The Kapiti Food Fair is on Saturday and will showcase a range of great food, beer and wine from the region which is known as Wellington’s Food Basket. Over 5,000 visitors attended this event last year. The 2009 Fair features cooking demonstrations from professional chefs (including Martin Bosley, a local) as well as beer and wine appreciation sessions.
The Beer Boys Beer Appreciation workshops will be conducted by beer writer Neil Miller. This will comprise tastings and commentry on top award winning New Zealand Boutique Beers (including Tuatara, Epic and Croucher).
The Wine Wizards workshops are to be presented by Ex Tall Black, travel and wine writer John Saker.
Saturday 5 December 2009 from 10 am to 3pm
Whitireia Community Polytechnic Kapiti Campus
Lindale Exit, State Highway 1, Paraparaumu
Full details are on their website.
From the Wellingtonian, my article on the “trouble brewing over the oldest pub claim“:
It is an article of faith for Wellingtonians that the Thistle Inn on Mulgrave Street is the oldest pub in the country. After all, it was built way back in 1840 and, until the harbour was reclaimed in 1876, sat right on the shoreline. The Thistle has poured pints for parched sailors, sundry Governor-Generals and, according to legend, Te Rauparaha himself.
Over at the Malthouse blog, in the spirit of true blogging we throw the floor open to real people (and accountants) for their take on the best beers in the fridge. Welcome to the first “People’s Blog“:
A conveniently unknown author once wrote that “a blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list.” Blogs can polarise readers perhaps more than any other medium. John Jay Hooker, veteran political gadfly, is on record as saying “I sincerely believe blogging can save America.” National Business Review publisher Barry Coleman does not believe it will even save New Zealand.
Finally, I love this sign spotted recently outside Hope Bros in Wellington: “Urgent! Customers needed. No experience needed. Apply within.”
Glass Tip for the sign – Peter McCaffery
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.
When it comes to success in the art of beer making, brand recognition can mean everything, so the significance of winning a slot at a British ale festival dubbed “the world’s biggest” is not lost on Kiwi brewer Luke Nicholas.
Over the next fortnight, the Poms will be sipping their way through 100,000 pints of multi-award-winning Epic Pale Ale after the 38-year-old was invited to showcase his brew at the International Real Ale Festival.
Epic’s founder and head brewer has landed one of only six international taps at the annual event hosted by British pub giant JD Wetherspoon which he says could provide the company with the springboard it needs to maximise its potential.
“The Wetherspoon chain has 720 pubs and my batch will be selling in all of them overnight that’s more than twice the number of outlets I can get into here,” Mr Nicholas said.
“Of course, it’s not just about selling the beer. It’s about seeking publicity, pursuing potential avenues, exploiting brand recognition and putting Epic on the map something that’s not easy back home.”
In my first Wellingtonian column of the year, I have a look back at my locals over the years and in particular the recently refurbished Featherston Tavern. The column is called “Ruffling Some Feathers“:
It is apparently compulsory for all marketing and communications professionals to spend a lot of time in bars and our regular was The Feathers on, unsurprisingly, Featherston Street. This was a friendly place but a bit threadbare round the edges. The decor would not have been out of place in an old episode of Emmerdale Farm.
Glass Tip – The Wellingtonian
It’s a sad fact that one of this country’s most highly awarded beers of recent times, Epic Pale Ale, is available from just 250 outlets. Soon, however, that number is set to quadruple to around 1000; but it won’t be Kiwis benefiting.
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.
The event will take place at Waitangi Park in Wellington in February, before returning to its birthplace at Auckland’s Ellerslie Racecourse in March.
The New Zealand Beer Festival is less about swilling the cheap stuff, than it is craft brewing, featuring the likes of the hop-laden (15 per bottle) Epic Pale Ale and Mexicali’s chili beer.’
Tickets for the Auckland and Wellington festivals go on sale from nine a.m on Thursday from Liquorland and www.iticket.co.nz
This is a reminder that the Great Christchurch Beer Festival 2008 takes place this Saturday (Election Day) at the most excellent The Twisted Hop in Christchurch (6 Poplar Street) from 11am to 11pm. Admission is free and there will be a BBQ and live music. More importantly, the beer list looks awesome:
Pink Elephant Mammoth
TTH Skull Buggery
Mussel Inn Bitter Ass
Emersons Brewers Reserve
TTH Twisted Ankle
Galbraiths Mr G’s
Epic Pale Ale
Brew Moon Dark Side Stout
Lighthouse Dick’s Dark
Green Man Pils
TTH Golding Bitter
Harringtons Rogue Hop
Three Boys Golden
Sadly, I won’t be able to attend because I will be judging at the Great New Zealand Sausage Competition. It will take a little explaining to the electoral flunkies about why I want to cast an early vote…
In other news, a new low-carb beer has entered the market with the recent launch of Export 33. It joins Spring Tide and Haagen Blonde in this growing market segment.
The final three Salient columns for 2008 begin with a review of the Best Beers in the Land:
It is a simple fact that the winners of proper competitions are decided by proper judges. Text voting from the masses probably makes “New Zealand’s Got Talent”, Telecom and Vodafone truck loads of money each week but the results are hardly based on merit. By reducing the judging to a phone-in popularity contest, an expert’s considered verdict is worth exactly the same as “Sonny” from Victoria who texts in “OMG tht dancin dog tht thru up on stage wuz the coolest! LULZ 2008!!! Vote Labour!”
Then, an objective look at the Best Places to Drink Beer in Wellington:
One of the best aspects of being a beer writer – apart from the master key to every brewery in the country and being called a “hero” in a letter to the editor – is all the research. Now, the extensive research required for beer writing is not like legal research (“find the case of the person who first got shafted by this particular law”), chemistry research (“record precisely what time you caught fire”), political research (“rephrase Nicky Hager in your own words for extra credit”) or even sociology research (“Wikipedia does so count as an academic source”).
Finally, the final Salient beer column pompously titled Some sober reflections on beer:
After an introduction so tangential it would make Professor Nigel S Roberts exclaim “my word, what an awfully tangential introduction,” it is time to announce that this is my final beer column for Salient. Perhaps next year another writer will step into the breach and produce three-part exposes on “Flame Beer – Why it Rocks.” Judging from the mailbag, there is a strong demand for that article from at least one student with a blue crayon and poor spelling.
Glass Tip: Salient Magazine