One of the biggest events on the Wellington craft beer calendar, Malthouse’s West Coast IPA Challenge, is expanding due to a positive case of growing pains.
Colin Mallon, Malthouse Operations Guy and WCIPAC organiser, says this year’s 9th Annual West Coast IPA Challenge (WCIPAC) will expand its festivities to Malthouse’s sister bar, Fork & Brewer on Bond Street, due to increasingly large crowds turning up to see who will win Best West Coast IPA and take home the Golden Gumboots.
The annual event, taking place on Friday, 29 July, sees brewers showcase their skills with hops by brewing West Coast IPAs, a notoriously popular and hoppy style of beer, dear to the hearts of craft beer drinkers.
“I think it’s become such a big event on the calendar because of people’s ongoing and increasingly growing love affair with different beers,“ says Colin.
“The event has raised awareness of the beer style, and the fun and anticipation leading up to, and on, the night definitely brings people in who necessarily wouldn’t class themselves as beer drinkers. You get hardcore beer drinkers bringing their friends, and before you know it, it widens the appeal.
“The last WCIPAC had Malthouse groaning at its seams. The event officially kicks off at 2pm, the bar will be wall-to-wall packed by 4:30pm, with queues out the door by 5pm, and the bar often remaining near capacity until 2am.
“We sell something in the region of about 40 kegs. It is a huge night for us!
“We were turning people away at the last few WCIPACs, so it made sense to release some of that pressure this year by making Fork & Brewer a co-host.”
Colin says Fork & Brewer was the natural venue choice to expand the event, not only as it is Malthouse’s sister bar, but because it is the only place that had enough taps to accommodate the 25 beers that will be showcased on the evening.
Punters at Fork & Brewer need not fear for missing out on any of the beers, celebrations or announcements – all WCIPAC beers will be pouring on tap and announcements made at the same time as at Malthouse.
It speaks for the notoriety of the event, that the competition is making its first foray to Australia with a line-up of WCIPAC beers being flown over the Tasman to feature in WCIPAC tap takeovers at The Local Taphouses in Melbourne and Sydney.
Originally created because July was Malthouse’s quietest month of the year, WCIPAC started out with two entrants [Epic Brewing Co. and Hallertau Brewery] in a bit of a “my beer is hoppier than your beer” showdown.
“Back then the Wellington craft beer landscape was quite different – there was Malthouse, Bar Bodega and Bar Edward, so showcasing a specific style was quite unusual,” says Colin.
“Now the event showcases 25 beers, has 9-10 judges, some of whom are World Beer Cup judges, and breweries contacting us to submit entries.”
“It’s great when you see a brewery that hasn’t performed very well, and then come back and next year and they raise their game – even if they don’t win it’s really great to see.”
“The last thing I wanted this to be was something that was taken too seriously. We want to give brewers a bit of feedback on their entries, but at the end of the day, it is all about celebrating good beer with good people.”
It looks like 2016 kicked off with a focus on alcohol, and the reduction of how, when, where and how much is available. The follow are some articles of interest, and commentary relating to alcohol and events from the last week or so.
How far are we from what is happening in Sydney? This is a long article but well researched and written. It’s worth the time to read it all, so you are informed and ready for what could possibly happen in New Zealand in the future.
“There’s a whole Orwellian nomenclature that has been made up to deliberately keep the general public in a constant state of confusion that some terror has swept across the city: “king hit”, “coward punch”, “alcopop”, “alcohol-related violence”. Being quite a respectable lot, we’ve all been guilt shamed into thinking that something in the Australian psyche is ugly and that mixed with alcohol we turn into raging brutes, or that by simply having fun somehow we’ve been breaking some great moral code, the 11th commandment: thou shalt not have fun.
But that’s all a load of rubbish and in actual fact, you’ve done nothing wrong at all. In fact you’ve been very well behaved. Sydney ranks more safe than Bordeaux, France, or Lausanne, Switzerland, for crime.”
“First the Wellington Sevens, now the NRL Auckland Nines. The PC brigade will strike another major sporting event with the Nines set to breath-test punters upon entry.
Those too drunk will be barred from the two-day event, which hosts 16 NRL teams in 31 games on Saturday and Sunday, at Eden Park.”
ODI NZ vs Australia Eden Park
I went to the first ODI between NZ and Australia at Eden Park. The weather was perfect, game was exciting and company was great. I hadn’t been to watch the cricket for a number of years. Not since you could take a chilly bin with your own food and drinks in it.
