We’ve sent NZPA – our 6% New Zealand hopped pale ale back to New Zealand, for the locals to taste, test and hopefully approve, at a prestigious beer festival, down under.
It’s a big risk for Head Brewer, Matt Clarke, who is a New Zealander. “I am actually very nervous about this,” he said. ” If NZPA arrives on the other side of the world in anything less than a perfect state, I’ll not live it down.”
To try to spare Kiwi Matt getting a hard time from his home town, Wanganui, on North Island, the NZ importers, Beertique, agreed to send the draught beers by plane. The bottled beers are following, at a more leisurely pace, by sea.
The flying kegs of NZPA and another prize-winning beer, Cumbrian Five Hop, were checked onto an Air New Zealand flight (what else!) They are headed for the 21st birthday celebration of the renowned Wellington bar, The Malthouse, part of the annual NZ beer festival, Beervana. Matt anxiously awaits a quality report from kiwi drinkers.
New Zealand hops – varieties like Motueka, Riwaka and Nelson Sauvin -- are among the most aromatic, flavoursome and expensive in the world. They are highly sought after and in short supply.
They came to beer lovers’ notice relatively recently, when a few craft breweries, largely in the UK and USA, started experimenting with them.
Sending the finished product back to New Zealand isn’t so much “coals to Newcastle” as brewers’ hands across the world. Spurred on by the internet and social media, craft brewing is spreading fast globally, even in previously lager stricken New Zealand. Until recently the New Zealand brewing industry did not appreciate what it had got – disease free, hugely flavoured hops.
“I am keen on Matt developing this brewing relationship with his home country,” said director and owner, Alex Brodie. “As NZ hops catch on, and supplies get short, it helps ensure we get the hops we need.”