Reprinted from the Wellingtonian, my latest column titled “Hatching a new Tuatara“:
With the expansion completed, Carl is turning his formidable brewing brain to more new offerings and is planning some special big brews. These, he says, could include a stout, a “nice American Pale Ale” or a “big Belgian triple on the yeast, champagne corked and wired so it would age.”
This week I also ran a beer tasting for The Treasury:
It was in the hallowed halls of The Treasury that I ran my first ever beer tasting. The year was 2003 and the big worry then was bird flu rather than swine flu. How far we have come. It was attended by exactly eight people and around half the beers we tried that night are no longer brewed today. It was a very different event last night when twenty people sat down to a value for money buffet and, more importantly, to taste six New Zealand craft brews.
Last week I ran the second annual beer tasting for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage:
I made a mistake – the same mistake as last year. According to my carefully designed beer menu, I was running a tasting at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. Such an august body does not exist and indeed never has in New Zealand. It is the Ministry for Culture and Heritage though in my defence even the former Prime Minister used to make the same mistake though she probably didn’t have it pointed out to her in the same way I did. Any insinuation that there is a Ministry of Culture and Heritage is erroneous, untrue and quite possible flocculent.
Last night I attended the launch of Mac’s new winter beer Solstice:
Mac’s Solstice is a five malt beer, fermented from a mix of Pale malt, Vienna malt, caramalt, Dark Crystal and Chocolate malt. The Hop component comes from southern Cross and Fuggles, while Horopito adds some mouth-warming clove and pepper aromas.
On friday night I ran a beer tasting for the good people at Telecom and the report and results are now up on the site:
The hardest aspect of last Friday’s beer tasting was finding the right building. There are five identical units on the site and I spent several awkward minutes in the wrong one. After locating the correct Telecom office, I had the chance to talk thirty enthusiastic punters through a selection of Kiwi craft beers and an iconic Belgian strong ale. One of the staff even produced some great food matches for the beers with his culinary feat made all the impressive by the fact he had to Google a few of the beers to because he’d never heard of them.
The night before I had run my third tasting at Thomson Reuters and the results are also in:
It is always a good sign when a company starts calling their beer tastings “an annual event.” Last Thursday I visited Thomson Reuters to run their third annual tasting session. As always, their questions and comments kept me on my toes as we worked through a selection of New Zealand craft beers and the traditional big Belgian closer. At the end of the evening the popular vote was very close with one beer making the podium for the very first time.
From the Malthouse blog, an update on the speedy evolution of Tuatara Brewery and some political jokes in “Tuatara refutes the decline of the Global Economy“:
This means that, theoretically speaking, a mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex (if they still existed, which they don’t) could today go to a Police line-up and easily recognise a humble Tuatara (if the Tuatara had done something illegal, which seems unlikely). The Tuatara is, in many ways, an eloquent rebuttal to the old adage “evolve or die” having seen many of its proudly evolutionary colleagues completely disappear (The Moa, The Dodo, Georgie Pie and the Progressive Party to name but four).
Continuing the economic theme, over at Real Beer NZ there is a report from my latest tasting at Baldwins:
One of the lesser-known economic side-effects of the global recession is a growing interest in corporate beer tastings as a social event which is both different and doesn’t break the bank. On Friday, I ran a one-hour tasting for twenty five people at Baldwin’s law firm in central Wellington. It was an introductory style tasting menu with all the beers receiving good support.
Glass Tip – PJ O’Rourke for the title.
The May Cellar Vate beer tasting looked at “Winter Warmers” in appropiately wintery conditions:
The theme of this beer tasting – Winter Warmers – was selected as the last vestiges of autumn still lay snugly over the Capital. By the time the anointed time arrived, the weather had conveniently provided a week of cold, gales and rain to really set the scene for a selection of darker, stronger, warming beers. Forty people tried a range of dark lagers, porters, stouts and dubbels in the Cabinet Room at the Backbencher.
Over at the Malthouse blog, the latest post, “Lets talk about beer“, looks at the subtle art of beer writing and Cooper’s Stout:
Liquor aficionado Frank Kelly Rich once penned a thoughtful piece on why beer appreciation (or “beer snobbery” as he called it) was superior in virtually every way to wine snobbery. Of course, Mr Rich considers anyone who drinks out of a glass rather than a furtive paper bag to be a bit of snob really. Fundamentally, he argued that beer snobs had it better because the dress code was more casual, there was no need to learn French and you could basically make everything up because no-one really knows what they are talking about when it comes to beer.
