Beer #185 - Craftwork / Saison Zest

Beer #185 - W/C 10 September 2018

BREWERY // Is Craftwork the best brewery in New Zealand? Well, it is according to Untappd where is is the top rated brewery. Craftwork is also the favourite brewery of most NZ brewers (go on, ask the next one you see). Former teacher Lee-Ann Scotti & bookbinder Michael O'Brien started the brewery in the stone basement of Lee-Ann's Oamaru house in 2014 with a 50 litre system. Since then their brewery has doubled in size. Back in 1996 Michael inspired a young Richard Emerson to create an English bitter he named Bookbinder which heralded a new era for New Zealand beer. They brew the beers they like to drink, mainly Belgian styles - Farmhouse Ales, Belgian Strong Ales and all kinds of glorious barrel aged and  spontaneously fermented wonders. And the tiny 100L batches means they can afford to experiment. Until very recently, every beer was hand bottled, labelled and capped in the basement brewery. Due to demand, they have recently started brewing some of their beers at their friend's brewery in Wanaka, Rhyme & Reason, where they can create a whopping 1,200L of beer and they have discovered the wonders of a bottling machine. Michael & Lee-Ann are currently in Brussels where they are beginning their Belgian Beer Tour. You're too late to join but you can follow along with their trip on Facebook and live vicariously through them. 

BEER // Saison is an almost-impossible-to-define farmhouse ale which was traditionally brewed to slake the thirst of Wallonian farm labourers in the Middle Ages. They would drink around 5 litres of the relatively low abv beer per day. Saison Zest is a 21st Century interpretation of the style with big flavour, the addition of citrus zest and a deceptively high percentage. The recipe is very simple with pilsner & crystal malts, candi sugar and orange zest which is complimented by floral citrusy hops. The very light malt base allows the big aromatic zesty fresh citrus to really shine. Saisons are often defined by the yeast used and Lee-Ann & Michael tested several before deciding on a French Saison yeast that results in a beer with a dry finish and the perfect level on peppery spice. It won a gold medal at the Australian International Beer Awards so we can't be the only ones who enjoyed it.

See Michael & Lee-Ann talk about brewing Saison Zest in the video below.

BREWERY // Craftwork
BEER // Saison Zest
STYLE // Saison
ORIGIN // Oamaru / Wanaka

ABV // 7%
TEMPERATURE // Cellar Temperature. 8 - 12C
FOOD MATCH // Bouillabaisse. Shawarma. Roast Chicken. Ripe Camembert. Lemon Tart.
GLASS // Goblet. Wine Glass

Craftwork. Saison Zest from Beer Jerk on Vimeo.