Beer Haiku Friday and Barrels of Beer

Today’s much-anticipated Beer Haiku Friday describes a beer drinkers paradise. It is called “Variety“:

Dreaming of a place
Where they serve an endless stream
Of various beers

Speaking of beer drinkers paradises*, the latest Malthouse blog looks at the development of barrel-aged beers, talks to three New Zealand brewers who are doing it and profiles the new Moa Barrel Reserve range. The blog is called “Barrels of Beer“:

Epic Journey, two 20-litre barrels of Epic Armageddon which spent six weeks on the Interisland Ferry, were a big hit at Beervana 2009. Their Impish Brewer Luke Nicholas predicts we will see a lot more barrels in use at Beervana 2010. He is a bit of a convert to barrel-aging saying it was “fun and really changed the beer in a way I didn’t expect. It was interesting but also a bit scary and creepy leaving it to the wood. You don’t have that control and there are a lot of unknowns.”

* See what I did there?

Glass Tips – Beer Haiku Daily and the Malthouse blog

Beer Haiku Friday, a New Decade of Quality Beer and The Great Debate: Mild versus Wild

It’s summer – which means rain in Wellington and lightning strikes in Northland, Auckland, Southland, Otago and Dunedin. Here is a beer haiku for all those who have lost power – or are about to – “Power Outage“:

With the power out
I grab a beer from the fridge
And light a candle

Blogging at the Malthouse site has well and truly resumed with two new posts up already. The first covers my top ten Kiwi beer of 2009 and makes three predictions about the future of beer. It is titled “To a Decade of Quality Beer“:

Having looked back longingly at 2009, it is time to look forward eagerly to 2010 and make some bold prediction for the rest of summer. Gazing into my crystal ball (well, actually it is a limited-edition Malthouse glass proposing ‘Cheers For 2010’ filled with Three Boys Golden Ale but the effect is quite similar), I foresee new levels of popularity for cider, wheat beers and pales ales (particularly those in the American style).

Next, a summary of the big debate in world beer, have extreme beers had their day, have Tactical Nuclear Penguins been spotted in New Zealand, Hallertau beers and Burns Nicht this Monday. With apologies to Bear Grylls, the post is titled “Mild vs Wild“:

Sometimes you really want a beer that makes you stop and simply go ‘wow’ – you want a real eye opener, a conversation piece, a beer that you will always remember even though you only ever had a single glass. Lagunitas’ marvellously bouncy Hop Stoopid had this effect on my friend Dean late last year. Other times, however, there is a need for a beer that has character and flavour but which accompanies rather than dominates the conversation – a beer which can facilitate a long chat solving the world’s problems or last through a big sporting event.

Glass Tips – Beer Haiku Daily and Malthouse blog

Beer Tasting on the Water and the Year in Beer (USA)

The final beer tasting results for the year come from the session I ran for Jeff Gray BMW:

December 2009 was the busiest month I have ever had for beer tastings. At the final count, I did ten tastings and two tours over a fifteen day stretch. While many of the locations were familiar (Mac’s Brewery viewing platform, the lounge at Malthouse), others were new and spectacular. The venue for the Jeff Gray BMW Christmas function was the Mana Cruising Club up the coast and I ran a beer appreciation session on the spacious balcony overlooking the ocean (and totally sheltered from the rather boisterous wind thankfully).

An interesting perspective on the “Year in Beer” in America was provided by Joshua M Bernstein from Slash Food:

During the first half of 2009, craft brewing grew 5 percent by volume and 9 percent by dollars, numbers made more astounding when you consider that overall beer sales nose-dived 1.3 percent.

Why are microbreweries bucking the economic trend? It’s a matter of taste. Increasingly, brew drinkers “are attracted to flavor and variety, new and different products and beers made by small, local and independent companies,” says Brewers Association director Paul Gatza.

Glass Tip – Rach from Yellow Brick Road food company (best seafood in the country!)

Beer Haiku Friday and Beer with Sax Appeal

For many, it is the last day of work for the year. This Haiku – Stolen Happy Hour – may sum up how some of you are feeling:

The meeting drags on
The boss steals more and more time
I could be drinking

In the last Malthouse blog of the year, we meet Aussie musician Adam Page and learn of his love for craft beers and seamlessly mixing classic Christmas carols with Rage Against the Machine. It is called “Beer with Sax Appeal“:

Surrounded by a miasma of hop fumes and his trademark bushy beard (which he is going to grow out because “bigger beards are just cooler”), Adam lists his Kiwi beers of choice. He loves Tuatara, Three Boys IPA (“oh hello, it’s nice! Tuatara IPA sales go up when I’m in town”), Renaissance IIPA (“far out, it’s a classic”), Three Boys Oyster Stout (though he takes it personally that the seasons have changed which deprives him of this beer during his current visit) and Epic Armageddon (“unbelievable – like Luke backed up a cement truck full of hops and tipped them into my mouth”).

