Winning brew almost perfect

Mosgiel brewers Brett Houliston and Jimmy Henderson raise their prize-winning brew. PHOTO: LINDA...
Mosgiel brewers Brett Houliston and Jimmy Henderson raise their prize-winning brew. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Discovering their beer had received a near-perfect score was the cherry on top for a Mosgiel pair crowned New Zealand's best home brewers at the weekend.

Jimmy Henderson and Brett Houliston's sour cherry saison won champion beer at the Society of Beer Advocates National Homebrew Competition, beating 674 other entries.

The beer was created using Oamaru cherries.

Mr Henderson said he was surprised by the win.

"Brett and I couldn't believe it. It's the biggest home brew competition in New Zealand."

When they received the judging notes they saw the beer scored 49 out of 50.

"It was one of only about 30 to get gold. It's awesome."

Mr Henderson had been home brewing for about eight years and said the craft was mostly about experimentation.

"That's what home brewing is about, just trying new things, designing your own recipes, seeing what works and what doesn't."

The pair used small garage set-ups and generally created 23 litres to 30 litres at a time.

They preferred Belgian styles.

Only a few days after receiving the award they were back to the drawing board, cooking up new recipe ideas, Mr Henderson said.

Mr Houliston said he would like to think the beer they made was one of his better creations.

He had "had a crack" at the competition a few times, and came close to winning a few years ago.

His brew then was an imperial stout which used Brazilian tonka beans.

"I've used lots of spices and bits and pieces."

He was not expecting the win, he said.

Their system was "pretty collaborative" and they generally just worked it out as they went.

He still enjoyed brewing after doing it on and off for 15 years, but it "had its moments".

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