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Friday, November 23, 2018

Outperforming Craft Brewers with New Zealand's Best Concentrated Wort - Black Rock Brewing

Beer Liberation, Rebooted


You can see New Zealand's phenomenal standard of home-brewed beer side-by-side with some of the best craft brews on offer at the Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival. Frankly, it is hard to know the difference. Thanks to Black Rock Brewing's concentrated wort ingredients a lot of people are discovering that they can now brew their own beer.

We had to know more about these homebrewers, and a food festival half-way around the world was as good an excuse as any for the Two Cowboys to make the trip.



DO YOU WANT YOUR DESTINATION OR BUSINESS FEATURED?


If you've been following our travels, you will know that we are on a mission to free our beer from the mystery of brewing, excessive regulation, and over taxation. In Canada, the Federal Government even sneaked in an automatic annual tax escalation for beer. We are feeling violently prohibited all over again as we get de-ja-vu flashbacks of the 1920's prohibition movement that swept the continent. In some instances in Canada, eighty cents on the dollar of beer goes for compliance, excise, tariffs, distribution and taxation.

We love beer, and we've realized that short of adopting or investing in our own craft brewery (which implies that you become a de facto public servant and tax farmer), the best way for us to have a freshly brewed beer at a reasonable price, is to take charge and do our own brew.

We are no weird scientists and don't have the time to tinker with the complex chemistry of sugars and yeasts. That is why we've been on a mission during the last two years, to find out how we can make the best beer in the simplest possible way.

Before long we, like everyone venturing into the art of brewing, we were lured by equipment manufacturers claiming their device is the next fool-proof solution to revolutionize the making of our own fresh beer. Not so fast. There is more to the story.

The real discovery is that brewing beer is no different than frying a sausage or making a good cup of tea. It takes a little longer, but there is a simple method behind it all. As with your sausage sizzle or a cup of tea, the equipment makes it easier. However, if you start with a bad raw sausage or a no-good flat and old tea, no amount of gear and gadgetry will save you from an undesired result. It is all about the ingredients.

Start With Good Ingredients


Here comes the old value chain conversation. If you want to bake a cake, where do you start in the value chain? Do you start by planting your own wheat? Maybe, you buy grain and start by milling it. Most people start by buying a good quality flour from a reputable supplier and build their prize-winning creation from there with added ingredients and a fool-proof process, combined with some talent. The same goes for any consumable item that requires a substantial amount of value to be added before the end product can be created. The value chain should be your friend or you will take a long time to make it, coupled with all the risks along the way.

Beer is no different. You can grow your own barley, malt it, mill it, sparge, mash, boil and ferment it, or you can start with a quality wort (in the middle of the value chain) that guarantees a reliable outcome. You can work your beer magic from that point onwards by flavouring it, fermenting it, and serving.

Commercial breweries are no longer farmers and maltsters. They too are now entering higher up in the value chain. Instead, for their foundation ingredient, they rely on the maltsters to provide them with base malts. Base malts are blended (like flour) to provide a consistent foundation for every style of brew. The brewer can trust that it meets quality and consistency expectations. Specialty malts are then added for character and flavour with hops (also sourced) and the required type of yeast (also sourced) for fermentation.

The homebrewer can purchase base malts, hops and yeasts like his professional counterpart and he will still have to contend with the small variations of how the malt sugars will behave through the brewing process. The alternative is to leave it to the wort manufacturer and trust that the base wort meets expectations. This is only one more value-added step in the process entrusted to someone else.

There are people like Black Rock Brewing that are manufacturing base worts for brewing at home or commercially. The homebrewer, and increasingly the craft brewers are sourcing wort and adding value to it as a base ingredient through specialty malts, hops, fermentation techniques and maturation.

The beer value chain is fragmenting with the explosion of craft brewing. It opened up an opportunity for wort manufacturing, and we as beer lovers and budding brewers are better off as a result. We can now source the best wort and make our own fresh beer fairly simply with basic equipment like a fermenting bucket and recycled glass bottles.

It the Beer Any Good?


We've seen time and again that when anyone, homebrewer, microbrewer, craft brewer, and even large-scale commercial brewers start with a solid foundation for their beer, like a well-manufactured base ingredient of wort, one cannot tell the difference between a beer fermented in a bucket and one done in a commercial brewery.

Professional brewers and craft brewers don't like us telling you this. If you don't believe us, then you should save some money and make the trip to New Zealand with us. We will show you. Kiwis know how to do it Downunder, and we are lucky to break the news and be able to show you what we've discovered.

Enjoy our feature from the Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival. Thank you for Black Rock that made it possible for us to be there and to brew our own fresh (New Zealand) beer - even in Canada!

Hendrik
Beer Cowboy

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