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Crafted by experts and made with 100% enthusiasm. Our Master Brewer has perfected a range of 4 beers, cider, and our World Famous (on Waiheke) non-alcoholic ginger beer. All available on tap or to take away. Our beer is small batch brewed on site to keep it fresh and interesting - it's true Waiheke beer. It's also unpasteurised so it needs to be kept in the fridge, however an added bonus as it retains that fresh flavour.
Ours certainly ain't no shiny new brewery - it's over 25 years old and lives in a good old kiwi shed out back. Never the less she's a stubborn beast who just keeps on brewing (mostly) and is ideal for passionately creating our crafty ales.
Did you know we're one of the oldest craft breweries in New Zealand. And that's no mean feat - not many are still around from the 80's and 90's, before the craft beer boom began. Built in NZ back in the 1980’s (how retro) she began life in a Tauranga brewpub. Sadly, craft beer wasn’t as popular back then, but we're pleased to say she's getting plenty of brewing these days out the back of Wild on Waiheke since 1998. It's what we like to call a "Microscopic" Brewery - we brew 600 & 1200 litres per bach.....large breweries brew more in a morning than we do all year! But hey, at least you know it's small batch brewed, made fresh and with enormous amount of passion and enthusiasm!
Our first obstacle brewing on an island was no reticulated water supply or sewers. So we used good old 'Kiwi Inginuity' to develop ways to make beer with 1/3 less water, and installed tanks to hold brewery waste (hops, yeast and sanitising chemicals). We can now proudly claim to be about as clean and green as it’s possible for a brewery! Add to that we sell 90% of our beer on site, and have some of the longest beer lines in NZ - they go straight from the finishing tanks....under the carpark out back and straight to the taps - cold & fresh just for you!
Waiheke Island brewery's situated at Wild on Waiheke, and is under the control of noted microbrewery veteran Alan Knight. Alan first came to Waiheke to start the brewery up in 1997, took a break in 2000 then returned in 2007. Considered eccentric, even by Waiheke standards, Alan lives a secretive existence behind the forbidding walls of his armed compound in Ostend. He is given to late nights, loudly opinionated journalistic rampages, kilt wearing, folk singing, gunfire, large scale home brewing operations and amateur theatricals.
We'd hoped to get him to give us a description of his career and brewing philosophy for the website but have been unsuccessful to date. Our repeated requests on the odd times he actually shows up at the brewery to carry out his arcane and mystifying duties are met with either outright refusal or vague assurances that he will ‘Jot something down when he gets a moment’. Fair to say he's still....jotting.....
But huge hats off to Alan - working with a brewery over 2 decades old, its fair to say she's an 'absolute classic'. Though both are old and tough, they work beautifully together but he confides that she can certainly be temperamental! Alan treats her the same way you’d look after a vintage car - just listen to the pumps, watches for leaks and even gets right inside the vessels from time to time just to keep an eye on things. He knows every last component she can and can’t do. I'm sure he's worked on far flasher breweries over the years, but his relationship with this one is something quite special!
Occasionally we let our brewer loose to make smaller, crazy or more interesting brews for our revolving Tap 7. These change regularly so you never know what you'll get! Check out these cheeky chappies - Alan Knight (brewer) with Simon Matthews (owner) getting a liiiittle too excited over the fresh hops delivery, don't ya think?
Anzac Biscuit Ale - beer & biscuits, a match made in heaven!
Wasabi Lager, the beer with a bite! - BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!!!
Pink n Perky - Raspberry wheat beer!
Every now and then we like to invite guests to put their money where their mouth is, don their gummies, and muck in at our crafty lil Brewery. It's intriguing to see what they come up with!
Guest in Gumboots introduces brewer Chris Walker, a stalwart of the Wai heke airwaves doin' the brewin'. Chris suggested a Kumera Porter in time for Winter and we thought that sounded good. So, a month or so back, Chris spent the day working on the small system to make this creamy, nutty dark beer. The mash involved 10% dry roasted kumera, cooked very slowly and then blended into hot water. These sweet spuds bring a lot of fermentable goodness to a beer so the finished product weighs in at 5.5% ABV. Winter is a soft and gentle time here on Waiheke Island. There's the odd frost and a bit of rain but no one ever has to dig their car out of a snowdrift. The season is marked by the appearance of the Pleiades constellation in the skies which seemed like a good name for the beer. Pleiades Porter is on tap at Wild on Waiheke from today. And yes, we are serving it on nitro pour for extra creaminess!
Did you know that 90% of our beer's sold on site to the thirsty people frequenting Wild on Waiheke. Whilst we're so boutique and don't have the manpower to get out and sell this fine stuff, we do however have loads of lovely stockists who've twisted our arms and are bringing it closer to you.... Just remember it needs to be kept cold, so put in straight in the fridge! It'll last up to 6 months in the fridge (although for some reason never has in mine...)
As a true microbrewery, and being on an island, it comes with all sorts of complexities, including added freight costs, creating our unique brewing methods, and the fact we want make good, honest brews made right on Waiheke Island. Therefore we mostly keep it to ourselves, and you can enjoy our brews where they taste best, freshly served tank to tap, or at a local venue in which we deliver small amounts often to ensure they're fresh. Of course, now and again people beg us to list our beer at their venue, so here's a handful that managed to twist our arms.....