Glass Tips – The Backbencher and The Malthouse
In big brewing news, Tuatara are launching their first new beer in several years at the Malthouse in Wellington tonight. The beer is Tuatara Helles and the details are in the latest Malthouse blog post aptly titled “Fancy a pint of the new Tuatara?“:
The two sweetest words in the English Language, according to Homer J Simpson, philosopher, role model and pneumatic cerevisaphile, are “de fault”. However, I tend to think that Pete Brown, beer writer, global pub crawler and all-round bearded bloke, has it right when he suggests that “fancy a pint” is about the most appealing invitation you can get which involves remaining fully dressed.
Last night the Cellar Vate beer tasting group sampled some of the best ales from around New Zealand (and Tui). The full report and results are up now:
The April session of the Cellar-Vate Beer Club was a search for New Zealand’s best ale. Forty people tasted ales new and old brewed in a mix of contemporary and classic styles. They also tried Tui, a self-proclaimed East India Pale Ale, to see how it stacked up against the real stuff.
Things at the Real Beer Blog have been a bit quiet of late with Luke working in England, me being in Melbourne and Greig living in Hamilton. However, with the Impish Brewer back on board with 1,374 photos and 877 tweets about his brewing and quaffing exploits still to post, there should be a lot more activity here in coming weeks.
To kick things off, my latest Wellingtonian column looks at the unlamented demise of POD and the new Green Man pub which comes complete with moose shooting mayhem:
POD was a restaurant which never suffered from self-confidence issues but perhaps should have. It was pretentious without actually being any good and had so little atmosphere you may as well have been dining on the moon or, even worse, at Eden Park.
Finally, a write up of the recent Cellar Vate tasting of English beers where 4 proper English beers went up against 4 antipodean pretenders:
As much as it may pain us to admit it, New Zealand owes much of its beer culture and beer history to England. It was Englishman Captain James Cook who brewed the first beer in Australasia and for many years our breweries produced their own colonial takes on classic British beer styles.
Glass Tips – The Wellingtonian and Cellar Vate
Always the biggest tasting session of the year, Belgian Beers at Cellar-Vate:
While some of the 45 keen people packed in the Cabinet Room at the Backbencher may have been marking the national day of Belgium, I suspect more were attracted by a top notch beer list from the land known as “the paradise of beer”. The fact that there was only one beer under 8% did not seem to put any one off!
Tonight I ran a tasting at Statistics New Zealand on what turned out to be a (surprisingly) stunning Wellington evening:
It was also lucky that was it was the people in this organisation who were asked to equally share seventeen bottles of “The Hef” between 36 tasters. That would have stumped many less arithmetical organisations.
Finally, beer makes it to writer and photographer Adrienne Rewi’s blog!
The June session of the Cellar Vate beer tasting club looked at New Beers:
The June session of the Cellar Vate Beer Club took a look at a range of new beers. These were beers which have been recently arrived or have just arrived in New Zealand. No errant politicians interrupted the tasting this month which was a great relief.
I also ran a tasting at a company with a rapidly improving beer fridge, the famous Studio Pacific Architecture:
I’ve run beer tastings in breweries and board rooms, on top of a hill and around a pool but probably my favourite venue is still Studio Pacific Architecture in Wellington. Yet from the street, all that is visible is a door and some stairs.
Finally, some sad news for those us with a secret fondess for those bus stop beers, British MPs are looking to clamp down on super-strength lagers:
Fifty MPs have now signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) urging the Government to impose higher excise duty on super-strength lagers.
The May Cellar Vate tasting was all about Winter Warmers and Imps:
It was appropriately freezing for the May Cellar Vate Beer Tasting which involved sampling a range of Winter Warmers. On the whole, winter beers tend to be darker, relatively robust and can have spices added for warmth and flavour. Often labeled “Winter Warmers”, English beer writer Michael Jackson rightly reminded us that winter beers “are as much a state of mind as a style.”
Next was a great little tasting at Thomsons:
On Thursday, I was delighted to return to the Thomson Corporation to present their second annual beer tasting to a great crowd. The quality of their beer fridge had dramatically lifted after the 2007 session and this time they wanted to try an even wider range of beer styles.
Finally for today, a tasting at The Treasury:
The theme of the tasting was a broad sample of styles but, given the date, a State of Origin twist was considered. Unfortunately, this was hampered by the distinct lack of quality beers available here from New South Wales and particularly Queensland.