I was kindly invited to the New Zealand Craft Beer Collective’s London launch at Hop Burns & Black on Tuesday where I tasted beers from five Antipodean microbreweries that are making waves as well as crossing them. The collective comprises Tuatara, Three Boys, 8 Wired, Renaissance and Yeastie Boys, and as Richard Shirtcliffe from Tuatara explained, this collaborative approach with like-minded breweries makes sense when trying to make inroads into the export market. It’s also a welcome relief from lawsuits and the like as far as I’m concerned.
This was my first trip to Hop Burns & Black which opened last autumn and is the brain child of Kiwi natives Jen Ferguson and Glenn Williams. The name refers to the beer, hot sauces and vinyl sold at the store, and as a beer geek it was the expansive range of bottles and cans that got me most excited. There’s also a flagon fill from ever changing kegs (respect for eschewing the ubiquitous “growler”, guys), while I left with a bottle of the much sought after Jaipur X from Thornbridge. I’m aware that the consumption of alcohol on public transport is illegal in London, so I’m not in a position to confirm whether or not I also picked up a couple of train beers in the form of Modus Hoperandi cans…
As I arrived the place was already buzzing; it was stowed out with the great and the good from the beer-geek world happily mingling with the brewers, and the aforementioned Richard from Tuatara and Stu from the Yeastie Boys were palpably excited about their foray into the UK craft beer scene. Regarding the beer I was impressed by Tuatara’s APA: Aotearoa Pale Ale, 8 Wired’s Tall Poppy (which brought to mind Five Point’s Hook Island Red) and Yeastie Boy’s Pot Kettle Black, while 8 Wired’s gloriously refreshing Saison Sauvin was the stand out. And a special mention must go to Jen and Glenn’s friend Kate Crawford and her awesome canapés – I’m not sure if she makes a living from food but if not she should definitely consider a career change.
I’m not one for online beer orders as a rule as there’s a plethora of great bottle shops in London. But the opening of Hop Burns & Black has raised the bar, and I’ll be back for a fix of Kiwi beer soon.
The New Zealand Craft Beer Collective will be at Craft Beer Rising all weekend.