New Zealand is used to being the first at things: Everest, splitting the atom, winning a Rugby World Cup - but this might be their finest achievement yet. A farmer and a brewer in south Auckland have collaborated to make the world's first tomato beer.
"We have lots of crazy ideas. Some of them work, some of them don't. Let's just see if this one does," Curious Croppers Tomatoes owner Anthony Tringham says. It's an idea born and made in Clevedon after Tringham handed over 170kg of his Curious Croppers tomatoes to the nearby Hallertau brewery in December.
And this is the result: 600 liters of tomato beer. "Who knows? Tomatoes could replace hops as the number one flavor of beer," Hallertau marketing director David Johnston says. It's inspired by a Michelada, a Mexican cocktail made of beer and tomato juice. But unlike other concoctions, where the juice is mixed in later, here the tomatoes are fermented with the grain from the get-go.
"The whole thing's going in. The tomato is being chopped up and macerated and cooked with the beer," Tringham says.
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