AUKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Collaborations are alive and well down under, as New Zealand brewer Luke Nicholas of Epic Beer has created a beer with the help of 43 other breweries.
Mash Up is the newest collaboration beer to hit the market, and while the idea of collaborations is certainly not new, this is a refreshing approach.
“At each brewery we explained the concept of the brew, that we wanted to not only capture on film but also in a beer the essence and passion of craft beer in New Zealand,” said Nicholas. “We asked each brewer what was unique about what and how they brewed, discussed their background, influences, and asked them if there was something they thought would be special to add to the brew.”
In total, 44 breweries had a part in the brew – the idea for which originally spawned from an episode Nicholas was involved with on the Discovery Channel’s ‘Brew Masters’ series, which showcased the craft brewing world through the efforts of Sam Calagione and Dogfish Head.
“It was that in combination with the filming of another brewing experience with Everards & JD Wetherspoon a year earlier,” he said. “I realized what people wanted to see about breweries, and the stories that needed to be told and shared with the world about breweries in New Zealand.”
Nicholas chronicled the adventure as part of a series under the same name ‘Mash Up.’ Episodes can be seen on the NZ Craft Beer TV youtube page, and will be released periodically as the brew starts to hit the marketplace.
Nicholas and fellow Kiwi-brewer, Kelly Ryan, spent 17 days touring New Zealand, spending at least two hours at every brewery they visited and covered about 2,800 miles
“It was heaps of fun, very tiring, but totally worthwhile,” said Nicholas.
The resulting beer, Mash Up, is a New Zealand Pale Ale at 6.0% ABV that is an ode to the deliciously refreshing New Zealand hops. It uses a blend of Kiwi and British malt and is touted as being the world’s largest ever collaboration beer.
Mash Up will be available in New Zealand in one week while a handful of kegs and bottles will be making their way to Australia in three weeks. Nicholas hopes that the Shelton Brothers, their importer in the U.S., will also get their hands on the brew.
As for future collaborations, Nicholas said he isn’t rushing in to anything.
“I think there will be more collaborations in the future, but only when they feel right,” he said.