Crab Pots & Sun Burn

Hoppy Wheat , the very words cut an oxymoronic path through how we expect wheat beers to be. Usually fruity, spicy and tart, wheat beers seldom require much in the way of balancing hop bitterness instead relying on the inherent tartness of wheat malt. I never had much time for wheat beers, they were great with food and I often utilized them when working on beer and food matches but other than that I wasn’t a huge fan.
Then I had occasion to judge alongside Brad Rogers from Stone and Wood. Brad created a beer for the sunny seaside township of Byron Bay called Pacific Ale. Although not specifically promoted as a wheat beer Pacific Ale contains a significant percentage of tart wheat malt combined with a bright refreshing Galaxy hop character and some restrained fruity esters. The result is a refreshing complex beer wonderful for the beach, great with food and perfect to session on. Fast forward a good few years and here we are planning a brewery in Waikanae and the first beer I wanted to brew was a hoppy wheat.
For our beer I combined an unusual blend of Nelson hops that I love, a little Pacific Jade to bitter, and then a good dose of Super Alpha and NZ Cascade late in the boil, a judicious addition of coriander seed to round out the fruitiness and spice character of the beer. The grist is a simple addition of wheat malt, pilsner malt and a little carapils. The beer is then fermented warm with an American ale yeast giving the beer a slight additional fruitiness.
I have been warned a few times to not call it a wheat beer. “You will confuse people” they say. But it is a wheat beer, just not like the wheat beers the people are used to. I suppose I’m making a point as well as making a beer.
The result is as I am fond of saying the perfect thing for washing the seawater from my throat after hauling in my crab pot. It goes pretty bloody well with the crab cakes too. Cheers

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