Weeks 12-13: Whānau First

Dates:   16th September – 29th September, 2013

Bottle shop: Errr, My Cupboard, Broadmeadows, Wellington

Beer(s): Aotearoa Amber Ale, By Me (9L, $0.00)

Total: $0.00

This week I was saddened to hear that the craft beer world is losing (temporarily I hope) the stylings of Kelly Ryan, the head brewer at Good George and all-round Brewing Legend. He is moving on from his operation in Hamilton to be with his family in Taranaki, as his Dad goes through some decidedly rough health.

Kelly is not only the genius behind the Good George beers – which are winning friends and notoriety fast, as word spreads of their deliciousness and approachability – he’s also 25% of the aptly-named Four Horsemen of the Hopocalypse, and was formerly 50% of a craft beer Dream Team at Epic Brewing, where he played the perfect ying to Luke Nicholas’s yang.  If you haven’t seen their work-in-progress documentary series NZ Craft Beer TV, it’s well worth watching (and then incessantly annoying them both with requests for more episodes).

Ryan and I are complete strangers – but just from creepily following him on Twitter (c’mon – what part of Twitter isn’t kinda creepy), I can tell he’s My Kind Of People.  The kind of optimist that makes good things happen.  I lament that I’m too late to get up to Hamilton for a tasting paddle while he’s still King George, but I’m quite sure that his influence will echo through everything they do in perpetuity – making Good George a worthy stop on any self-respecting Beer Geeks’ road trip.

Ryan’s made the never-regretted decision to put Whānau First for now, and step away from the mash tun – but it seems pretty damn unlikely that he won’t make an Ali-like return to the brewing ring whenever that’s the right thing for him to do.  To echo beer writer extraordinaire Jono Galuszka, let’s all collectively cross our Beer Geek fingers that someone with Cents and Sensibility spots a profoundly good opportunity and funds Ryan to set up his own operation in his new backyard.

In my own (waaaaaay more minor) moment of putting Whānau First, I decided to tie-up my purse strings for the last couple of weeks – largely because Getting Paid Monthly Sucks Arse – and instead enjoy the fruits (well, fruity esters) of my home brewing labour.


There’s something utterly joyous about remembering that you have 9L of beer conditioning in the cupboard, ready for Just Such A Rainy Fortnight.  The beer isn’t anywhere near Ryan Standard – but it’s sure as heck better than the Double Brown I had a few weeks back.  It’s certainly full of what Beer Geeks call faults – and as you can see from the photo, it pours a bit like an ice cream sundae – but it was only my sixth brew, and I did manage to make 9L of perfectly-quaffable, mildly-hoppy amber ale for about twenty bucks.  So it may be full of faults, but they’re MY faults…and the more mistakes I make, the more I learn – and the better the next brew will be.

But for now, I’m perfectly content with my Beer Sundae.

Home Beer Brewing

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