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Brew Moon Brewing Company

Giant New Zealand Truffle in Special Edition Ale


By —— Bio and Archives--August 24, 2018

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Giant New Zealand Truffle in Special Edition Ale, Brew Moon Brewing Company
The largest truffle found in New Zealand on record, unearthed in North Canterbury, has found its way into a special edition local ale. The whopper 1.37kg black Périgord truffle was dug up by Jax Lee, general manager of Kings Truffles in Waipara (near Christchurch), after her five-year-old dog, Freddy, sniffed it out beside an oak tree.

The next challenge was to clean it up, extremely carefully, and make sure that it was put to good use. Lee had just the place in mind. The family-owned Brew Moon Brewing Company, started by Kieran McCauley and Belinda Gould, located down the road in Amberley, has now added shavings from the record-setting truffle to a golden ale.

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Oscar McCauley, who works with his parents at the Brew Moon, says there are unique challenges in working with an ingredient the brewery has never used before – and an expensive one at that. “We want to find a point where the truffle character is clear and compliments the beer, but also not add too much. The flavours marry up nicely, so now it’s just a matter of adjusting the amount of truffle to find that sweet spot,” says McCauley. “New Zealand’s best breweries are producing all sorts of weird and wonderful beer styles, so it’s a great opportunity to see how this brew stacks up.”

If all goes well, the Brew Moon might consider doing it again. “There is a great truffle scene here in North Canterbury, so it would be amazing to be able to make this a yearly seasonal brew,” McCauley says.

Truffles in Canterbury, New Zealand

Truffles or “underground mushrooms” grow in and around the roots of a variety of trees, including hazelnuts, oaks and pines. While they are grown elsewhere in New Zealand, including in the Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay, Canterbury is the only place where four varieties are grown: Périgord Black, Bianchetto, Burgundy and Winter Truffles. The region’s high pH, limestone-rich soils and sunshine hours allow truffles to thrive (they evolved in limestone-rich areas of Europe). There are more producers in North Canterbury than anywhere else in the country.

Why so expensive?

Yes, truffles are expensive – a small one can cost between $60 and $70 NZD (approx. $51 - $61 Cdn), but there is a reason. They are very hard to grow. Gavin and Anne Hulley, of Amuri Truffiere, planted their oak and hazelnut trees 20 years ago (in 1997) and got their first truffles in 2004. In 2016, they dug up a grand total of 16 kilograms from two hectares. It’s hard to tell when truffles are ready – and once they’re dug up, they can’t go back into the ground.


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