Some of the best brains behind New Zealand’s craft brew industry will be in Invercargill this week for the Southern Malt Collective.
Now in its fourth year, the Collective is hosted by Invercargill Brewery and provides a rare chance for brewers to meet brewers to share and grow their skills.
Organiser Steve Nally says, “When I began brewing I travelled New Zealand and visited other brewers. Everyone had a process or a piece of information that I could take away to make better beer. Now the industry is so much busier when brewers get together it’s usually at a festival, where we are all working, and the chance to share information is lost.
“Our craft beer customers don’t want us to grow into one mega-brewery – they want variety. They want lots of small and medium breweries making great beer, so that’s what the Southern Malt Collective is about.”
This year the event has expanded from one to two days, with 27 brewers registered.
“The first year I think we had seven, and we were really impressed with that,” Steve says.
This year the first day is scheduled for brewer-specific workshops, to be followed by hands-on experience as the group make back-to-back brews to highlight different ingredients, and also where the industry is headed.
“I believe brew pubs are going to be a huge part of the industry’s future, so we’re delighted that Martin Bennett from The Twisted Hop and The Laboratory has agreed to do a session.”
Another session back by popular demand is sensory evaluation. Otago University food science professor Phil Bremer and flavour lecturer Graham Eyres will be spiking beers with common faults to see how they taste.
“What makes this collective special, rather than being a theoretical experience, is that we let suppliers take a driving role in the brew recipes to showcase. In very practical terms, the role individual ingredients play in brewing, which we can all learn from.”
Moa Head Brewer David Nicholls is introducing Hopsteiner hops, and Doug and Gabi Michael from Gladfield Malt have devised a malt bill to showcase the German hops.
The second beer will be a Belgium Trappist style ale, inspired by Orval, using an authentic wild yeast from Otago University yeast bank, and again the malt bill has been specifically designed by Gladfield to highlight that.
“In good brewing, less is more and it’s achieved by allowing individual ingredients to shine,” Steve Nally says.