Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Brewing Up a Storm

Queenstown success story Canyon Brewing is continuing to forge new pathways in the production of their award-winning beers in an increasingly diverse craft beer market.

Over the past two years the company has invested in planting and harvesting its own grains locally, recently opening a new commercial brewery in the Cardrona Valley.

“We believe we are one of, if not the first brewery in the country to grow our own grain, which we are really proud of,” says director Jimmy Nicholson. “We’ve been looking for new ways to reduce our carbon footprint with a key brewing ingredient barley accounting for an estimated 33-39 per cent of our total emissions. After some digging we realised around 60 per cent of malt’s embedded carbon emissions come from the industrial farming of barley which is focused on volume and yield.”

“Luckily fellow director and lifelong local farmer James Paterson is an expert in growing grain and in November 2021 we planted our first fields of barley. In March 2022 we harvested and malted our first crop of 20 tonnes of Queenstown grown barley which is enough grain to last us a year’s worth of brews.”

Innovation and sustainability are two key pillars incorporated into every level of their craft beer production and hospitality operations. 

“By implementing small changes in the farming process to focus on the quality and health of the grain, as opposed to the maximum yield, we have the ability to improve the flavour and consistency of our beer, and most importantly reduce our carbon footprint by an estimated 7-14 per cent,” says Jimmy.

The results speak for themselves with of the 20 tonnes of barley grown being used to craft Canyon Brewing’s new summer brew Canyon Gold.

“Canyon Gold is brewed from our first two fields of Queenstown barley along with some hops grown just down the road in Garston. It’s a classic German style Helles Lager with a citrusy modern Kiwi twist and a real showcase of Central Otago terroir.”

Summertime Brews

With an assortment of award-winning craft beer and ciders to their name, creativity is at the heart of the Canyon Brewing operation. 

A collaboration with Wānaka’s Mexican restaurant Paloma has resulted in a distinctive new craft beer being launched for summer.

“Paloma Dry is a refreshing drop utilising our home-grown Pilsner malt, Canterbury corn, Motueka hops, lime, grapefruit and chilli,” says head brewer Kit Clinton-Baker.

“It’s a Mexican style beer that delivers on all levels – crisp, clean and citrusy with just a hint of spice. We are super excited to offer this collaborative beer at both Canyon Brewing restaurant and at Paloma  restaurant all summer long.”

Kit says their new Cardrona Valley brewery has already experimented with  range of brewing techniques.

“We decided the best way to test the capabilities of our new commercial brewery was to push it to its limits. We brewed 12 beers simultaneously over six weeks allowing our brewers to run wild and create whatever styles they wanted.”

“The results are an explosion of different flavours with everything from new hop varieties to funky new styles as well as modern takes on some classics.”