At The Occasional Brewer you can brew your own beer, with professional equipment and advice at hand. You get all the ingredients and the only thing you need to provide is the bottles. Making a mess isn’t an issue either. Just finish your brew, leave, and come back in a couple of weeks to bottle up.
It costs $149 for a 35-40 litre batch, which seems like good value at $4 a litre, but of course there’s an element of risk when it’s you and not professionals concocting. As a keen home brewer, always ready to pick up some tips, I headed on down with the brother in law to see exactly what was on offer. And the verdict is it’s well worth the punt but I’d advise the following:
1. Have a couple of pints while you brew. How can you appreciate the process without drinking? Conveniently, Crafters and Co is right next door with a good range of beers. Their pies are good too.
There’s a lot of hanging around when you’re brewing, so plenty of opportunity for this.
2. Read the instructions properly. The staff are stretched with up to 6 brews on the go, so the written instructions are there to help. Don’t forego the drinking to retain a clear head though- that is not in the spirit of things.
3. Pay good attention to cleanliness and sanitation. Our laconic gumbooted host really knew his stuff, but sanitation wasn’t top of the agenda. It’s worth spending a bit of extra time on this because if you end up with a contaminated batch- it’s your fault! If you’re worried about sanitation at any point, pop next door and have a pint, before regrouping.
4. Stand your ground. The six brew stations are quite close together in a smallish room so you may need to jostle for space. If you can get one of the end stations, you’ll have an advantage, especially the one by the exit incase you have to make a quick dash to the bar.
Overall The Occasional Brewer certainly gets the kiwibeers.com thumbs up. It’s not a state-of-the-art commercial set up. Rather the sort of 3 tier system a home brewer might aspire to to shift from the kitchen to the shed, doubling the batch size and slicing an hour or so off the brew time.
The proof is in the pudding and it didn’t disappoint. We brewed a London Porter and 4 weeks after bottling it’s tasting excellent, with some complexity, the chocolate creaminess you’d expect and a nice dry finish.
Cheers Occasional Brewer! We’ll be back.
The Occasional Brewer
211 Victoria St
04 384 8268