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Tempest Brewing Co, Long White Cloud

Some of the best ideas take their time to come to fruition. Take Tempest Brewery for example. The initial idea was formed by a Scotsman (Gavin Meiklejohn) and Kiwi (Annika Meiklejohn) whilst they were working in a North American brewpub in the 1990s. Fast forward a few years and the pair found themselves with a substantial homebrew set up in their garage in Christchurch. It was there they start knocking out the sort of hop forward ales that would have been at the forefront of New Zealand’s then emerging craft beer scene.

It could all have stopped there. Well at least for us in Blighty. But thankfully something pulled Gavin and Annika back here in 2007. More specifically they settled in Kelso in the Scottish Borders.

Initially Gavin found himself working in the kitchen of the local pub they had bought. Turning it into what is now anaward wining gastropub. But as Gavin set about developing a menu based on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients he was disappointed by the selection of beer he could offer diners. He wanted some big, flavoursome beers. The sort of which they had grown accustomed to in New Zealand and North America. It was no good, he would just have to make his own (again). In 2010, having found a suitable location in an old dairy, the Tempest Brewery was formed.

Words such as “shoestring” and “character” come up a lot when the folks at Tempest describe the initial set-up. But this didn’t prevent them from making some standout brews which they quickly started selling to other local pubs as well as keeping the Cobble stocked with beers “at source”. Earlier this year the brewery relocated to significantly bigger premises with their own automated bottling line. Anyone who has manually labelled beers for more than half an hour will know what a boon this is.

The New Zealand influence is immediately evident across the range of beers offered by Tempest, as is Gavin’s chef leanings. Marmalade on Rye for example, is a bold, jammy beer. There is also a strong connection with their local surroundings. Golden Promise malts, grown throughout the area and milled in Berwick upon Tweed are used throughout the Tempest range. A nice touch.

This week’s beer is named after Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud. It’s a fab example of what an (extra) pale ale can be. Very light, refreshing and with a big whiff of juicy tropical fruit. Take a good sniff when you pour and then have a gob-full. Continuing the retro sweets theme of last week’s twitter tasting, it’s hard not to taste Opal Fruits. Or Starburst as they seem to be called nowadays.

And oh boy is this beer popular. After winning the Aldi stores Scottish Beer Festival it can now be found in all their stores across Scotland. Yep, Aldi. What is happening to the world.

Whilst we’re sure nobody would begrudge going to Aotearoa to hunt this beer down, thankfully none of us have to go that far to find Tempest beers. Phew.



Style: Extra Pale Ale

Ingredients: Golden Promise malts and South Islands hops

ABV: 5.6%

Bitterness: 35 IBU


Food pairings

This pale, this crisp, this refreshing. We’re saying a caesar salad.

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