Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CT Column 13/10/2010 :Living the dream

BACK in 2004 I entered my first beer competition. That year the BrewNZ Festival included an amateur brewer section where homebrewers like myself could enter our beers and get feedback and, if we made the cut, the glory of medals. That year I didn’t win anything, but a gentleman called Paul Croucher from Rotorua took out the top prize with a Pilsner recipe. Buoyed on by his success, Paul decided to make his dream a reality and set about starting a new business and buying in the equipment required to brew commercially. Croucher Brewing was born.
Croucher has built up a strong following over the past six years but, like many small breweries, its beers have varied a lot with some batches being absolutely stunning and others missing the mark. When they are good they are fantastic and this was underlined when Croucher Pilsner took a Gold Medal and Best in Class Trophy at BrewNZ this year.
With demand for this medal-winning beer sky rocketing and new overseas markets beckoning, the Croucher team has, in its own tongue-in-cheek words, decided to ‘sell out’. From this month onwards the main Croucher beers Pilsner and Pale Ale are being produced at Auckland’s Steam Brewery. Croucher Hef will now become a seasonal beer.
Steam has a great track record for producing award-winning top notch beers, with the Epic and Cock and Bull beers being shining examples. The Croucher beers are still being brewed to the same recipes and under Paul’s supervision, while the increased batch sizes and the big shinny automated Steam bottling plant will add some much-needed consistency and extra capacity.
The original Croucher 600l brewery in Rotorua will still be busy brewing seasonal and special one-off beers that will show up on taps around town. A Black IPA under the name of Patriot is currently popping up at places such as Regional and Hashigo Zake.
The first beers from Auckland hit the shelves last week in new look 500ml bottles. The Pilsner is an indigenous interpretation of the style with a big aromatic NZ hop character. Aromas of melon fruit and mango give way to a palate that perfectly balances fruity hop and nutty pale malt flavours. The Pale Ale follows the American Pale Ale model but again uses New Zealand hops. Pouring a light shade of amber, the Pale Ale displays aromas of tropical fruit, a hint of nutty malt and a dry citrus tinged finish. Both will make a fantastic accompaniment to the barbeque this summer.

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