OK straight to the point. The food and beverage selection on offer was extremely underwhelming. Plastic cups, I can understand and live with that. The beer though was industrial megaswill, or near beer. Why not have some offering of craft beer or beer with flavour, something worth tasting? I’d guess that easily 10% of the people there would have been craft beer drinkers.
Eden Park could increase attendance by lifting their food and beverage offerings. It’s a turn off to go to the cricket for 8 hours and have to put up with such a poor offerings. How hard would it be to sell some of the stands around the stadium to craft brewers and food truck operators. It would be amazing, how much better of a time would you have?
You pay to see world-class sporting events and get offered the cheapest food and beverages. Such a shame.
Then there was this article below, I didn’t notice on the day. Then again I drank very little beer. (one observation I did notice was the number of guys that had chosen to drink wine. Guessing a large number it was for the alcohol content, but there must have been some that drank it for the flavour. I know I was seriously contemplating the wine).
“Funny thing happened at the cricket on Wednesday,” writes Dave. “Halfway through the match the limit of beers you could buy at one time went from four down to two – normal procedure to stop people getting too rowdy as the game goes on. But this time as well as reducing the limit they also switched out the cups to a significantly smaller size [pictured]. You could say this is also a safety measure but not when they keep charging the same price of $8.50. Nice of them to try to keep people safe, but not so sure they should be ramping up their margins because they think people will be too drunk to notice!”
Above are observation of what is currently happening. You need to ask questions about how far things should go to limit and control the public at events, and the responsible control of alcohol at events, and in bars. Food is an important part of drinking alcohol, beyond the joy and pleasure of consuming it. Better offerings are likely to be more inviting for people to want to consume them, Eden Park. Then again I didn’t see any trouble or people who were showing obvious signs of being intoxicated.
The ownership of New Zealand’s largest craft beer festival, Beervana, has shifted from Cryer Malt to the Wellington Culinary Events Trust Inc. (WCET), the organisation that runs Visa Wellington On a Plate.
The nine-year old beer festival, which runs during Visa Wellington On a Plate every August, features over 60 breweries with approximately 200 beers showcased to 10,000-plus punters and trade who visit the two-day event.
Sarah Meikle, Chief Executive of WCET says it made perfect sense for the organisation to buy Beervana.
“Visa Wellington On a Plate serves up the best food and drink the region has to offer, and craft beer is a big part of what makes Wellington a culinary hot spot. There’s a growing thirst for craft beer with the category growing at 25% per year and the majority of that growth is being driven by Wellington brewers.
“Beervana is a cornerstone event of Visa Wellington On a Plate and we’re really keen it continues to stay a big part of it. It helps bring more than $3 million into the capital during the festival but it has the potential to be even bigger and better.”
David Cryer says he’s delighted to be passing over the Beervana reigns to WCET.
“Beervana really started to take off when it became part of Visa Wellington On a Plate. Our visitor numbers have risen considerably since then and will only grow more as the craft beer industry continues to strengthen.”
“It’s become a major event that takes hundreds of hours to organise and the time was right for me to move aside and let someone else take charge. WCET is passionate about the event, industry and has the structure to ensure Beervana’s continued success.”
Beervana will run this year from 14 – 15 August at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
Yesterday 13 Auckland brewers, and many of Auckland’s craft beer bars met to discuss the details for #freshhopnz15 An event which will feature 13 beers made with Fresh Hops, straight from the hop fields of Nelson. Like this Facebook page and stay up to date with developments, updates from breweries, launch date as well as the list of the beers and the bars and outlets you can get them in.
[COPY OF EMAIL JUST RECEIVED FROM NZ BEER FESTIVAL ORGANIZERS]
As you’ve probably figured out, The New Zealand Beer Festival is taking a break in 2015.
Every year we pick a date that will create the best experience to showcase your wares in Auckland, this year we don’t see a clear “to market” strategy, so we’re focussing our energy on 2016.
This year the Cricket World Cup takes over The Cloud and Shed 10 in February and March. Cruise ships all through April. That pushes us too deep into winter, and there’s just not sufficient space to hold every one indoors.
We investigated other venues around Auckland to host the event, but there’s nowhere to hold an event of our scale without incurring significant infrastructure costs, and we’re conscious of making the event work economically for you too.
We’ve secured a summer date back at the Cloud and Shed 10 for our 10th anniversary in 2016, and we’ll in touch in the coming months with stand availability. We’re amped to make it our best event yet.
