09 Feb Bruce and Betty: The New Rascals Beers
It’s really quite fitting that we have a special dual release of our Bruce New Zealand hazy IPA and Betty New Zealand dry-hopped Helles lager, because it’s there where the Rascals story begins!
Like many good stories, it involves a man meeting a woman. New Zealand is where Rascals co-founders Emma and Cathal met, back in 2009. In fact, for five years they lived in New Zealand, gadding about and having the craic. Cathal was working in pharma at the time; Emma was in the world of finance.
“A lot of our dates were going to craft beer bars – we both liked beer,” Cathal says. “Our friends were getting more into craft beer around the same time. I guess I wanted to start drinking local beers and discovering what could be enjoyed, especially hop-forward beers. The breweries we particularly enjoyed were the likes of Tuatara Brewing, Garage Project, Yeastie Boys, Emerson’s.”
And when did the adventures in brewing begin? “I started homebrewing over there, with my friend Brendan,” explains Cathal, “and we’d bring our beers to house parties. Sometimes they went down well, other times… maybe not so much! Emma was always really interested in it and enjoyed it too. At the beginning it was a case of: ‘we’ll give it a lash’, but then we found ourselves really getting into it. We discovered the different varieties of New Zealand hops and we were learning about bitterness and so on.”
From the passion and excitement around brewing came the kernel of an idea to go at it in a very real way. Cathal says: “It was in the back of my mind, before we left to go back to Ireland, to set up a brewery at home. We both were kind of thinking along these lines. Obviously we had to go home and get jobs first and not just dive headlong into it.”
Only a few short years after coming home, Cathal and Emma founded Rascals Brewing in 2014. “I think this is why Bruce and Betty, the new beers, are so special to us,” Cathal explains. “We were always thinking about brewing NZ beers and styles we really liked. This is our first real proper tribute to NZ craft beer; these are beers we can be really proud of.”
These new beers are all about the hops. Sunrise Valley, New Zealand, is the home of Freestyle Hops. For more than fifty years Bruce and Betty Eggers have been farming the most aromatic and flavoursome hops in the world. Their passion led them to create two wonderful blends: the Bruce Hop and the Betty Hop. A carefully created combination of early Nelson Sauvin and Motueka, mid Southern Cross and late Pacifica gives us Bruce. As for the Betty blend, well they’ve decided to keep that a secret!
The design of Bruce and Betty takes inspiration from the Māori art of whakairo carvings to tell the story graphically. These are completely original illustrations with no elements taken directly from Māori art. We wanted to give a cultural context to the design and explain the inspiration. In Māori culture the term ‘whakapapa’ is used to describe lineage and genealogy. However, the term can also be used to the act of giving a cultural context to Māori-inspired artwork. This series of graphics offers an explanation and meaning of their use.
Thalita Alves is a writer for Global Voices, an international community of writers, translators, academics and digital rights activists. In this article here, she explains considerations around the use of Māori motifs and inspired artwork: “Kirituhi is the official name for a Māori-style tattoo either created by or made for a non-Māori person. The name comes from the words kiri (skin) and tuhi (to write, to adorn or to decorate). These custom-made designs are inspired by traditional conventions. Anyone can get kirituhi, no matter where they come from or their cultural upbringing.”
We always take careful consideration, and no small amount of pride too, in our label designs; these new beers reflect the significance of New Zealand in the story of Rascals Brewing Company.
Our new Betty dry-hopped lager and Bruce hazy IPA will be on sale from March 3rd.