Today, we went to a brewery on Rarotonga. It was called Matutu brewery. It was quite interesting, considering the fact that the brewery was very small, had only 2 fermentation barrels and that there would be no other brewery that I would visit that would work quite like this one. It used old machinery and had several health code violations (the owner was very open about this) that would have had them shut down in any other country, such as New Zealand, Australia or Canada. As it was, it was a perfectly acceptable way to brew beer in Rarotonga. The only reason that they passed the health code test was probably because the health code inspector was one of the owner’s aunt, and that she didn’t have any idea what she was doing. For example, the health code says that they have to have a sink. So, the health code inspector walks in and looks around. Is there a sink? Yes, yes there is a sink. It’s in a corner with a bunch of stuff piled on it AND ISN’T EVEN ATTACHED TO A WATERLINE! But yes, there is a sink. So she ticks that off her list and moves on to the next thing. Easiest. Job. Ever. I wish I had it. Anyways, at the beginning of the process, they mill the barley around for a bit and pour it into a big vat. After they’ve done that, they infuse hot water through the top of the vat so that the pressure pushes all of the natural sugar comes out of the bottom of the vat. This process can usually take an hour or two and, guess what? The top of the vat isn’t completely sealed off so you can have all sorts of bacteria and creepy crawlies in your drink. But hey! It’s ok. It all adds to the flavour. Just kidding, all that yucky stuff is all killed off in the boiling part. All of the natural sugars get put in the boiling vat and boiled for an hour. This the part of the process where they add the hops. For those of you that don’t know what hops are, well, first, I pity you, and second, they are a plant that is grown all over the globe at a certain latitude and the hops are what gives the beer that bite. Anyhow, after the hops have been added and boiled, the whole mixture is then moved to the fermentation vat where it sits and ferments for 4-6 days. After that, it is moved to the chiller where it is given CO2 and stays there ready to be bottled.
They make quite good craft beer. They have 2 “regulars” and one “seasonal”. The beers that they make are bit different from the ones at Hell’s Basement but are still really nice. The perfect beers for a warm climate like the Cook islands.