I’m not sure why it has taken so long to write about this amazing journey. But since there have been several stories written now, I guess it wont hurt to add a few more lines.
On 3rd November 2013, my home brew, a dry stout, won Champion beer in the SOBA New Zealand Home Brew Competition. To say I was proud seems insufficient. I was over the moon!
The Stout style is one I really enjoy. This particular recipe has been brewed many times over the 11 years I have been brewing. The recipe changes a little based on feed back from other brewers but when I participated in brewing this recipe with Steve Plowman at Hallertau on a commercial scale (the prize for winning) I learned so much more.
Over the years, I have added equipment to improve my brews – a wort chiller, a temperature controlled refrigerator, a new mash tun with false bottom – the one thing that I failed to appreciate was how each of the grains taste. As we were milling the grain for the Joppa Stout, Steve would reach in, grab a few and start munching. So I did the same. I had never been able to actually taste each grain in the recipe before because when I buy it, the shop mills it for me. What a revelation. Like any good cook, you need to taste your food along the way – to know what each ingredient is adding to your overall flavour profile. I’m not sure why this had never occurred to me in regards to home brew.
While I can’t possibly afford my own mill, I did taste some of the grains when I next went to the Brewer’s Coop.
Having Hallertau brew my beer was a great experience. I had watched brews before on the old system. But this brew was on the new expanded capacity kit installed mid last year. For the first time, Hallertau would release the SOBA Champion beer in both kegs and bottles.
Barry was kind enough to offer his design skills to come up with a tab badge as well as bottle label. I think it turned out well. We joked about doing a dogue one but not only would it be too expensive, the joke wouldn’t translate to everyone.
So now “my” beer is available throughout New Zealand any place that the Hallertau beers are sold. Most of the kegs are gone, but you can still get the bottles.
The best part of having a beer with my name on it? My dad getting his picture taken with a Joppa Stout!