A West Auckland brewery has achieved the ultimate in recycling - turning stale ale into the country's first beer schnapps.
Back in March, on the cusp of the Covid-19 lockdown, Hallertau Brewery's trade customers had around 2000 litres of beer sitting in already opened kegs.
"Some of it was terrible, some of it was all right, but at the end of lockdown, we just swapped out everything for fresh beer," said head brewer Steve Plowman.
Kiwi ingenuity, combined with Bavarian tradition and otherwise unsaleable "ugly" or undersized fruit from Kumeu neighbours, Boric Orchards, led to the creation of two just released schnapps - Granny Smith apple and lemon.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Plowman says the limited edition liquor (around 100 bottles of each) would not have been produced without the shutdown.
"It definitely forces you to think outside of the normal area you operate in."
Plowman said "beirschnapps" was common in Bavaria, but he had not heard of any other New Zealand-made versions. Hallertau's 30 per cent alcohol product was made in the Thomson Whisky's spirit still located within the brewery's Riverhead operation.
"It retains some beer character, a peppery spiciness and a rounded out granny smith tang. We've been tweaking the lemon one, and it's starting to come pretty good. Kind of like limoncello, but less sweet - some of the hops come through a little bit. It's quite unusual."
The schnapps can be taken neat, or added as a "reinforcement" to another new brew, a low alcohol Berliner Weiss.