I would like to argue that the latest release from the Renaissance Brewery in Blenheim has the most unusual name in recent beer history.  Google backs me up on this seemingly audacious claim.  A Google search for this beer’s name results in less than 25 unique hits.  Amazingly, every single one of them is about the Renaissance beer in question. 

The beer is Renaissance Funkelryesen (5%).  It is a spiced rye beer brewed specifically for the Marchfest Beer Festival in Nelson.  Funkelryesen was one of ten new beers created by local breweries for the event and certainly one of the more unusual. 

Producing a new beer is always a bit of a challenge for a brewer but in this case the challenge was even larger than usual.  You see, Renaissance brewer Andy Deuchars had never made a rye beer before.  Renaissance brewer Andy Deuchars had never made a spiced beer before.  For Funkelryesen, he had to learn to do both at the same time.

Rye is notoriously difficult to brew with and most breweries shy away from using it.  The exception is the boutique Kaimai brewery – their entire range is composed of rye beers.  Renaissance director Brian Thiel explained they used oat husks and oatmeal in the mash.  If I understood his explanation correctly, the betaglutens in the husks helped the mash stick together which resulted in a surprisingly easy sparge. ***  So, that was the rye part of the equation taken care of.

In terms of spices, star anise, caraway seeds and cinnamon were added.  Four New Zealand hops (including Southern Cross) also went in but they play a very background role in this brew. 

Salient beer writer David Wood tried it at Marchfest and wrote “the result is a crisp golden ale with a prominent licorice flavour with herbaceous undertones.”  One Twitter aficionado identified a “hint of spicy mee goring.”  Brian himself says “we are very happy with the way the style has turned out.” 

Renaissance Funkelryesen is on tap now until it runs out.

Belated congratulations to our friends at Tuatara Brewery for being named as a finalist in the Wellington Gold Awards.  They were so thrilled they even did a post about it on their increasingly active blog.  Here is some of what they had to say:

“Way back in January, Tuatara Brewing Company decided to put aside our traditional Kiwi modesty and enter the Wellington Gold Awards.

These awards, now in their twelfth year, “seek those businesses, both large and small, that keep Wellington sparkling.” The snazzy website is not exaggerating – the list of previous winners does indeed resemble a “who’s who” of Wellington business, which made it all the more humbling to be recently named as a finalist.

We are one of five finalists in the Emerging Gold category – “Illuminating smaller enterprises which are shining beyond their size.” Now, we are a pretty shiny little company but we are up against some very tough competition.

The actual winners of the various Gold Awards will be announced at a black tie dinner on May 19. The biggest hurdle for the Tuatara crew may just turn out to be the formal dress code. Still, it is a great chance to continue to lift our profile and introduce our beers to more movers and shakers in Wellington business.”

The emerging category is limited to companies which employ ten or fewer people (Tuatara has a modest six) and Malthouse wishes them all the best for the big night!

* A hoppy Belgian Brown Ale – on tap now
** An insane, wild yeast infused beast – in 750ml bottles now

*** Any technical errors in this sentence are solely the fault of the author taking notes on the back of a beer tasting menu


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


Yeastie Boys Return to Magenta – http://www.yeastieboys.co.nz/return-to-magenta-201/
Hallertau La Stuntman – http://www.hallertau.co.nz/ 
Renaissance Brewery – http://www.renaissancebrewing.co.nz/ 
Marchfest – http://www.marchfest.com/ 
David Wood – http://www.salient.org.nz/author/dave
Gold Awards – http://www.goldawards.co.nz/Home
Tuatara Blog: Hint of Gold – http://tuatarabeers.blogspot.com/2010/04/hint-of-gold-for-tuatara.html
Malthouse on Twitter – http://twitter.com/malthouse
Malthouse Facebook Group – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wellington/Malthouse/7084276173
Real Beer – http://www.realbeer.co.nz/blog/blog.html
Beer and Brewer Magazine – http://www.beerandbrewer.com/