From the Wellingtonian, my now traditional end-of-year beer and bar awards:
I have continued my fledgling tradition of putting together an assessment of the best New Zealand beers for 2008 and some beer-related awards for venues around Wellington. These are, of course, simply the opinions of one beer writer but, rest assured gentle readers, they are based on extensive and intensive research.
From the Malthouse blog, a long look at Epic Pale Ale and its impish creator:
His brewing style is ashamedly hop-fixated. Luke has made a decision to use all imported hops for his beers as they give him the flavour and power he is looking for. While this approach can be controversial with his peers, the resulting beers are highly regarded. Epic Pale Ale was crowned Supreme Champion Beer of New Zealand just weeks after it launched. Metro called it the “Best Beer in Auckland” (by which they mean New Zealand) and the Listener also had it as the best beer of 2007 though their sole source for that assessment was me.
Also from the Malthouse blog, an entry on our old friends at Chimay:
Extensive research has unveiled exactly one joke about the monks at Chimay. Actually, it is not really a joke, merely a witty quote which may or may not have actually happened. As semi-silent monks in The Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance (which is understandably shortened to Trappist) there probably isn’t a lot of opportunity for verbal comedy and word play.