Made for Uncommon Thirsts

ABOUT US

Outlier Cartel started a few years ago at flat warming party in Auckland in 2010. Carlos and his flatmates had invited everyone in the building to come and join their friends. However, only a couple of the neighbours showed up, Mark and Barbara from down the hall. Although they didn’t know it at the time, the seeds of good beer company were planted. Mark and Carlos, both ‘Outliers’ in spirit, thought there was much missing from the established New Zealand beer industry.

After a few years of experimenting and planning, Carlos and Mark took the plunge and created Outlier Cartel. The idea was to create interesting beers that would challenge the idea of what good beers could be. More importantly, it simply had to taste good.

Though there were some trials along the way, on the 4th of December, 2015 Outlier Cartel officially launched, welcoming all on the fringe to enjoy great beverages!

In early 2016, we welcomed the addition of the 3rd Cartelian in Alvin Soh.  Alvin is a foodie, devoted husband and proud father of two three.  Alvin is our Director and Chief Financial Officer – or as we like to call him, our ‘Supreme Chancellor of Numeric Confidence‘. He has been vital for our business planning and growth.

So what’s in the name?

We’ve gotten quite a few comments about our name. The name came about from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, a book that we strongly identified with.  The book demonstrates success as not based on what people are like, but where people are from such as the cultures that influenced them, upbringing, and family. Both of us were fortunate enough to migrate to New Zealand quite a few years ago, fusing our own experiences with a kiwi can-do attitude.

Cartel was decided because of the desire to go beyond just ‘beer’ – we love food and drink, so we wanted to think beyond just ‘beer’ or ‘brewery’. Cartel also represents a collaboration with like minded people, we don’t perceive other brewers as a threat; rather we see them as partners in our industry to bring the best products possible to consumers.

So we welcome everyone to be part of the Outlier Cartel!

Our Thousand Year Vision

Our vision is that Outlier Cartel to be a thousand year business. To us, this means growing sustainably, being true to ourselves and bringing a bit of good to the world. We believe that John Wesley best stated our core beliefs:

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

Did you know that 14% percent of all the companies over a thousand years old have been breweries? If we extend that list to beverage makers (Sake, Wine, Tea and Distilleries), then that list extends to 35% of all thousand year companies.  So even though we are small potatoes at the moment, we are in the right industry to be a Thousand Year business.

So here is a hearty toast to you, your children and your ultra great grand children – may you all live a good life and drink well!

Alvin, Mark & Carlos – your friends at Outlier Cartel

Our Beer Styles

Our Approach To Beer

At Outlier Cartel we are agnostic toward beer styles. We believe that every style, whether its popular or obscure has its own merits. We often blur the boundaries with our creations, sometimes making them very difficult to judge by ‘style’.

For example, our Cargo Cult is a hybrid beer. Its a kölsch, but instead of using traditional ingredients for the style, we used rice, because we happen to like Japanese rice lagers. A kölsch itself is cross between an ale and lager!

Yes, this may frustrate some drinkers who are keen to classify what they are drinking. We understand, after all its human nature to make sense of it all. For us, we are driven to create excellence in flavours rather to be true to style. We believe that beer is for everyone: from the seasoned sommelier to that person who just wants to unwind at the end of the day.

This is why we say we are made for uncommon tastes;  we know the range of palates varies significantly from person to person. So instead of being true to style, we ask ourselves an even more basic question: Does this taste good?

If you are still not sure what to try, here is an imperfect list of our offering to get you started:

Dark Beers: Poke the Bear, Apricity
Light Beers: Cargo Cult, From Such Great Heights
Spiced Beers: Apricity, Wunderkammer
Fruited Beers: Kerikeri ‘Round the Corner, From Such Great Heights
Lagers: Cargo Cult, Apricity
Ales: Cloudburst, Kekulé’s Dream, Kerikeri ‘Round the Corner, From Such Great Heights, Wunderkammer, Honey Chestnut
Sessionable Beers: Cargo Cult, From Such Great Heights
‘Big’ Beers: Apricity, Wunderkammer

From the Blog

cellaring beer

Cellaring Notes for Beer

Below is an email I got from Carlos – its too good for it to remain there! I’ve made a few modifications here an there, but for the most part the original message is there!

