Regional Wrap: August 2017


Palmerston North

Brew Union successfully commissioned their brewhouse on 29 June 2017 with a dry stout. This is now on tap and tasting fine! With the brewery now commissioned, look out for a new release coming soon! We’re excited to see beer being brewed in Palmerston North again. Those lucky enough to work in the CBD had a real treat with the glorious smell of malt being mashed in nice and early, even the odd British I& Irish Lions supporter was spotted poking their nose in to see what all the fuss was.

The Celtic Inn has managed to get their hands on some Panhead Supercharger in kegs. Well done to Matt and the crew at The Celtic for pushing and being patient. It’s good to see finally see the SOBA Beer of The Year available on tap in Palmy.

The Little White Rabbit held a beer tour, heading to North End Brewing. Anita and Nigel are doing some awesome stuff out there with live music and beer available out at Foxton Beach. We’ll look to have a wee get together out there again sometime soon. Really is a good little spot for a beer and a bite to eat if you’re ever in the area.

We’re looking to run a beer fault tasting with Mike Cheer from Steam Brewing. Details are to be confirmed, so keep an eye on your social media and emails for more details to come soon. This will be a ticketed event and from all accounts will sell out quickly. Due to Michael‘s other engagement I can host the gathering this week for all that are still keen.

Hawke’s Bay

Sunday 2 September – First Sunday of the month member catch up from about 4pm at Westshore Beach Inn, Napier

Saturday 9 September – Tour de Hastings. We’re on the road, touring Hastings’ finest craft beer venues. Transport will be provided from Napier.

Sunday 10 September – Speidel Braumeister (German engineered brewing equipment) demo at Napier Brewing Co.

Sunday 1 October – Home brew member judging of local home brew challenge; followed by first Sunday of the month catch up at Westshore Beach Inn, Napier

In October – Brewery visit Roosters, Hastings. Date and details tbc.

Even in the cooler and wetter months there’s been plenty of beery stuff going on in Hawke’s Bay. In July SOBA members got to meet the guys behind the WilliamsWarn brewing system and had a ‘playdate’ with a brand new one – this event was popular with our local home brewers and wannabes, who got the chance to learn about the WilliamsWarn system and have a go with it.

Each summer and winter Hawke’s Bay puts on its culinary festival FAWC (Food And Wine Classic). Historically, and as the name suggests, the individual events have mainly involved local wineries – but the focus is changing, and reflecting the growing local interest in craft beer, there were several beer events in this winter’s festival and these were extremely popular. Bring on Summer FAWC in November.

Looking ahead, there’s something for everyone in the next few months. We’ve got a trip around Hastings planned, which will include a stop at Brave Brewing’s and tap room on Warren Street, and at the Common Room on Heretaunga Street. There will be transport from Napier. Then there’s a Speidel Braumeister demo at Napier Brewing Co – this will be lead by Dean Wishart, who’s the NZ agent for the German brewing system.

With so much going on in Hawke’s Bay, it’s a really exciting time to get involved and join SOBA.

Email Jeremy Bayliss [email protected]


Corey Taylor conducts the Tuatara tour.

In the 19th century Wanganui was home to many breweries, the largest and most famous being Crown, Bell, Wanganui and Western breweries. The last of these, which was bought by Dominion Breweries, was closed in 1961. The building eventually being demolished in 1974 to make way for the infamous ‘Wanganui Computer Centre’.

With no local breweries to visit, and the Wanganui SOBA members feeling justifiably hard done by, a brewery day-out was needed in order to raise their spirits. Thanks to SOBA, and local tour operator Take it Easy Tours, a bus-load of members took off on one drizzly Saturday in late May headed for the Kapiti Coast.

First Stop was North End Brewing in Waikanae where Kieran Haslett-Moore greeted us warmly and plied us with samples of his pale ale and stout. Kieran’s passion for brewing was evident as he related the details of his breweries inception and growth.

