Based at its Sockburn headquarters, the Christchurch brewery was established last year by three German/Kiwi brothers Alex, Marcel and Theo Giesen, using an original 1862 recipe written by their great uncle, who set up the renowned Kaiser Brewery in the village of Bischofsgrun in north-east Bavaria. The brothers had previously established Kaiser Wine, but disruption caused by the Canterbury and Marlborough earthquakes made the family reconsider its business trajectory, as well as rekindling the link with its family brewing history.
They say their beer is now “Kiwi-as,” with brewer Dicky Fife saying all its beers are crafted for flavour and taste. “Just as it was in the 1860s, today’s Kaiser Brothers beers are made by a passionate team using real, quality local ingredients,” he says. The brewery started making its beer via contract, before establishing its own brewery in Christchurch with Fife – a “brewing legend” – at the helm. He says the brewery starts with Canterbury artisan water and ingredients, before adding yeast which is true to the style of beer.
The brewery makes a core range of four beers available in 500ml bottles. “You’ll taste Germanic yeast in our Pilsener and Weizen, English yeast in English Special Bitter and – you guessed it – American yeast for our American Pale Ale,” Fife says. Every now and again, the brew crew have fun with styles and recipes, creating special limited release and seasonal craft beers. “We have just brewed two special limited release beers which Kaiser Brothers Brewery will pour at the country’s leading beer festival Beervana in Wellington this month,” Fife says. “The first, Dopplebock Winter Beer, is a nod to Kaiser Brothers Brewery German heritage. It’s a dark, Munich-style lager created as a traditional pilsener with added coloured malts.
It’s the perfect cool weather beer, full bodied with flavours of caramel, chocolate and traditional fruit cake – just like a meal in a glass.” The brothers’ Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale started life as a classic American Pale Ale, but then took a few deviations – the hops were dialled back, apple bourbon was added, along with a touch of maple syrup and spices, all of which was matured in a French oak wine barrel. “Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a beer reminiscent of a traditional American apple pie,” he says. Fife encourages Kiwis to have fun and experiment with beers which, with 100 brews under their belt, the Kaiser Brothers Brewery team can help with. “We believe we are just warming up…we have plenty more flavour to come! “