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Beervana Media Brew: Jelly AnTipodean Raspberry Vanilla Chocolate Stout Launch

Forget new-fangled flags. The people have spoken. And they want - nay, insist - on new-fangled, flag-inspired beers.

Thankfully for them, our Beervana Media Brew flag-inspired beer, Jelly AnTipodean, answered their call (unlike indulgent PMs with pre-determined flag design options) winning the Media Brew People's Choice, and selling out at Beervana last August.

The "one solitary 50 litre keg in the existence of humankind" is going on tap at Fork & Brewer this week.

The 6.7% Raspberry Vanilla Chocolate Stout was a "CollaboNation" between Kelly and his old school chum/TV3 Political Editor, Patrick Gower, and inspired by the Jelly Tip chocolate and bikkies that everyone was going nuts over a couple of months back.  

The two were hellbent on making a "Beer for the Nation" (artfully scribbling down a couple of new flag designs to throw John Key's way, whilst they were at it).

"Patrick had been on to me about making a Beervana Media Brew for years," says Kelly.

"Now that Beervana were branching out, and getting all sorts of journos and politicians in on the mix, outside of the usual line-up of beer and food writers, we had our opportunity. Taking people who have an appreciation for - but don’t necessarily know too much about - beer and getting them excited and upskilling them about craft is a really cool move by Beervana."

Kelly says it took no persuading whatsoever to get Paddy Gower to throw a pair of brewers overalls on over his suit, and set about mashing in.

"We were trying to capture an ice cream in a beer. It could've gone a wee bit weird, but, luckily, there’s a beer style called a milk stout or a sweet stout that's been around for a while," he says.

"Brewers would use lactose to fortify the beer, and the good thing about lactose is that it's got a lot of mouth feel and lends a rich, full body to the beer with a little bit of sweetness."

Kel used an organic vanilla extract to give that hint of vanilla ice cream.

"You've got to be really careful because vanilla can overpower the bitterness or might come out too sweet. But when you put vanilla into a beer that has roast chocolate malts in it, it actually accentuates that chocolate flavour in the same way that vanilla in baking boosts chocolate."

And he really didn't want to compromise on the most important ingredient: chocolate.

"If you start playing around with chocolate essences it can taste a bit fake, so it was a matter of using top quality Dominican cacao nibs from the Welly Chocolate Factory.

"The nibs are quite low in acidity, and that's quite important because generally raspberries are quite tart, no matter what form they're in. Plus, the beer has a bit of acidity, so if you have cacao nibs that have a low acidity; it'll be a good combo - balancing sourness and sweetness."

The cacao nibs were steeped in the finished beer for about two days. ("Too long and you get a woody astringency - you just want to extract that chocolate out of it really quick.")

Finally, Kel used Kapiti Kitchen's Raspberry cordial, which is a 28% raspberry extract cordial; and some other secret raspberry infusions to get that confectioners raspberry flavour that you get in a Jelly Tip.

"The raspberry was added just to flavour, really; just to get that little hint. You know how you get that in a Jelly Tip? You only get that bit on the top, so it was about getting just an impression of raspberry.

"I didn’t want it to taste like hard out raspberry chocolate, I also wanted it to taste like beer!"

And not unlike the flag debate, there was plenty of smack talk. Paddy publicly threw down the gauntlet to fellow colleague, TV3 Newsworthy reporter, Ben Irwin, who was paired with Beer Baroness, Ava Wilson, to create a brew made with healthy doses of whitebait.

Their Whitebait Beer was an impressive and noble effort, with a second placing in the Media Brew People's Choice…. However, the voice of the people was heard, and Jelly Antipodean took it out to become a Beer For the Nation.

But really, at the end of the day, t'was democratic process that was the winner.

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