Toasting the industry

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Invercargill Brewery head brewer Steve Nally (left), Moa head brewer David Nicholls, from Blenheim, Doug Michael, of Gladfield Malt, Dunsandel, and Professor Phil Bremer, from Dunedin's University of Otago's Food Science department, at the Southern Malt Collective held at the Invercargill Brewery last week. Photo: Janette Gellatly

IT takes a good team to make an excellent brew, with some of the best in the industry getting together during the Southern Malt Collective at the Invercargill Brewery last week.

Bar owners, small distillers, engineers, other breweries, technicians, scientists, suppliers of the raw material and home brewers spent two days sharing knowledge, showcasing equipment, listening to guest speakers and tastings.

Invercargill Brewery head brewer Steve Nally said the event was a chance for those in the industry to get together and talk shop.

“Although beer festivals are increasingly becoming more popular, brewers don’t really get a chance to connect as they are too busy manning their stalls. They are mainly for the public, not us,” he said.

Brewing can be isolated, so the collective was a good way to share knowledge, he said.

“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.”

Into its fourth year, the collective provided the chance for those in the industry to meet, share ideas and grow their skill-sets, with 27 brewers taking part this year.

“The first year, I think we had seven, and we were really impressed with that.”

The first day focused on brewer-specific workshops, with hands-on experience as the group made back-to-back brews to highlight different ingredients, and also discussed where the industry was heading.

“I believe brew pubs are going to be a huge part of the industry’s future,” Mr Nally said.

sensory evaluation by Otago University food science professor Phil Bremer and flavour lecturer Graham Eyres.

Ingredients, such as hops, malt and yeast, were also discussed and evaluated.

“In good brewing, less is more and it’s achieved by allowing individual ingredients to shine,” Mr Nally said.

Focusing on individual craft beer was also important, he said.

“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.”

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