Finding your perfect beer can be a challenge, one where taste is not just a matter of flavour. Everyone has an opinion on what you should (or shouldn’t) like and there are just so many choices in the market today.
So to help you out, we’ve gone straight to the source – in this case, Mark Jackson the owner of Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen. Mark was kind enough to allow us time with his award winning brewer and Brew Wizard, Rory Main.
Read on to find out exactly why they think their beers are better than the rest and get a heads-up on which of these brews is likely to be your perfect match.
So Rory what got you into the brewing?
I got into the industry because it was a better job than the lab job I already had, so that was more of a coincidence. At the time, I was at the stage of my life, where I was moving away from drinking 20 beers a night into drinking beer for the actual taste of it. Mark Jackson Owner Rory Main Brewer I got more interested in the process and how people made different styles and that’s what made me want to do actual brewing.
Working with DB was good for what it taught me. It teaches you how to be very particular about certain things but at the same time it wasn’t my recipes, it was the computer doing the work, and the operator I worked with would do the manual work. I never felt like I did the brewing. That’s why I wanted to get into a situation like this where I create the recipes, turn the valves myself and do it all by hand.
Before you pitch your beers to us, what are your goals with beer brewing?
I want to make beers that people take pleasure from. The craft beer industry is full of snobs and wankers who judge people for the beer they like. Considering that buying a pint in a bar is a considerable part of your fun money every week, I don’t believe anyone should be able to judge someone else on the beer that they like. I want to create beers that people fall in love with. Winning awards are great but my customers are the critics I care about.
Our APA is like a good APA should be, hop forward, with piney, citrus flavours. At 6% it’s stronger than what most people would be drinking on a Saturday night. But we have made it smooth and very drinkable. Our philosophy with our APA and with all our beers in fact are that they need to be as smooth and drinkable as possible and you should never be like “wow that was intense”.
Most of our New Zealand mainstream beers are a variation of lager. What we have done, is to try to be different and make a unique style lager. One with flavour, from both the yeast and the malt we use.
It’s darker with a golden orange hue to it. It has a tiny bit of sweetness and bread flavour that comes through, but it’s almost malty too. It’s not a big, hoppy beer, it’s not bitter, it’s something that a person who doesn’t like those styles of beers can still drink and still offers them something that you would not get from supermarkets.
Our Session Ale is like a baby IPA at 3.5%. We use up to 6 different malts to ensure the beer has as much body as possible while remaining at a lower alcohol level.
It also produces a layer of complexity to the beer, which will give you more enjoyment out of the beer. My intention is for people not to think this is a really good low alcohol beer, but a good beer period.
Our focus has always been that the customer should never feel like they have compromised by ordering the low alcohol option.
Many New Zealand craft beers, especially Pilsener’s are incredibly hoppy.
I wanted to take a different route and make a Pilsener that every New Zealand bloke could enjoy. Our Pilsener is a much easier alternative to try. So if you had bad luck initially with craft beer that you tried, or if this is the first time that you wanted to give craft beer a go, this Pilsener is what I would recommend.
With the New Zealand grown Motueka hop, it has a citrusy almost lemony sort of feel, which goes down beautifully.
Our Sweat Shop Brew IPA is maltier than most other IPA’s you can find in New Zealand. It has hints of passion fruit, toffee, caramel and roasted barley.
When you do have a bit of malt bitter coming through, it makes that bitter a bit more balanced as well.
So that’s why I prefer this style that we have gone for, plus its a point of difference, when other brewers mainly have a very, very pale, very, very hoppy IPA , a maltier option sets us apart.