BrewNZ – It’s a Wrap

The cream of NZ brewing rose to the top, yet again, at BrewNZ.  Epic, Limburg and Emerson’s picked up two best in class trophies apiece to continue the dominance of Messrs Nicholas, O’Leary and Emerson in the more international styles.

Mac’s/Lion yet again cleaned out Monteith’s/DB in the more NZ focused categories – draughts and lagers.  Mac’s Sassy Red picked up the Amber Ale category again (for the third successive year, I believe) amongst some strong competition, which goes to show that these guys can make some fantastic beer when they choose too.

When it’s all said and done, the public need to be involved to make BrewNZ a real success.  The public side of this year’s event seemed to be a bit hit and miss.  I’ve heard some anecdotal evidence of good events occurring around town but it’s very hard to tell what was going on around the city when you are spending your days in the inner sanctum (watching 10 judges work their way through 170 beers).  Aaron Watson’s honest Capital Times summary basically confirmed what I sensed was going on, from the odd occasion that I managed to venture out.  Great beer is possibly not being backed up with great service.

Are our events, bars, restaurants and cafés letting our best brewers down?  If so, how do we improve?

And… did I just ask that question in a Dallow-esque TV One tone?

Slainte mhath
Stu

7 thoughts on “BrewNZ – It’s a Wrap”

  1. Some thoughts:* MUCH better advertising and publicity. When I tell people I was at BrewNZ, the universal response is “what?” – get the term BrewNZ as recognisable and exciting to people as “Rugby Sevens”.* Choose good bars, and have good pre-event training for all the staff. Don’t just have them rattle off “this beer was made with Saaz B hops” – ensure they know what those hops have done to the beer, and could talk a punter through a tasting of said beer. As with most things, passionate people are key. I struck several bored and indifferent bar staff who clearly didn’t know much about beer.* Find a way to serve the beer well – in the proper glassware, poured well, and NOT ice cold. I know this is tricky, the way most bars in NZ are set up, but try. People who own hand pumps are often happy to loan them. Perhaps the BrewNZ organisational entity could purchase some for use in BrewHQs, and kegs could be modified? I know that’s a long shot, but this is a wishlist! 🙂* Draft volunteers to run tutored tastings at regular intervals at the BrewHQs. < HREF="http://www.soba.org.nz" REL="nofollow">SOBA<> could help out with this?* Talk to the council about running a “beer bus” around the BrewHQs at a regular interval. In Wellington, this isn’t so critical, but for bars like Bar Edward, or for those from other parts having a hard time finding the more out of the way venues, this could be a huge benefit.* Bring back the Beer Show in all its glory. Colin did a fantastic job on short notice this year, but for a lot of the public, this IS BrewNZ, and it needs to be BIG!* Perhaps a public “meet the judges” session, where people can see the judges (and in a perfect world, a staged judging event). Perhaps this could be part of the beer show?I’m sure I thought of other ideas during BrewNZ, but they’ve escaped me for now. I will post more if I think of them.

  2. As far as the BrewNZ week went I was slightly disappointed – failed to register on the Wellington events richter scale I reckon.I thought the Saturday beer fest was a step up from last year. Fewer brewers I grant you, but overall better quality on average without the big boys and girls

  3. Some great beers on show, unfortunately mostly served far too cold!! when are people in this country going to wake up and realise that serving product at 2deg’s totally detrimental to flavour…

  4. Greig hot it on the head with this comment… Find a way to serve the beer well – in the proper glassware, poured well, and NOT ice cold. I know this is tricky, the way most bars in NZ are set upFortunately some bars that stock good beers will attempt to serve beer correctly if you show patronage. For this kind of service to become mainstream it requires the 1% of us that require this service to educate the other 99%. The onus is on us – not the bars who have commercial issues formost in the mind. Cheers.

  5. Greig. At the end of the BrewNZ judging there was a “debrief” of sorts, where the judges and stewards discussed some of this hits and misses of the week. One of the discussions was around whether medals should be awarded to all beers that meet medal guidelines or whether there should only be medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each category.I couldn’t answer this without first asking “What is the main goal of BrewNZ?”. The answer was along the lines of educating the public about geed beer. A goal that I personally think is a worthy one.I think BrewNZ is currently falling well short of meeting this goal. The first goal in educating the public must revolve around educating the industry. This means distributors, retailers, bar owners and staff.Public could also be educated through seminars, tastings and a decent homebrew event (where people can get feedback from brewers, judges and the general public). BrewNZ used to have these sorts of events. Where have they gone???Us beer geeks are already educated. We are not the target audience… though we do purposely lay ourselves in the line of fire.

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