Improving a beer with time requires certain conditions. Everything from the recipe of the beer, the ingredients used, the packaging technique, the packaging itself, to how the beer is stored will affect how the beer evolves with time.

CAN’T BEAT THE HEAT

The best case scenario is that you have a basement (e.g., cellar) in which to store your beer. For those of us living in apartments, cities, and in the South and West (we hear they don’t have basements, either), this is not the case. When it comes to temperature, think about recreating the conditions of a cool, dark basement.

“Heat is the enemy,” writes Randy Mosher in his canonized book, “Tasting Beer.” He’s right: Beyond pasteurization, which many breweries do not employ, heat can ruin a beer in terms of aroma and flavor, as well as its chemical makeup.

This doesn’t necessarily mean your beer will be destroyed if it spends a few days out of the refrigerator; but with extended exposure to heat and light, or repeated spikes and drops in temperature it will lose quality fast and significantly.

TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE

Some beers are meant to be aged, and others are not. Lagers, for example, are fermented cold and already “conditioned” when you buy them. Sour beers, on the other hand, along with imperial stouts, Belgian dubbels, Belgian tripels, and strong ales, plus many barrel-aged beers, do great with age.

The best beers to age are those that are bottle-conditioned, higher in alcohol content (7 percent ABV or above), or sour. That last category can take on a variety of flavors and complexities, despite being lower in alcohol.

Sour beers, along with imperial stouts (such as our own Suragga) , Belgian dubbels, Belgian tripels, strong ales (try our Apricity and Apocalyptic Post) , and many barrel-aged beers, do great with age.

Bottle conditioning does well for beer aging because the yeast that’s in the bottle is still alive and active. It will chomp on extra sugars, spitting out more alcohol as well as more complex flavors in its esters, many of which will be perceived as fruitiness when you do pop it open to taste. This is what we did for Apricity and for Apocalyptic Post, as the Carbonation in the bottle comes from this secondary fermentation in bottle, protecting the beer from oxidation and giving it nice and smooth small bubbles. The foam is just marvelous in these beers!

A beer with higher alcohol content and a big malt backbone is typically heartier and richer, and thus can hold up to heat and age much better than something like a hoppy session ale or IPA. This is why you’ll often see “verticals” of imperial stouts, or beer nerds clamoring for different vintages of big beers. Suragga falls in this category.

Sour beers are a bit of an exception to the high ABV rule: Their unique yeasts and microflora, often introduced by fruit and wild fermentation, continue to evolve for long periods of time, even many years. This makes styles like lambics ideal for aging. (In fact, many lambics have already been aged for several years before being sold.)

“Celebration” beers, or Christmas ales, are also good contenders for cellaring, and are particularly well suited for annual collection and comparison. Here, our Apricity and Wunderkammer both score really high!

HOW TO STORE A BEER

Along with temperature, it’s important to consider a beer’s positioning in its “cellar” — even if that’s just your basement floor. The familiar image of the “wine cellar,” where bottles are stored in neat rows on their sides, is not always the best for aging beer. If the beer has a cork like a wine bottle, then it should do well on its side, yes, particularly if you are planning to age it for several months. This prevents the cork from drying out, and in the case of beer especially, prevents carbonation from escaping. However, any beer with an aluminum cap is best stored upright, as it would in your fridge.

WHAT HAPPENS TO A BEER WHEN IT AGES

How a beer changes as it ages depends on its style. In some cases, a beer that’s aged will dry out and become more complex, with more yeast-driven flavors expressing themselves over time. This can be true with Belgian dubbels, which will lose some sweetness, and beers fermented with yeast that already has complex flavors at a young age.

Consider your cellar an experiment, a learning experience, and keep trying new (and old) comparisons to truly unlock beer’s aging potential.

Sour beers tend to get more sour (or at least, more acidic), and stouts tend to get more sweet and viscous, like thick, velvety syrup. The latter can be considered a “good” form of oxidation — the beer will become rich and fruity, like sherry — or, pushed too far, meaty and umami, like soy sauce.