We really want to thank you for your support over the last 8 years, particularly 2014. Together we faced the challenge of cyclone Lusi and new licensing restrictions, but we got through and neither slowed our roll. You were great throughout.
Two sessions introduced the festival to a much wider range of customers, and the event attracted another record crowd. We really have seen massive growth in the craft beer sector since we started.
Thanks again team, you’ll hear from us soon as the downtime is going to give us more time to plan ahead and nail that 10th anniversary!
Currently I’m spending my days at the Auckland Food Show (31 July to 3rd August). We are half way through and things are going great. If you are looking for a reason or two to attend then we have them. There is the amazing super combo offer from Culley’s & Epic. 4 different 500ml Epic beers and 4 different bottles of Culley’s Hot Sauce for just $40. Plus we will even deliver it to you so you don’t have to carry it around the show (as it is kind of heavy). This offer is only available at the show, so you need to turn up. We also have some crazy pricing on single bottles of Epic beer for the show only (even though a couple of people purchased while cases of Armageddon, Hop Zombie and Lupulingus). You do have to carry these away though.
Even though there are lots of wonderful things to sample at The Food Show over the weekend, if you are looking for one of the best pies ever then try “THE MATADOR” from Green Meadows Beef (stand K38) that has both Culley’s hot sauce (Best In The World) and Epic Beer Imperium. There is a wonderful beer & beef flavour, huge chunks of awesome beef and the perfect amount of flakey pastry wrapping it together. Oh and the chilli? well when you are eating the pie, your tongue is telling you it is hot in temperature, but by the time you are half way through you realise that the heat is actually coming from the chilli, and the spicy heat stays with you well after you have eaten the pie, in a really really good way. YUM!
If you do come to the Food Show over the weekend come by and say “HI”. Make sure you taste the two new beers if you haven’t – Lupulingus and Imperium. We also have some 2013 Coffee & Fig for sampling and buy (as it is now hard to find out in the wild).
At the Food Show you can find Epic Beer & Culley’s on stand N4, which is in Hall 1. See you there.
Last night I was in Christchurch doing a six course Epic Degustation Dinner at Pomeroy’s matched with six Epic Beers.
Below is the menu from the evening. Initially I was a little nervous as I had only briefly sat with the chef Brad Kneale and talked through the beers and shared some ideas about flavours and potential matches. This was back in March right before the Great Kiwi Beer Festival.
Since then Brad had worked through a difficult range of beers. Difficult in the way that they offer much bitterness and hop flavour which were a challenge to find a good match for.
Before the evening started I was given a run sheet, with notes about the dishes, some including notes about certain matches that had failed. While this a bit of a worry it inspired some confidence as he had actually tried the beers with the food.
Hop Zombie Salmon smoked in hops, fennel, saffron aioli
Carolina Pulled pork slider, corn avocado and Culley’s Carolina Reaper hot sauce salsa
Hop Zombie was a big call to start the night but it wowed the crowd, along with the smoked salmon
The spiciness of the slider, the tasty pork and the sweetness of the bun, brought out the maltiness of the Amber Ale that is Carolina.
The beef tamed the roasty notes of the Black IPA, and let the hop aromas and flavours shine.
Lamb rump with harissa, so perfectly matched the aggressive spicy notes of the hops in Armageddon. This was my favourite match of the night, and an all time favourite beer and food match
Coffee & Fig impressed just by itself but when matched with the chocolate sauce it took it to another level. But the surprise was putting a little Hot Zombie hopped hot sauce with the chocolate stout sauce was, scary but incredible.
Lager was an odd finish but I always like a challenge, and if it isn’t a little scary then you aren’t pushing the boundaries hard enough. It worked well with the smoked brie and marmalade, but the blue went best with the Coffee & Fig for those who still had a little left in their glass.
Brad was the star of the evening (even though he only appeared from the kitchen for a couple of minutes to the biggest cheer he has probably had in a long time for his food) he totally deserved the praise. There was obviously a great deal of thought that had gone into the beer and food matches. Compared to other beer dinners I have done and attended around the world, this was world-class and on par with some of the best I have been to.
This event continues to show the high calibre of Pomeroy’s beer and food, and as one of the leading craft beer venues in the country.
This morning while sitting at the CHC airport I was reading this article and come across a new fun fact I did not know about beer – beer is 80 to 90 per cent malt. It does make me question how much water is used?