Of all the sabbaticals you could embark on, flying halfway round the world to New Zealand to work on crafting a new beer range surely has to be one of the most desirable. And that’s the precise task assigned to US brewmaster Brian “Spike” Buckowski thanks to a campaign run by Barnes, Catmur & Friends for Boundary Road Brewery. Utilising brewing sites around the world, the agency put the call out for a genius brewer, with a skill set that sits somewhere between genius and God-like, to “come down and do his stuff”. And Buckowski, brewmaster and co-founder of the Terrapin Beer Company in Georgia, did just that, crafting three bespoke brews for the brewery and, after prolonged product testing by the lushes at Barnes, Catmur and Friends, the beers will be launched later this month as 'The Resident' range.
Included in the range are Spike’s Pilsner, an American craft interpretation of a pilsner with a twist of tanginess and New Zealand hop flavours; Spike’s IPA, an India pale ale created using a blend of New Zealand ale malt and olde world specialty malts, and Spike’s Red Rye, a red-hued ale balanced with a kettle hop bitterness and a rye malt addition.
The beer may have an American twist, but Kiwi artist Otis Frizzell's artistry is all over the label, which ensures Spike’s notoriety by plastering his face on every bottle.
Buckowski, who apparently experienced some difficultly pronouncing “Aotearoa”, says travelling around New Zealand and sampling various Kiwi craft brews enabled him to “develop a real sense of what Kiwis like in their craft beer”.
To coincide with the release, an eclectic and comical documentary was filmed charting Spike’s beer quest.
It’s not the first time a call out to the public has been used in the brewery’s promotional efforts. Last year Kiwis were asked to choose their favourite variety of beer from a newly launched ‘craft range’, with the winning brew eventually released commercially.