Rugby and racing – Beer and brand disloyalty

Last week’s Malthouse blog covered burgers, brocolli, the Lucky brewery debacle, the three greatest Canadians of all time, “Spiderman” Emerson and Chimay White. It was called “A spirited defence of brand loyalty“:

We would tend to portray the person who eats only corporate burgers and fries as unsophisticated, a little odd and probably quite large. However, the person who drinks nothing but – say – Heineken is seen as a loyal and informed drinker. I simply cannot express the absurdity of this notion any better than noted beer writer and my third favourite Canadian Stephen Beaumont…

In “Rugby, racing and beer“, I take at looking at the baffling appeal of the Melbourne Cup, the cultural theft of Phar Lap, the attempted shooting of Phar Lap, the alledged similarities between American lager and horse by-products, West Coast humour at the expense of DB and Monteith’s Summer Ale:

At 5pm today, millions of otherwise normal and usually horse-racing agnostic Australians and New Zealanders will stop what they are doing, turn on the television, put a silly hat on their head, throw buckets of cash at the TAB and cheer wildly for a large four-legged animal who, yesterday, they had never heard of.

Glass Tip – Malthouse Blog

Beerly Tasting – Lawyers and Belgians

Last Friday I ran an introductory beer tasting at DLA Phillips Fox:

As a warm up to the successful Wellington Ranfurly Shield defence against Otago, I had the chance to run a beer tasting for staff and clients of one of Wellington’s big law firms, DLA Phillips Fox. It was an introductory beer selection which was accompanied by an impressive amount of food including paua fritters, chicken wings and ribs. One corner of the table had a big pile of bones which made it look like the Flintstones had dropped in to try some brews.

The July tradition continues with the annual Belgian Beer Tasting at the Backbencher:

July 21 is Nationale Feestdag. This is, of course, the National Day of Belgium and it celebrates the 178th anniversary of the coronation of King Leopold I. I suspect everyone already knew that. He is not still there obviously but I suspect everyone knew that too. More than just a chance to toast the Belgian monarchy, it is an excuse to settle down and sample some of the very best beers from the land sometimes called “the paradise of beer.”

Beer tastings, so many beer tastings…

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.

Tuatara refutes the decline of the Global Economy and a Tasting

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.

2008 Beer Awards, Imps and Trappists

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.

Beer – The only known cure for a case of the “Mondays”

Here is the full report on the latest tasting session at the Backbencher:

The theme for the September session of the Cellar-Vate beer tasting club was the unique “Dark and Ducky.” This moniker was devised to cover a combination of dark beers and the bottled range from the Dux de Lux. The 50 people in attendance had the Dux beers presented to them by the legendary Dick Fyfe. Given Dux de Lux means “masters of the finest”, I speculated in spectacularly poor Latin that this would make Dick the Dux de Dux de Lux – the master of the masters of the finest. I doubt it will catch on and it would never fit on his business card in any case.

Next, the first ever beer tasting event at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage:

On Friday night, I had the chance to run a fun little beer tasting at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (who I accidentally called the Ministry of Culture and Heritage on the tasting menu and was immediately chastised. You never stop learning in this job.)

Finally, a write up in the Herald of a recent boutique beer tour:

Miller – a beer writer and expert who knows everything you could about beer as well as anyone who matters in the Wellington bar scene – is great company. He must be the only person I’ve met who carries around hops and barley in his bag.

In my defence, I usually only have hops and barley in my bag when I’m running a tour or a tasting!

Beerly Writing – Around the Traps

From The Wellingtonian, the Malthouse gets Captain Cooker and Chimay White on Tap:

Captain James Cook was a sailor, a navigator, an explorer, a cartographer and a brewer. He personally made the first batch of beer in Australasia at Dusky Sound in 1773. The production of beer, which was safer and healthier than water on the ships, was considered so important it was common for the Captain himself to do the brewing. Cook’s recipe is recorded in voluminous detail in his log which also modestly notes the resulting beer was “exceedingly palatable and esteemed by everyone on board.”

From Beer and Brewer magazine, a profile of the one and only Mr Richard Emerson:

I a cruel twist of fate, award-winning brewer Richard Emerson threw away most of the best beer he ever made. He made a beer with Vierka Munich yeast but says it “was terrible to ferment and didn’t taste that great after two months in the bottle.” Needing the bottles, he dumped virtually all the beer down the drain. The two dozen he kept sat forgotten for a year.

The Air New Zealand in-flight magazine Kia Ora has rated Wild about Wellington’s Boutique Beer Tour one of the fifteen coolest short tours in the country.