Discovering Garage Project


Garage Project are three guys in Wellington, New Zealand who make craft beer – Pete, Jos and Ian. I recently had my first Garage Project experience after the guys at Cellarbrations Carlisle recommended it. They were pouring Garage Project Pernicious Weed from their growler system, there was just one litre left and they said I HAD to try it. Done!

The Pernicious Weed was Garage Project’s first beer in their 24/24 series – 24 different beers in 24 weeks. On their website they cite Ernest Hemingway’s quote “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut”, as their motivation for the 24/24 series. As valid as it is just imagine what other ideas will become reality with this sort of motto!

Pernicious Weed poured a hazy golden orange with aromas of apricots and honey. The flavour was hoppy, and I mean really freakin’ hoppy; as though a pine needle forest was invaded by an army of oranges and stone fruit (how’s that for a mental image?!)

So, having tasted this great beer you can imagine my excitement when I saw Garage Project at my local bottleshop. For the record, my local bottleshop is in a little country town where Carlton Dry and Emu Export are the biggest sellers. It seems the manager has recently been bitten by the craft beer bug which can only mean good things, like a shorter travelling time for me and my beery needs.

The beer I saw was Garage Project Red Rocks Reserve, a limited release version of their Red Rocks beer and neither of which I’d had before or had any knowledge of. Turns out that Red Rocks is an India Red Ale and another beer in the 24/24 series; week 11 for anyone playing at home. The Reserve version was created using a super boil that involved “heating rocks in a great big fuck-off fire in the forecourt of an old petrol station”. You can read more about that here and I dare say you’ll want to – it involves beer, exploding rocks and big fire!

The Red Rocks Reserve is a beautifully rich and smooth beer. It smells like a burnt Anzac biscuit with toffee and flowers. The taste is seriously malty and floral with some caramalisation (which I now know is from the super-dooper boil) plus there’s a dirty herbal quality. There is a good chance I will buy all of this from the bottleshop and hopefully ensure more Garage Project beers hit their shelves.

I served it up with my very first attempt at homemade lasagne, a recipe from Jamie Oliver, and as a dish it was a huge success. Mind you, topped with 400g of Mozzarella and made with Rogue Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale (instead of red wine) it was destined to be great.

Sadly it was a bit of a miss fire as a beer and food match; the Red Rocks Reserve beat the lasagne into submission rather than being compliment I had been hoping for. Granted, perhaps I should have read about the beer before I tried to match it but hey, it’s fun to discover these things as you go!


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