Wellington’s Yeastie Boys have decided to release their popular award-winning tea-leafed “Gunnamatta” India Pale Ale to the general public. Using Earl Grey Blue Flower tea – from Wellington-based tea company t Leaf T – instead of hops, the beer was a run-away success at the recent Good Beer Week celebrations in Melbourne. “We went into developing Gunnamatta with quite a fixed idea, based around finding one of the robust single estate teas that we’d read about,” says Yeastie Boys Creative Director, Stu McKinlay. “We ended up choosing Earl Grey Blue Flower for its pungent perfume of citrus and floral notes, knowing immediately that this would work brilliantly in the type of base beer we had in mind.”

And work it did, both as a popular drink with punters but also as an homage to the beer-sculling, tea-sipping Englishmen of old.

“In many ways, it takes the celebration of the development of India Pale Ale one step further than normal,” says Yeastie Boys’ Directive Creator, Sam Possenniskie. “This kind of ale was shipped from England to India and, once emptied, those ships were filled with tea for the return journey. This beer also goes both ways.”

But for McKinlay, the genesis of the brew was much simpler. “I just got fed up with chocolate and coffee beers being the trend du jour and thought it was time to put tea into the limelight,” he says. “I grew up in a tea drinking family, so it has always been my hot drink of choice. We had tea with breakfast, morning tea, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper and before bed. We’d even slip a few in between just for tea’s sake. It was part tradition, part theatre – just like this beer is for us now!”

Despite numerous requests – from the usual beer geeks and some awesome sounding knitting groups – there are currently no plans to add the beer to the regular range.

Gunnamatta will be available nationwide from 11th June, for several months, through Yeastie Boys’ distributor BeerNZ Ltd. It will be available in Australia from early July through Innspire Pty Ltd.

Gunnamatta Technical Information:

Malt: Golden Promise Pale Malt, Carapils, Caramunich, Wheat

Hops: Pacifica, Motueka, Southern Cross, Pacific Jade

Tea: Earl Grey Blue Flower, t Leaf T

Yeast: Chico (US ale)

Alcohol: 6.5%abv

Bitterness: 52ibu

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