Last Thursday I was lucky enough to attend the launch of Punkin Image Ltd pumpkin ale at Hamilton’s House on Hood bar. Punkin Image Ltd is the creation of Greig McGill and Phil Murray, two Hamilton homebrewers who liked their beers so much, they wanted to make enough to share with everyone and formed Brewaucracy, a brewing company. Their first commercial brew was Greig’s pumpkin ale, which was contract brewed at Liberty Brewing Co., a nano-brewery in New Plymouth. They produced just 150 litres, and it’s good stuff, shown by the keg selling out in just over three hours on Thursday night.
Now if you’re a beer geek like myself, that whole first paragraph probably made sense; if you’re a New Zealand beer geek, it’s also likely you’ll have heard of Liberty Brewing or know of Greig or Phil. However, to the average person, there were a lot of unanswered questions in there. How do two homebrewers just decide to start a brewery? What is a brewing company (or nano-brewery)? And what, in god’s name, is pumpkin doing in a beer? To answer: some homebrewers have enough skill (and in some cases, capital) to develop a large-scale brew recipe; a brewing company is a company that pays a brewery with spare capacity to produce their beer; a nano-brewery is a very small (yet undefinable) brewery; and, for the record, pumpkin tastes pretty good in beer.
While I find all over this rather interesting (enough to drive to Hamilton), I really have to remember that other people simply aren’t that interested. This isn’t a criticism – it’s similar to the way I don’t care how my computer works, why my fridge stays cold or why certain petrol makes my car run better. I want my computer to work, my fridge to chill and my car to run, but I’m not interesting in the way any of things things can do the things they do. The same can be applied to craft beer – many people like that the beer tastes good; why and how it does, isn’t so important.
I reached this conclusion on Saturday when Dad and I took some of his friends to Hallertau. They’re not craft beer drinkers – the last time we went out, they downed a large amount of Sol (yes, with lime). But, with a bit of guidance (which really equated to nothing more than me saying ‘Try this one’), they were quite happy to try something new. One of them liked the Kolsch so much, he bought a dozen to take home.
What I’m getting at is that sometimes, us beer geeks just talk too much and overload people with information. For a lot of people, the taste of craft beer speaks for itself – there’s really not a lot we can add to it.