Michael O’Brien and Lee-Ann Scotti can’t wait to show off their brews at the country’s biggest beer festival in Wellington this weekend.
The pair, who own and operate Craftwork Brewery in Tyne St, are attending Beervana for the second time, after making their debut last year.
More than 60 breweries will take part this year with 25 new breweries joining for the first time. They will be serving up hundreds of different beers alongside street food and live music.
Craftwork, which specialises in Belgian-inspired ales, will have 11 beers on tap at the event.
Ms Scotti said she and Mr O’Brien had a fantastic time at Beervana last year and expected more of the same.
“I love seeing all of the other brewers and sort of getting to know the patrons, the people who are drinking our beer. We really enjoyed that last year.”
Mr O’Brien admitted initially he had been reluctant to attend the festival, but he had changed his tune as a result of the flow-on effect.
“I was against going last year . I’m fairly cautious and Lee-Ann bugged me into going, but she was absolutely right – it was the best thing to do.
“It’s the biggest festival in New Zealand, it’s the best venue and it’s very hyped-up and full-on.
“I’m actually looking forward to it. Last year, we did draught beer, pouring straight from the tap, which we hadn’t done before. I was worried that it wouldn’t work, but it did work.”
The reason for that caution was because all of Craftwork’s beers are bottle conditioned.
“We didn’t want to pasteurise, filter and keg the beer and force carbonate, which is normal.”
They enlisted more help this year, after serving hundreds of thirsty punters by themselves in 2016.
Ms Scotti said since Beervana, the brewery’s sales had tripled and the pair had struggled to keep up with demand at times.
Craftwork will share a stand at Beervana with Wanaka-based Rhyme and Reason Brewery, co-owned by former Oamaru couple Jessica Wolfgang and Simon Ross.
The two breweries have forged a close relationship. Several months ago, Craftwork purchased a 1200-litre fermenter, now based at Rhyme and Reason, which opened early this year.
It will mean Craftwork can brew larger batches of its most popular beers, while still brewing in Oamaru.
Craftwork will also serve a beer it has collaborated on with Kapiti’s North End Brewing Company at Beervana.
“This collaboration is kicking off our ‘spontaneously fermented range’ and we hope to continue this with other breweries,” Ms Scotti said.
“We brew our spontaneously fermented beers out in the open, in ‘coolships’ or outdoor shallow troughs and do this throughout winter to capture wild yeast. This technique is traditionally used in Belgium, fitting well with the style of our brewery.”