Home' Hospitality Business : HB JUNE 2017 Contents Saccharomyces, and Brettanomyces (a genus of wild yeast known to
contribute both fruity and barnyard-like flavours and aromas).These
beers universally strike the first-time drinker as completely contrary
to one’s expectations of a traditional pint.Their high acid levels, low
bitterness levels, long aging times, and the common additions of both
fruit and oak, leave many feeling that sour beer has more in common
with wine than it’s more ‘beery’ counterparts.
At one time all beer was likely sour to some extent, due to the
unster ile conditions of brewing prior to the moder n era. Eventually,
advances in microbiology would lead to pure yeast cultures and as
such, many of the classic beer styles and flavours that we cher ish today.
However, a small number of brewers in Belgium (and to a lesser extent
Ger many) kept the sour beer traditions alive by flying in the face of
moder n brewing practices and (at least in Belgium) exposing their Wort
(unfer mented beer) directly to the air to be naturally inoculated by the
wild yeast and bacter ia that are exclusive to their regions. A handful of
classic sour beers such as Lambic, Flanders Red, Oud Bruin, Berliner
Weiss and Gose, hung on to survival only to be reembraced – and to
some extent, reinvented – by the moder n craft beer movement.
Just a few years ago, the only way to get your hands on a sour beer
in New Zealand, was to either be lucky enough to come across one
of a small number of Belgian sour beers sometimes imported into
the country, or to brew one yourself. Bad homebrew jokes aside, the
complex processes and long aging times involved with brewing a
sour beer make the DIY approach more difficult than it might seem.
Today, it’s the rare brewery that doesn’t have a sour beer programme of
one size or another. Moreover the new world approach to sour beer
making (recently christened ‘Amer ican Sour Beer’), has made the style
more approachable and often easier to produce. Whilst sour beer from
Belgium, Ger many, Amer ica, Scandinavia, Australia, and elsewhere
in the world is becoming easier and easier to sleuth out, there are a
number of world-class sour beer producers r ight here at home.
This quaint Oamaru brewer y has won numerous awards and quickly
built a cult following within just a few short years of the company’s
inception, and all while brewing on a tiny 50 litre brewing system
in the stone basement of one of the co-founder’s home. Known for
brewing small batches of Belgian-inspired ales with an emphasis on
local and organic ingredients, Craftwork has built quite a reputation as
one of New Zealand’s more unique and artisan brewer ies. Fortunately
for us, the availability of these once-hard-to-find beers is on the r ise
and they can now be found in an increasing number of New Worlds,
specialty bottle shops, and online retailers.
Craftwork offers a number of award-winning sour beers to choose
from, such as its much loved Scotch Bonnet - a whisky bar rel aged sour
brown ale (aka Oud Bruin) - and Autobar n, which is a sour ale aged in
a Gewürztraminer bar rels.
While not always easy to find, Craftwork is a brewer y worth putting
some effort into seeking out. And when you see a bottle on the shelf,
grab it - you won’t be disappointed.
MOA BREWING COMPANY
Moa Brewing Company is one of the best-known craft beer producers
in New Zealand. Despite being better known for its widely distributed
Original Lager and its Session Pale Ale, Moa’s veteran head brewer,
David Nicholls, has introduced a number of more exotic offer ings to
the line-up in recent years, including a number of sour beers, which
are all widely available throughout New Zealand due to the company’s
far-reaching distribution channels.
Moa’s sour beers are released each year as vintages, and the collection
has included popular beers such as the Sauvignon Blanc-based
Sour Grapes, Rum Bar rel (a rum bar rel aged Belgian Dark Strong),
the Cher r y Lambic inspired Cher r y Sour, and Sour Blanc, a more
traditional Lambic-inspired ale.
Moa’s collection of sour beers is a good place to start for the
uninitiated.Their sour beers are relatively easy to find, approachable,
and with a head brewer like David Nicholls, you can count on a well-
brewed, high-quality beer.
With the largest bar rel programme in the Souther n Hemisphere, it
should be no sur prise that Warkworth’s 8 Wired Brewing Company has
produced an impressive collection of sour beers over the last few years.
Some of the mouth puckering offer ings from 8 Wired that you might
consider seeking out are Gypsy Funk (a dry-hopped, barrel-aged, sour
Pale Ale),Wild Feijoa (a sour ale brewed with feijoas and aged in wine
barrels), Sour Poppy (a kettle-soured version of its Red IPA), or if you’re
in the mood for something lighter then try Hippy Berliner (a refreshing
and fruity-tasting beer inspired by traditional Berliner Weisse ales).
8 Wired’s sour beer programme is one of the largest and boldest in
New Zealand. If sour beer is your thing, then make some room in your
beer fridge for any one of their microbiologically adventurous creations.
They are some of the best that New Zealand has to offer. n
Craftwork’s Michael O’Brien in the brewery
8 Wired’s barrel-aged beer
Craftwork's Scotch Bonnet and Autobarn
Hospitality BUSINESS | June 2017 | 51
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