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Black Dog Brewery and Havana Coffee Works team up for new brew

Coffee and beer - a recipe for disaster, right? Wellington’s Black Dog Brewery and Havana Coffee Works are hoping otherwise.

A lot of us know alcohol and caffeine is actually a pretty good combo, even if conventional wisdom suggests twice the vice means twice the potential for disaster. After all, Kiwi breweries like Wellington's Garage Project have been combining the two for a while. And now, another Wellington brewery, Black Dog Brew Co., is also getting in on the action.

Black Dog has just released a pair of new brews, as part of its “experimental” range. The range consists of two limited edition brews that are only available for three months at a time.

The first pair are the Brewtus Stout – the result of a collaboration with Havana Coffee Works – and an award-winning Special Agent IPA. They’ve definitely got Black Dog brewer Adrian Klemp excited.  “Black Dog was founded to create exciting ‘alternatives’ to the range of beers already available,” he says. “The craft beer scene in New Zealand is rapidly growing, so we always aim to produce interesting and intrepid brews that challenge the status quo. Some will work, some won’t, but if we don’t try, we’ll never know, that is the beauty of our experimental brews.”

According to Klemp, the new range celebrates collaboration and innovation, and are for those who know what they like, but are open to challenging their own taste buds. For instance, he says, the Special Agent IPA may be an IPA, but its Nelson Sauvin and Taiheke hops give it a distinctly hoppy feel underneath its initial smoothness. Likewise, the Brewtus Stout has “bite” that’s best enjoyed with “heavy” foods like a hearty stew or decadent piece of chocolate cake.

Havana Coffee Works founder Geoff Marsland certainly agrees. “It is a brute of beer with a sophisticated style,” he says. “It is a rich and silky stout, dry-hopped with a hefty bag of crushed coffee beans straight from Bolivia and a good dose of Cascade hops to add some extra growl.”

Black Dog marketing manager Sam Forrest says there’s more to it, adding that the new beers will be available at pubs and shops across the country. That’s a change, Forrest says, from the past, in which Black Dog’s experimental beers were only available at its Blair St brewery in Wellington - despite the fact that Black Dog was set up in 2011 by DB as a place where brewers could get together and collaborate, thus tapping into Aotearoa's burgeoning craft beer scene.