A respected beer brewer has described the terrifying moment a boiling batch of "in your face" ale squirted over him and a fellow worker, leaving them scolding and scrambling for their lives.

Andrew Childs and Jason Bathgate were brewing India pale ale for Mr Child's Behemoth Brewing Company label when the too much pressure built up in a kettle and molten liquid escaped when a foot-wide manway was opened to add hops.

The "freak accident" happened at 8 Wired Brewing Company in north Auckland and staff there quickly doused the pair in water.

They were rushed by helicopter to the burns unit at Middlemore Hospital, where they remain two weeks later.

"It's a freak accident. It just exploded out at us and we just had to try and jump off a two-metre brewing platform and scramble for our lives," said Andrew Childs. Photo / Supplied

Mr Childs suffered burns to 40 per cent of his body, including his shoulders, down his back and his arms.

Mr Bathgate's burns covered 30 per cent of his body and some were deep.

Speaking for the first time about his ordeal, the 6-foot-5, 120 kilogram Mr Childs has not lost the sense of humour apparent in the naming of his beer.

"I s#$t you not, we did not change the name of the beer responsible, it's called 'in your face'.

"Since we did get burned in the face, we took it a little bit literally.

"What's left of the batch is set for public release in a fortnight.

"The rest got spilt on us," Mr Childs said.

"It's a freak accident. It just exploded out at us and we just had to try and jump off a two-metre brewing platform and scramble for our lives," he said.


"We ran and somehow we jumped off the platform and didn't break bones and then we just scrambled. It was chasing us."

Covered in hot sugary water, the pair wriggled free of their clothes.

Staff at 8 Wired hosed them down and called emergency services.

"We were conscious the whole time. The ambulance guys gave us some drugs. We were pretty much going into shock. It's the most pain I could ever imagine. I could see the skin peeling off my hands."

Mr Childs and Mr Bathgate were rushed to a landing site, where the Westpac Rescue Helicopter picked them up.

Mr Childs praised the efforts of 8 Wired staff and St John paramedics.

"They just did an amazing job, all of those guys. Who knows, we could have gone into shock and we would have been done for."

Since then Mr Childs said he'd had great support from brewers around New Zealand and around the world.

Mr Childs is up and about and is able to do some exercise, including spells on a treadmill and even a few squats and lunges.

He's using his hands again and luckily his dominant right hand is now functional.

He doesn't feel much pain because of the drugs he's taking, although sometimes his wounds ache.

Soon after he arrived he underwent an operation to "scrape off" the damaged flesh and he faces a second operation tomorrow, which will determine if he needs skin grafts.

Mr Childs suffered some burning to his face, resulting in a noticeable change to his skin.

"Apparently I look like a little boy."

He's been into see Mr Bathgate, an 8 Wired employee, who remains hooked up to tubes and in bed.

"I'm relatively mobile, compared to Jason. He's having it a bit rough at the moment."

A qualified lawyer, Mr Childs, 30, moved from Wellington to Auckland to start his brewing company three years ago.

At last year's Brewers Guild of New Zealand awards, Behemoth earned a gold for its Murica! American pale ale.

8 Wired owners Monique and Soren Eriksen wrote on their brewer's Facebook page there was no indication of equipment failure or human error.

"We are still not entirely sure what happened at the brewery and may never fully know."

The Eriksens said they'd made some changes so the same thing doesn't happen again.

"Beer is good, but certainly not risking our lives for," they wrote.

"Be safe and send lot's of positive thoughts to the boys at the hospital."

WorkSafe NZ confirmed it's investigating the incident.