Next stop was Tuatara Brewery in Paraparaumu where Corey Taylor showed us around the brewery, which had recently been purchased by DB. How things have changed since DB bought the Western Brewery! Corey explained that there were big expansion plans ahead and it was expected that the current operation would be expanded five-fold in the near future. After lunch and a tasting tray we moved on.

Now situated just across the road from Tuatara in an industrial complex is Duncan’s Brewing, where owner George Duncan proved positively that his description of himself on his web page as the ‘Smiley Guy’ was absolutely true. George bought his initial equipment from Carl Vasta of Tuatara when Tuatara moved to Paraparaumu from up in the hills above Waikanae. What a warm and friendly guy George is. He gave us a great tour and a few tasters and even gave us a few bottles to remember him by.

It was now mid-afternoon and time to move on to Brew Union in Palmerston North, allowing for an unscheduled pit stop on the way. By the time we arrived there the non-brewing members were totally brewery’d out and were bedazzled by the 21 craft beer taps plus a hand pull. Jason Franssen, brewer, showed the brewing members his new stainless steel bling which at this time was not quite ready to brew.

As our bus wound its way back to the brewery desert of Wanganui our group of weary SOBA members either slept peacefully or reflected on a very memorable day out, and the passion of all of the brewers involved.

Our thanks to all of the breweries we visited.


SOBA Nelson farewelled local craft beer identity Dick Tout, of Lighthouse Brewing, as he enters into retirement after more than 20 years in the Nelson scene. He entertained us all at the Bel Aire tavern – home of the Meet the Brewer monthly events on the last Monday of the month.

On September 11 we will be meeting at The Freehouse at 7pm
On October 9 we will try the craft beer at The Royal at 7pm

As summer approaches we will be communicating a lot more events here in the Top of the South. Keep your eyes peeled for a large number of craft beer related activities.


Good Beer Collective co-chair Penny Prescott

Beer lovers from all walks of life in Canterbury have come together under one banner to create a solidarity movement known as The Good Beer Collective.

The incorporated society formed is made up of local breweries, free houses, retailers, distributors and industry suppliers and is designed shape how Canterbury is recognised as the home of good beer, from grain to glass, by undertaking activities that will help drive craft beer drinkers to members’ establishments and to educate customers about all aspects of good beer, from grain to glass.

In some ways the catalyst for the collective, and an example of its power, came late last year.

Just 41 days after the November Kaikoura earthquake, Kegs for Kaikoura was held on Christmas Eve and raised $8,712.50 for earthquake support in the region. Donations had been sought and generously received for everything from festival cups and radio advertising to port-a-loos, from take-away riggers to the printing of tickets and posters. A logo had been conceived and designed, special liquor licenses submitted and granted. A Brazilian style BBQ was organised and over 20 breweries had donated their beer, equipment and time. An event had been planned and executed from start to finish.

Kegs for Kaikoura was the spark that brought a slow-burning idea to fruition. Earlier, a few meetings had taken place to discuss options and ideas around a Canterbury collective of some shape. With 20 craft beer brands calling Canterbury home – from Industry stalwarts to upstarts and everything in between – but brewing great beer is only one aspect of the business and getting it to an appreciative market is key.

The Good Beer Collective provides a platform to unify the beer market in Canterbury: from the grain suppliers in the area through to the free houses and other outlets, says co-chair Penny Prescott, who summed up the collective by saying: “I guess if I had to choose just one thing it would be the opportunity to bring together those who are making craft beer with those who are selling it so that we can work collaboratively to promote each other and let the world know how great the local craft beer scene is here in Canterbury.”

However, there are no “Gose Tinted Glasses” in the collective, which realises regulatory issues and general market challenges will continue to present obstacles for many years to come.

Thankfully the executive committee are a shrewd, dedicated and hard-working bunch who are up to the challenge & not afraid to roll up their sleeves and muck in to do whatever it takes to convince the rest of the country of what we already know… Canterbury is the home of good beer, from grain to glass.

Join the cause and follow the Good Beer Collective on Facebook @GoodBeerCollective

Back to The Pursuit of Hoppiness: August 2017

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