Wellington-based Yeastie Boys have release their “Spoonbender” collaborative series. The three Spoonbender beers, which have been brewed in collaboration with Australian winemakers Some Young Punks, use botrytised viognier in an innovative brewing process that sees the wine turned into candi-sugar before being refermented in the beer.
The creation of these unique ales, believed to be a world first, sees the Yeastie Boys continue the ground-breaking work that saw them awarded the Morton Coutts Trophy for Innovation in 2011 for their heavily-peated “whisky beer” Rex Attitude. They are also well known for their flagship beer – Gunnamatta, an Earl Grey IPA, which was awarded champion beer at the Great Australasian Beer SpecTapular 2012. Yeastie Boys’ Creative Director, Stu McKinlay, discusses the background: “We garnered a reputation for experimental beer pretty early on, in regards to both the ales we brewed and the way we went about establishing our business, so we tend to attract the odd crazy idea from friends… the guys from Some Young Punks certainly fit that bill and when we had breakfast with them, on the introduction of a mutual friend in Adelaide a couple of years ago, the ideas just started bouncing around. I walked away really buzzing but it took two years to actually bring the idea from concept to keg and bottle.”
“The trickiest part of making these beers was convincing Customs to allow us to import the Punks’ wine excise-free” said Yeastie Boys’ Directive Creator, Sam Possenniskie. “The process of creating the candi-sugar removes the alcohol from the wine, so we didn’t want to pay tax on booze that was never going to be consumed. It took close to a year between the initial enquiry to Customs and the sign-off of our exemption!” However, red tape was not the only curve ball thrown into the creation of these beers, as McKinlay elaborates: “The wine had changed so much, in the time between my original twenty litre trial and finally getting around to making them commercially, that I had to tweak my recipe ideas once the wine arrived in the country. We’re pretty happy with how things have turned out!”
About the Spoonbender beers:
The Sun Before The Darkness (10% Alc/Vol, 50 IBU, 9 SRM)
A new world Tripel with a bouquet of citrus blossom, ripe peach and mango flavours, a silky mouthfeel and a warming, herbaceous spicy finish. Drink now or cellar for up to five years.
The Last Dictator (10% Alc/Vol, 72 IBU, 57 SRM)
An Imperial Porter with an enticing musky aroma, rich warming fruitcake and chocolate flavours, a luscious mouthfeel and a lengthy bittersweet finish. Drink now or cellar for up to five years.
The Sly Persuader (6% Alc/Vol, 20 IBU, 5 SRM)
An extra pale Blond Ale throwing up a beguiling floral aroma, orange and apricot flavours, and a hint of clove in the dry finish. Drink now or cellar for up to two years.