want a pint get yourself over to Norway this summer, or alternatively pop down to Hashigo Zake tomorrow night. The choice is yours… hell why not do both!

Tonight at Hashigo Zake you’ll find a cask of what we’re calling Left Field Bitter - Out of the Ordinary

It’s based on the classic English bitter style, but we’ve taken a bit of a different tack. Instead of hopping the beer at various stages during the boil, whole cone hops were mashed in with the malt at the very beginning of the brew.

This process, called mash hopping, is said to give hop complexity and what is described as ‘hop texture’ to the mouth feel of the finished beer. Now, I’ll be honest, I’ve no idea what ‘hop texture in the mouth feel’ is like, but I thought it would be bloody interesting to find out. The resulting wort was then boiled without any hops, before being passed through another dose of whole cones in the hop back and finally dry hopped with whole cones in the cask.

Weighing in at 3% abv, it’s light on alcohol, but hopefully big on flavour. Best enjoyed a little warmer than you would normally drink your beer, just to let the malt character come to the fore and balance the hop bitterness. Cheers.

The Garage might have seemed a bit quiet over the last few weeks since the last of the 24, but inside we’ve been getting on with business.

We did our very first bottling – a super limited run of Coffee Porter for our friends at People’s Coffee to give out as Christmas gifts. If you got to try some, let us know what you thought.

We rebrewed Lord Cockswain’s Courage Porter, to bring the taste of war to the Weta Workshop Christmas party – served in character as the Brewing Corps of course. For bonus points guess which one of the three below is wearing fake facial hair?

We even did a NYE beer - Golden Ship for a great Wellington band in the hope they’d do a Bon Scott, cementing Garage Project’s cult status… but no such luck.

We dropped two casks of summer ale to Hashigo Zake – a suitably English accompaniment to a very wet New Years Eve (and more to come this week!).

We’ve filled 50 bottles of our Nøgne Garage CØLLAB beer, Good as Gold - a 7.6% rye malt golden ale with Pohutakawa honey. All credit for the name goes to Dylan from Hashigo Zake - nice one, we like it and Kjetil does too. These 50 bottles will be our very first commercially available bottled beer. We’ll let you know where they’ll be available if you want to get your hands on one.

And what’s in store for the year ahead? In the next couple of weeks things will be ramping up at the Garage. It’s a big time for the Project. We’ve got some work ahead of us, in fact it’s probably our biggest project yet.

In amongst all this we’ve got some interesting beers we’ve been working on which we’re looking forward to bringing you. We’re also off to Three Boys tomorrow to lay down a couple more brews.

Busy times, and even busier ahead. We look forward to sharing them with you.

It’s the beginning of a new year, time to reflect on the year that was and look to what the future has in store.

2011 was quite a year for the Garage Project. Almost exactly a year ago to the day I arrived in Wellington to set up a brewery. Jos and I sat in Hashigo together over a pint and thought “shit – what do we do now!”

We think we’ve made a good start.

On a 50ltr brew kit we’ve brewed and released over 28 different beers in less than 6 months. Inspired by Hemmingway’s advice to always do sober what you said you’d do drunk - on the grounds that it will teach you to keep your mouth shut - we embarked on brewing 24 beers in 24 weeks. At the start it seemed like a tall order, but here we are in 2012 with the 24 done and dusted. We hope it was as much fun for you as it was for us.

We’ve had a great time and met some awesome people along the way.

Massive thanks to Dom and all the staff at Hashigo Zake for their support, encouragement and honest feedback. Hashigo was the perfect place for the 24 and will always be close to our hearts.

Thanks to Greg Broadmore, the artist and creator of Dr Grordbort’s, who gave us inspiration, encouragement and substantial help in the consumption of Lord Cockswain’s Porter and Venusian Pale Ale. Any beer that offers the opportunity to wear false facial hair, goggles and a beer backpack has got to be good.

There was our very fruitful coffee collaboration with People’s Coffee, which yielded not only one of our most successful 24 brews, our No. 1 Coffee Bock, but also our most contentious, the infamous Green Coffee Saison, loved by some, hated by many. Thank you to Matt, Rene and all the others at People’s Coffee - our caffeinated friends and allies.

We did our first contract brew, brewing more in one day than we had in the previous 4 months on our little kit. Cheers to Ralph and the gang at 3 Boys for making this such a pleasure.

We did a collaboration brew, a first for me and the Garage Project, and what a way to start, brewing a Golden Summer Rye ale with Kjetil from the Norwegian brewery Nogne, both a privilege and a pleasure.  Some of you got a chance to try a sneak preview at our 24/24 finale. If you missed out, fear not, you’ll have another chance in the coming weeks.

Thank you to Midori and Sharon at the Wooden Spoon Freezery for their hand crafted Rum & Raisin ice cream, the perfect accompaniment to the last of the 24.

Thank you too to Anton who has produced some amazing images for us over the last six months like the Day of the Dead skull and the burning hop - crafted more often for love than money.

Last but certainly not least, thanks to all of you who have supported, followed, tweeted and drunk Garage Project. It’s knowing that people are enjoying the beer that makes brewing so much fun. Cheers to you all.

It’s been a pretty exciting time to be a beer enthusiast in Wellington. As well as the Garage Project 2011 has seen the arrival of Parrot Dog, Kereru and the Fork & Brewer on the local scene, Stu at Yeastie Boys has continued to release some of the most genuinely remarkable beers in New Zealand and there’s an impressive new crop of bars like LBQ, Hop Garden, and Monterey. Exciting stuff for anyone who cares about beer.

We’ve a feeling 2012 is going to be even more exciting. Big things are afoot for the Garage Project. We’ll let you know how our plans are progressing over the coming weeks as things unfold.

In the mean time, in case you’re missing your Tuesday night 24 fix, L’il Red Rye - a nice little red ale, made with Chinook and Summit hops, caramel, Munich and melanoidin malts and a good dose of rye.

It’s on tap next Tuesday, January 10, 5pm at Hashigo Zake… you know the drill.

We’ve been quietly working on a top secret project at Garage Project. Craft Ice Cream.

Small quantities of our beer have been diverted to Midori and Sharon at the Wooden Spoon Freezery - Wellington’s newest and quite possibly only Craft Ice Cream company.

We found the results to be delicious and have been plotting to serve Rum and Garage Project Raisin Ice Cream in our last week of 24/24. 

Using precious quantities of the Rum & Raisin beer, a small amount of ice cream has been made today (well, when I say made, it is actually churning as we speak). 

The girls are completely committed to making memorable and unique ice creams, and in the same spirit of Garage Project, a huge amount of effort has gone in today from 7am through an expected 10pm finish time to have just 10 litres available alongside the beer tomorrow at Hashigo Zake. That’s dedication to your craft!

Here are some photos of the ice cream in making. Can’t wait to taste the results tomorrow where it will be offered as a complimentary offering alongside the Rum & Raisin beer.

First in, first served….