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Just want to drop the maddest of mad props out there for Joseph, my good mate, at Liberty Brewing. Not just my good mate but our good mate.
Sine JoKing joined this forum, many years ago, he has been one of the most helpful people on here. He's friendly, he's encouraging, he's a little too self deprecating... but he is the epitome of what this whole homebrewing thing is about. He's about better beer for everyone.
Some of you may remember that I owned Liberty Brewing a few years ago (with the much missed Brendon MacKenzie). Brendon and I basically started the thing to get better access to specialty malts, to establish an easier way for Wellington homebrewers to get their hands on full bags of base malt without exorbitant shipping, and to get a few odd bits and pieces like finings available too. Then, a year or so down the track, Yeastie Boys got a bit too busy so I asked around on here if anyone wanted to take over... we had a load of enquiries but Jo was the obvious choice. Enthusiastic and ever so knowledgeable, a mad keen and scarily good homebrewer, we essentially adopted the business to him for the price of the stock. He drove down to Wellington to pick up the gear and we had one of our first nights drinking together... he made me promise to brew Yakima Monster as a Yeastie Boys beer (which kicked off an annual collaboration).
Liberty Brewing has gone from strength to strength as a homebrew supply business since then but, better yet, it has evolved into something much more special by spawning a fantastic array of beers under the commercial brewing arm of the same operation. There was never any doubt when I first met Jo that he would one day be making awesome commercial beer in some capacity. He's been receiving rave reviews from the beer drinking public since he started putting them out there and now, in his first large scale brew, with the freakishly talented Mike Neilson (another one who needs to get the mad props post some day), he's gone and won what might well be the hardest category to win at the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards... US Styles. In fact, he was the only one to win gold!! As an aside he also picked up a couple of bronze medals for beers off his little home plant and his Yakima Raven (the US side of our annual collab) picked up silver. A monster effort!!
And, finally, his acceptance speech will go down as an all time great. While most of the room thought he was all choked up and emotional, which he no doubt was to a certain extent, he was actually in a world of pain from just knocking back a mouthful of Fire Dragon Chilli sauce... the hottest one (I can't remember the name of it but it made his head turn purple).
Joseph... you're a legend already mate, and there are undoubtedly many many great things to come, but here at the point where the rest of the world (besides the beer geeks) began to take notice... I offer you the MAD PROPS!!! Go hard bro.
ps. the guy probably couldn't function without his wonderful partner (in Liberty Brewing and in life)... Mad props to you too Christina!!