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October 11, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Care for another round?

Being the last column of the year, I am tempted to be reflective and look back at the year in beer. But what help is that when you have dutifully read the beer column week in, week out? Instead, let’s look forward to some exciting new beers on the horizon.

This year saw the explosion of contract brewing, where home brewers use spare capacity at an existing brewery to release their beer commercially. 8 Wired Brewing has been one of the most prolific contract brewers, releasing three new beers while keeping the Hopwired flowing.

Every time I see the brewer Søren, I nag him about what’s coming next. Being a good acquaintance of his, he’s always happy to let me know what’s on the cards. Last time I pressed him, he mentioned an upcoming Imperial American Amber Ale soon to go on at Hashigo Zake. Being imperial, it promises hefty alcohol content, and stuffed to the brim with US hops. I am lucky enough to have tried his homebrew version of this beer and, trust me, it’s good.

The contract brewery that made contract brewing cool isn’t taking a break over the summer either. The
Wellington-based Yeastie Boys make each of their beers as a once-off, never to be produced again. But one was so popular they couldn’t resist demand, and this year, Pot Kettle Black became their first beer to be brewed all year round.

But they’re still making the limited editions, and coming soon is the second iteration of Pot Kettle Black ‘the remix’. Last year, the recipe was remixed as a stout. This year’s version will be PKB featuring American hops, which is likely to give it a more overt hop character. Look out for it in distinctive 750ml crown capped champagne bottles soon.

It’s not just the contract brewers having some fun with limited releases, Croucher Brewing of Rotorua have just started brewing limited-release beers again. The latest is Croucher Patriot Black Ale (5.5%), a massively hopped black IPA. If you closed your eyes, you would swear it was a normal American IPA. Check it out at Hashigo Zake, Malthouse and Regional Wines & Spirits while it lasts. The next release is to come later this month, Croucher October Ale, a strong (7-8%) English-styled IPA.

We’ve had a great year in beer, but the brewers are just getting started. These limited releases are only the tip of the iceberg of things to come. In the next year we will see many new contract breweries popping up to meet the surging demand for complex and exciting ales. See you then.

If you have any questions or comments about this week’s beers, you can email me at


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