In 4 years the guys at Garage Project have gone from a small brewer of 3 staff with a 50 litre brew kit to 20 staff that now uses a 2000 litre tank. Back in 2011, they referred to themselves as ‘a truly nano brewery’. Back then they had 9 years working in breweries and they have since created a massive following. We wonder if they could have imagined what would become of them and last year at the 2014 Society of Beer Advocates Awards (SOBA) they were named as the country’s best brewery.’ Set up in 2006, SOBA focuses on rewarding the best breweries and beer-related businesses.
The three guys behind Garage Project include Pete Gillespie who was working in breweries across the UK and Australia before 2011 and is the Head Brewer. Then there’s Jos Ruffell – a beer enthusiast, as described on their site; ‘any new beer on tap that’s worth trying and he’ll be there, you can count on it.’ And also Ian Gillespie who has had experience in setting up and running cafés and is Pete’s brother.
Those who were more into wine than beer (I’m speaking of myself) can’t help to be impressed with the artists’ creativity on the beer bottles and cans not to mention the beer itself. What was an old and unused petrol station and car workshop is now their head office with a cellar door. If you’re ever in Wellington, make sure you drop in – they have free tastings and offer a range of beers both to taste and buy. And of course there’s the other merchandise, posters, glassware and T-shirts and you can see the 50 litre kit in action. I’m tempted to go myself. The company has also set up a ‘Taproom’ up the road at number 91. Here they have 20 beers on taps and offer food here. Another innovative and different side of Garage Project is their use of cans since 2013 which are lighter, better for environment and can be recycled.
Swanny Cellars stock a wide range of beers from Garage Project, here’s a few to excite the palate that Jack has chosen:
5- Aro Noir, Stout
A blend of different roasted malts give this stout the rich burnt coffee and chocolate flavours, however, it is the addition of American hops that balances the roast characters with a citrus kick and a firm, lingering bitterness.
4-Bossa Nova, Fruit Beer
This ‘tropical fruit beer cocktail’ is made from a selection of different aromatic hops, a wild brettanomyces yeast strain and a selection of tropical fruit leaving us with a refreshing, tart and fruit sweet IPA that is perfect for a summer sunset on the beach.
3-Hops On Pointe, Champagne Pilsener
This very elegant collaboration with The Royal N.Z Ballet balances traditional German malts with tropical N.Z hops and is finished with Champagne yeast fermentation. The result is a super clean pale lager with a fine Champagne-like bead and lovely mouthfeel.
2-Death From Above, Pale Ale
The aim here was to reproduce the Indochine flavours of a Vietnamese chilli and mango salad. The brewers mixed the citrus character of American hops with mango, dried chilli, mint and lime juice to create a very interesting pale ale. So good with what else but Vietnamese food.
1-Cherry Bomb, Cherry Porter
Swanbourne Cellars number 1. Rich chocolatey porter infused with sour cherry creating one of the best dessert beers around. Served cold, the sour cherry flavours shine and as the glass warms, the cacao nibs take hold like a cherry being slowly engulfed by chocolate.