Our most popular beer by far - we like to think this beer is 'sessionable' whilst chilling out on our beanbags! A Cologne Style Kolsh Pale Ale, Baroona was our brewery’s first product in 1998. We're proud to say it was the first beer in NZ to feature the famous Saaz B (Motueka) hops which gives this beer its distinctive grapefruit peel aroma and floral, citrus character. Baroona's brewed from 90% pilsner malt and 10% malted wheat, and it's top fermented with a touch of dry hopping to intensify flavours. 4.7% ABV
Waiheke Island's very own version of an IPA! Our way of bringing you something a little larger than your average brew. Our Dark Ale gives you MALT..... Wheat Beer gives you YEAST. Baroona gives you HOPS.... And the IPA, well it gives you LOTS AND LOTS OF EVERYTHING! Oh, and did we mention it weighs in at 7.2% alcohol?
Part of this beer’s appeal lies in the way it evolves. Wine drinkers appreciate changing vintages, and so IPA does something similar for the true Beer Hunter. But, this much we can say with certainty; Island IPA is the after dinner beer. The beer you want with strong cheese or a rich dessert.
Ahhhh Wheat Beer! Lovely, lovely Wheat Beer. No Summer’s day is complete without it. Cold, cloudy, light, fragrant, foamy, crisp yet rounded. We could drink pint after pint of it and often do.
Bavarian style made from malted wheat and pale malted barley. Wheat has it’s own particular character - dry, grainy and complex. It can be tricky to make as wheat has no husk like barley, and tends to be slow in the lauter tun. Known as ‘Hefe Weizen’, it's pale, unfiltered and very lightly hopped. Yeast used is a particular strain that contributes unique aromas of cloves, banana and even that rather alarming pink bubble gum that anyone over forty might remember from their childhood.
It's the minimalist of beer and the key note to making it is restraint! Now imagine the scene….it’s a hot day in February. The suns a shining and the beanbags are filling nicely with thirsty people. But none as thirsty as you. You’ve done a big walk, perhaps been out fishing or mowing the lawn. So you do the sensible thing and ask for a Wheat . It arrives in a glass already frosted with condensation. It's foamy head looks enticing and there's a fresh slice of lemon to bring out the flavour - You NEED this beer. Ah yes... Cold and refreshing, light, yet somehow rich as well. How did it take so long for New Zealand to discover this beer? On a hot Summer day this is indeed the perfect beer. You dwell on this for a moment and then realise that you have somehow managed to finish your glass without even realising. Don’t worry. Wheat Beer has that effect on you and we have plenty more where that one came from. And that, my friends, is what it’s like to drink Wheat Beer.
Original Porters were hugely popular in London in the 1720’s and breweries vied to build bigger and bigger brewing vessels (aka ‘Tuns’) to meet the demand for this dark and tasty ale. It eventually lost ground in the 19th century to the newly popular India Pale Ales and only the Irish kept it going in the form of Irish Stout. Rich and creamy, yet surprisingly light and thirst quenching. Our Dark Ale is based on the classic Porter style and uses a blend of eight different grades of malted barley for colour, body and flavour. The hopping is stronger than most dark beers with NZ grown Styrian Goldings used for bitterness and aroma. The soft chocolate notes of the dark roasted malt are the perfect balance for the hops, with their rich, fruit cake and marzipan flavour.
Then Waiheke begun producing oysters at Te Matuku Bay. These were of an amazing quality. If you haven’t tried them then I urge you to do so right away. In fact, why are you sitting reading stuff on the internet when there are Te Matuku oysters to be tried? Go and try them now. I’ll wait here until you get back... Right, so, with fine oysters available, the perfect beer was needed to accompany them. No beer sets off the delicate salty flavour of a fresh oyster like a good Porter - and now we'd found our perfect oyster beer.
Beer food matching is some of the most enjoyable ‘work’ we've ever attempted (tough job, but hey, someone's gotta do it). Try this for yourself... Take a pint of Dark Ale.... slide in a freshly shucked oyster. Now take your time. Slowly the oyster gives up it’s spirit to the beer while the beer gives it’s spirit to your oyster. Finally salute to your 'Drunken Oyster' and say "Get your swimming trunks on ye little bastard' and bottoms up!
While our main business is beer, we had a spare bright tank that wasn’t doing much, and what with Wild on Waiheke being such a family sort of place we thought that a decent soft drink might be just the thing. So we did some experimenting with ginger, lemons, honey & sugar. We made a bit of noise and a big mess and came up with some fizzy stuff that was just about perfect. But it needed work....So we made even more noise and an even bigger mess and tried NOT heating the ginger first and suddenly it all clicked into place. Waiheke Island’s own real Ginger Beer!
Perfect for youngsters, designated drivers and for settling queasy stomachs of chaps who overindulged the night before. Our Ginger Beer's made from 100% fresh ingredients, and isn't pasturised or mucked about with in any way. We feed huge amounts of ginger through a juicer along with quite a few lemons, mix it all up with raw sugar and honey and give it heaps of fizz. Although we put some into flagons, we serve it on tap just like our beers. So you can drink as much as you like and be safe to drive. Though you may burp quite loudly.
In part one of the interview, we learn how Alan developed his beer menu to complement the locale, and the unexpected beer style that Kiwis favour. Later we learn about Wild On Waiheke, where the brewery is situated.
Alan discusses how he operates a commercial brewery on an island without a reticulated water supply and sewage system, characteristics of New Zealand hops, and how he overcame the risk for spoilage from surrounding vineyards.