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Yeastie Boys to release innovative Spoonbender "wine beers"

Yeastie Boys to release innovative Spoonbender "wine beers"

Yeastie Boys, 12 June 2014

Leading brewing visionaries and beer activists, Wellington-based Yeastie Boys, this week announce the worldwide release of their “Spoonbender” collaborative series. The three Spoonbender beers, which have been brewed in collaboration with Australian winemakers Some Young Punks, use botrytised viognier in an innovative brewing process that sees the wine turned into candi-sugar before being refermented in the beer.

The creation of these unique ales, believed to be a world first, sees the Yeastie Boys continue the ground-breaking work that saw them awarded the Morton Coutts Trophy for Innovation in 2011 for their heavily-peated “whisky beer” Rex Attitude. They are also well known for their flagship beer – Gunnamatta, an Earl Grey IPA, which was awarded champion beer at the Great Australasian Beer SpecTapular 2012. Yeastie Boys' Creative Director, Stu McKinlay, discusses the background: "We garnered a reputation for experimental beer pretty early on, in regards to both the ales we brewed and the way we went about establishing our business, so we tend to attract the odd crazy idea from friends… the guys fromSome Young Punks certainly fit that bill and when we had breakfast with them, on the introduction of a mutual friend in Adelaide a couple of years ago, the ideas just started bouncing around. I walked away really buzzing but it took two years to actually bring the idea from concept to keg and bottle."

"The trickiest part of making these beers was convincing Customs to allow us to import the Punks’ wine excise-free" said Yeastie Boys' Directive Creator, Sam Possenniskie. "The process of creating the candi-sugar removes the alcohol from the wine, so we didn’t want to pay tax on booze that was never going to be consumed. It took close to a year between the initial enquiry to Customs and the sign-off of our exemption!" However, red tape was not the only curve ball thrown into the creation of these beers, as McKinlay elaborates: "The wine had changed so much, in the time between my original twenty litre trial and finally getting around to making them commercially, that I had to tweak my recipe ideas once the wine arrived in the country. We’re pretty happy with how things have turned out!"

The Spoonbender name, like many of Yeastie Boys creations, is bound to cause as much intrigue as the beers themselves. McKinlay explains: "It’s a play on ‘spooning’, which is our unique term for collaboration. We use the term to get across the fact that our collaborations tend to be a little more intimate than the usual. We collaborate with friends and family, rather than just another brewer that might give us some sort of street cred. ‘Spoonbender’ itself comes from an old family insult that my father used when anyone had any sort of off-the-wall idea... Uri Geller, the original spoonbender, was a popular topic in our household and brewers collaborating with winemakers seemed like a fitting example of this metaphorical bending of the spoon.” The names of the three individual beers (The Sly Persuader, The Sun Before the Darkness and The Last Dictator) are inspired by Crime & The City Solution’s 1990 album Paradise Discotheque.

All three Spoonbenders will be available for pre-release sampling at the Society of Beer Advocates Winter Ales Festival, Hunter Lounge, Victoria University, on Saturday 14th June. They will be released nationwide from 30th June, through Yeastie Boys’ exclusive distribution partner Federal Merchants, and available in Australia from August through Phoenix Beers.


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