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July 11, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Beer Will Be Beer – Megabeer from Nanobreweries

I’ve been home brewing for almost two years now, but the catalyst for my entry to the home brew world was meeting a man named Jo Wood. I ran into him at the bar, where I expressed my intention to get into all-grain home brewing. Jo replied along the lines of: “mate, I’ll whip you up a kit—no worries.”
A few weeks later a large box arrived at my doorstep—a custom-made all-grain brew kit from Liberty Brewing, Jo’s newly acquired homebrew supply company.

In the ensuing months Jo has been tinkering with his own 200L brew kit, expanding Liberty Brewing from a home brew supply company to commercial brewery. Since then, Liberty Brewing releases have been steady but only available on tap. That is all about to change.

Liberty’s three most extreme brews were deemed too powerful for tap release, so were packaged in sexy 750ml champagne bottles.
The first in the range is High Carb Ale (7.3%, 45g carbohydrates) a not so subtle dig at the bland world of low carb beer. High Carb Ale is touted as a New Zealand strong ale, featuring NZ Chinook hops. This is a wonderfully rich beer, showing off a huge strawberry jam hop character unlike any other I’ve experienced all balanced perfectly with huge malt.

Next in line is MMMMoMMft4CH (10.4%), which stands for something but it’d put me over my word limit to write it out. This is a black barley wine, something not attempted on the NZ market before. It combines the high alcohol sweetness of a barley wine with a roasty malt character making for quite a mouthful. I think this is a beer to age for 6 months or more, when the flavours will have integrated nicely.

The big daddy of the range is Never Go Back (10.6%), an imperial oat stout. If you think Guinness is thick, you’ll need a bit more courage before attempting this brew. This is thick. It’s aroma is a wonderful mix of vanilla and chocolate, but from the first sip you are assaulted with intense coffee and cocoa flavours all on top of silky malt courtesy of the oats.

Liberty’s bottles are available now at all good beer outlets, while sporadic tap releases of more experimental brews appear at Hashigo Zake
Another garage brewery has emerged in quake-torn Christchurch. Golden Eagle Brewing is the brainchild of home brewer David Gaughan, who now has a 200L brewery residing in his garage. Golden Eagle’s line up consists of Coal Face Stout, South Island Pale Ale, Ah Reet Golden Ale and Apache Amber Ale. A few of these have made it to the taps at Hashigo Zake, but due to the size of the brewery supply is sporadic. I can vouch for the quality of these beers; if you’re lucky enough to find any on tap, don’t miss out.


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