It getting cold, and the further south you go the colder it gets.
This winter weather coincides with the release of two very different ice-inspired beers from South Island brewers.
In Christchurch, Raindogs and Valkyrie are collaborating to release their Eisbock, a traditional European style using freezing to concentrate flavours. Further south in Wanaka the ice has gone their heads – Wanaka Beerworks has given us what may well be the world’s first (and last) Ice Blue IPA.
Valkyrie’s Wendy Roigard says Where’s my Mind Eisbock (8%) is a deliberate reproduction of a fortunate mistake:
“Eisbock, an accident of history? A strong, malty German Bock mistakenly left out on a frigid night to partially freeze, thus removing some of the water as ice crystals, leaving the beer concentrated and the flavour intensified. A serendipitous event leading to an unusual and rare beer style. Sounds like something worth a go, so (Raindogs’) Sean Harris and I brewed up a strong malt-driven lager and gave it a bit of a non-traditional twist with a good old dose of late and dry hopping, and a touch of lactose to add sweetness.
"After an extended conditioning period we froze the beer and recollected the melt, leaving behind a large block of crystalline ice. The result, a concentration of flavour, colour and alcohol from the original beer. Intense, smooth and rounded, packed full of malt complexity with fruity hop notes. An ideal evening’s sipper or match with cheese or dessert. Where Is My Mind indeed!”
And ice also inspired Wanaka Beerworks’ Bluski Blue IPA (6.5%), brewed for the Smiths NZ IPA Competition held last week.
Beertown.NZ asked Wanaka Beerworks head brewer Andrew Boulton two questions – why and how?:
“The why came about while looking at the colour spectrum and what we can do with beer. We thought, ‘How can we go from the yellow/red/brown side to the other side?’ So we decide to dive into the science of how we can get green, blue, and purple into a beer – where does it accrue naturally and how can we use the naturally ingredients to change the colour of beer? That's where the idea came from.
"My inspiration came from the Alaskan ice caves, that deep blue colour that came from long amount of time and pressure. The ice looks amazing and thought I want to see that in a glass and be able to taste this experience. We thought an IPA would be a great beer style to have this colour change and show off the new world hops of New Zealand.
“The how is a combination of science and culinary art.”