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Brewer to release champion tea beer

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Brewer to release champion tea beer

Wellington's Yeastie Boys' this week announced the nationwide release of their trophy winning "Gunnamatta" India Pale Ale.

The beer, which beat out 60 other breweries to be crowned "People's Choice" at Melbourne's Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular last month, is a "tea-leafed" India Pale Ale that has taken Australasia by storm over the last few weeks.

The creation of this unique beer, which uses Earl Grey Blue flower tea instead of hops, saw the Yeastie Boys work through a variety of potential teas and tisanes with Wellington based tea company t Leaf T before picking the particular blend that Gunnamatta uses.

Yeastie Boys Creative Director, Stu McKinlay, explains: "We went into developing Gunnamatta with quite a fixed idea, based around finding one of the robust single estate teas that we'd read about in the extensive menu, but the team at t Leaf T totally blew our mind with the options available. We ended up choosing Earl Grey Blue Flower for its pungent perfume of citrus and floral notes, knowing immediately that this would work brilliantly in the type of base beer we had in mind."

"In many ways, it takes the celebration of the development of India Pale Ale one step further than normal" said Yeastie Boys' Directive Creator, Sam Possenniskie.

"This kind of ale was shipped from England to India and, once emptied, those ships were filled with tea for the return journey. This beer also goes both ways." However, McKinlay has a different take on the beer.

"Sam sure does come up with some interesting intellectual text but, to get directly to the truth of the matter, I just got fed up with chocolate and coffee beers being the trend du jour and thought it was time to put tea into the limelight. I grew up in a tea drinking family, so it has always been my hot drink of choice. We had tea with breakfast, morning tea, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper and before bed. We'd even slip a few in between just for tea's sake. It was part tradition, part theatre - just like this beer is for us now!"

The Gunnamatta name, like many of Yeastie Boys creations, has caused some intrigue. McKinlay elaborates: "It's a beach break on the southern coast of Victoria's Mornington Peninsula and it inspired a Paul Kelly song of the same name on his 2004 album Ways and Means. As the beer was initially developed for an Australian based beer festival, we wanted it to be inspired by Australian music in some way. We took some wild conceptual rides before Gunnamatta's surf rock left us with a vision of surfing, good friends, a few beers and lots of cups of tea. Using tea in a beer was one of hundreds of ideas gestating in Stu's head, so the music just induced a pre-existing idea." The Yeastie Boys asked Paul Kelly if it was okay to mention his name in beer's story on the label and Kelly generously replied with the okay and a nice touch of editing. "As a long time fan, that was probably more exciting than wining the People's Choice," gushed an exuberant McKinlay "we've promised to send him some beer when it hits Australia's shores."

Despite numerous requests, from beer geeks and knitting groups, there are currently no plans to add the beer to Yeastie Boys' leftfield regular range. As Sam Possenniskie explains "We're quite sure it's popularity is linked to the transit of Venus. We'll brew enough to last us through to spring and then we'll think about releasing it again in 2117."

Gunnamatta will be available nationwide from 11th June, for several months, through Yeastie Boys' distributor BeerNZ Ltd. It will be available in Australia from early July through Innspire Pty Ltd.

The Yeastie Boys already have plans for the beer that will win them the People's Choice at the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular in 2013.

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