Whatever the result, consider your cellar an experiment and a learning experience, and keep trying new (and old) comparisons to truly unlock beer’s aging potential.

BEER AGING GUIDE

Randy Mosher’s “Tasting Beer” provides a helpful aging time chart for a few “ageable” beer styles:

Beer/ABV/Years

  1. Belgian Dubbel >6.5% 1-3
  2. Belgian Tripel >7.5% 1-4
  3. Strong/old ale >7% 1-5
  4. Belgian strong dark ales >8.5% 2-12
  5. Barley wine 8.5-12% 3-20
  6. Imperial stout 8.5-13% 3-20
  7. Ultra-strong ales 16-26% 5-100

Pale Ales, IPA’s and DIPA’s such as From Such Great Heights, Kerikeri ‘Round the corner, Cloudburst have zero aging potential and should not spend more than a few weeks in your fridge before you drink them!

Science shows that sessionable inebriation leads to creative thinking

Quickly, what do each of these 3 words have in common?

  1. butter, dragon, paper – ?
  2. melon, logged, proof -?
  3. cart, barrow, chair -?

While you probably figured it was fly (butterfly, dragonfly, flypaper), water (watermelon, waterlogged, waterproof) and wheel (cartwheel, wheelbarrow, wheelchair), your ever so-slightly imbibed self probably answered correctly and quicker than your sober self. And according to science, a bit of alcohol actually helps with creativity.

In tests run at the Mississippi State University and the University and Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, a moderate amount of inebriation helped subjects perform better at a Remote Associates Test (RAT) than those who held on to their sobriety. Idea was to push the test subject to local legal driving limits, which ranged from 0.03% to 0.075%. Note that New Zealand is much stricter, so please consider transportation alternatives if you want to test this out on your own. Research indicates that the saturation point is around 0.08%; it becomes a slippery down into unproductive stupor. The key, it seems, is keeping your buzz sessionable.

So how does this work exactly?

It does so by affecting working memory filter: Alcohol reduces ability to for the mind to focus narrowly, and in some cases completely ignore things. When sober, minds work more analytically. This is helpful for working towards goals; the less unrelated obstacles you mind can filter, the closer you can systematically get to your goal.  Unfortunately, it also comes with a degree of bias that often blindsided obvious solutions.

Take for instance, pretend you are a devout rugby union fan. You are presented with the following word association test while sober:

  1. drop
  2. box
  3. eye

Your devotion to rugby may get you drop-kick, box-kick but then get stuck on eye-kick (or kick-eye)? However, after sharing a can of Suragga with a couple of your mates, you will soon discover that shadow fits all the terms (dropshadow, shadowbox, eyeshadow). A high working memory in rugby might get you stuck on certain problems, but indulging in a bit of tipple might unhinge your analytical mind just enough to find the right answers!

 

Read more below!

  1. Uncorking the muse: Alcohol intoxication facilitates creative problem solving
  2. Alcohol Benefits the Creative Process
suragga Outlier Cartel

Meet Suraggā! (and a correction for our GABS entry description)

We like to officially welcome our latest creation, Suragga! Suragga is an imperial tropical milk stout – think of it as winter beer who likes to holiday in tropics when its cold out. Its made with generous amounts of coconuts and copious heaps of mint to give it’s unique flavour profile. Unfortunately – if you are coming from GABS, we got the description wrong – the description was for our previous release Apocalyptic Post! So if you are reading this:

The flavours of the Pacific Rim are important to our lives, and Outlier Cartel want to highlight the risks of climate change by putting them in a beer. New Zealand kelp, coconut, kumara and pineapple can all be found in this Imperial Milk Stout.

Replace that with the description on the can:

A big tropical imperial stout, with enough residual sweetness to warrant a trip to the dentist. The dark, heavy base presents roasted malts, hints of smokiness, toasted coconut and a garnish of fresh mint. This beer is perfect for sharing all life’s victories whether big or small.

So to be clear – there is no kelp, kumara, or pineapple – but there are ample doses of coconut and mint!

Enjoy, drink safe with your friends and family!

the team behind Outlier Cartel.

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