Glass Tips – Malthouse and Beer Haiku Daily

Beer Haiku Friday and Springing into a Summer of Mayhem

Today’s highly anticipated Beer Haiku is a simple yet touching ode to the wonders of brewing. It is called “Together“:

Put them together
Oh the wonders they contain
Malt yeast hops water

From the Malthouse blog, this post looks at the weather, a summer beer festival, a Rennaissance tasting, the temporary reappearance of one of my favourite beers of all time, new beers from the Yeastie Boys and 8 Wired plus the return of Mayhem and my beer nemesis is back in town. It is titled “Spring into a Summer of Mayhem“:

It is officially Day Two of summer in Wellington and is fair to say that the weather so far has been consistent. Unfortunately, it has been consistently horrible with plenty of rain, strong winds and low temperatures. Anyone would think there was a cricket test scheduled for tomorrow or something. Even some of my green-tinged acquaintances have indicated that a little global warming wouldn’t go amiss at the moment while some of my less charitable friends have accused Al Gore of stealing summer.

Glass Tips – Those hearty froth blowers at Beer Haiku Daily and Malthouse blog

Beerly Tasting – Telecom and DesignX

One of the highlights of last week was a big, energetic tasting at Telecom:

It was a tasting that had pretty much everything: a full range of New Zealand craft beers, over 40 eager participants, a giant plastic pager advertising the event, excellent food matches for every beer from “Iron Chef Jonno”, a close popular vote and, of course, a guy in a full lion suit called “Mr Lion Brown” who had a bottle opener attached to his tail.

Last night I had the chance to run a fun little tasting for a ‘book club with a view’ which was organised by DesignX:

High in the hills of Northland (the Wellington suburb rather than the northern most region of New Zealand) I ran a beer tasting for a “book club”. Like most “book clubs” around the country, there was no reading involved but there was a lot of banter and good humour. It was hosted and organised by innovative web design company DesignX. The intention was to sample an introductory range of New Zealand craft beers, enjoy some snacks and marvel at one of the best panoramic views I’ve had at a tasting.

Glass Tip – Centre City Wines and Spirits for the supplies

Beer Haiku Friday and Mayhem Achieved, Boredom Relieved

From Beer Haiku Daily, a wonderful poem about a wonderful beer. It is called “Duvel“:

Billowy white cloud
Looms over splendid sunshine
The Devil smiles

From the Malthouse Blog, this week’s post covers dictionaries, imps, hops, mayhem, more hops, brewing philosophies, an inability to do subtle, more hops again, Saint Andrews Day and… free whisky? It is all in “Mayhem Achieved, Boredom Relieved“:

In a revelation that ranks right up there with ‘sun rises in the morning’ and ‘Jacob Oram is injured’, Luke Nicholas confesses “I love flavours, especially hops. Subtlety isn’t something I am good at. I like to turn up the flavours.” Various entrepreneurs should consider manufacturing a range of “subtlety isn’t something I am good at” t-shirts. I would certainly buy one.

Glass Tips – Those excellent dudes at Beer Haiku Daily and the fine fellows at Malthouse dot com

Beerly Tasting – Stats and Met Service

Here is the report from the recent tasting at Statistics NZ:

Over the years, Statistics New Zealand has been one of my most regular and favourite beer tasting clients. Last night, I ran my seventh tasting for their staff club. As usual, it was raining. That did not deter thirty two participants who seemed to enjoy trying a range of Kiwi craft beers. The offerings included some of the last Smokin’Bishop in the city. This year’s Three Boys Golden was also making its first appearance at one of my sessions.

That same busy week, I ran my first tasting up at the Met Service:

Last night I ran a beer tasting for the social club up at the Met Service. The venue was perched at the very top of the Kelburn hills and the room was filled with over 30 eager participants. I put together an introductory menu but it was only much later that it was (correctly) suggested to me that including Dux de Lux Nor’ Wester Pale Ale or Sou’ Wester Stout would have been both appropriate and tasty. However, this event did give me the chance to list my Facebook status as “off to run a beer tasting at the Met Service. The forecast is for ale storms.”

The results of the popular vote each night are in the reports.

Putting Beer in Context and A Tasting Report

From the Malthouse blog, a post on “Beer in its proper context” which covers why Fiji Bitter tastes better in Fiji, (Sir) Jeremy Clarkson on Chinese beer and details of the new beers coming on tap in October (including the debut from Golden Ticket):

The thing is, it was exactly the same (awful) beer but they were also quite right that it tasted much better in Fiji. Why precisely that was the case quickly became clear when I enquired about how they drank the beer in Fiji. Essentially, they all drank ice-cold Fiji Bitter in the hot sun, by the pool, relaxing on holiday while being waited on by someone young, attractive and largely naked.

In contrast, the Fiji Bitter they had in Wellington was served cool-ish, the rain was lashing against the spartan meeting room’s windows, it had been a busy working week and the beer was being served by a husky chap in a Hawaiian shirt. It is all about context.

Last week I braved blizzards and public transport to run a beer tasting out at Wallaceville:

I ran my first beer tasting in Upper Hutt last week. It was for the Social Society out at the biosecurity complex in Wallaceville and it turned out to be a great night despite Wellington producing some of the worst weather of the year. What happened to spring and global warming Mr Gore? Anyway, the idea was to offer up an introductory selection of New Zealand craft beer to an audience which contained more than one person who initially thought they ‘didn’t like beer.’

Beer Awards and Beer Tasting

The biggest week on the New Zealand beer calendar is over. The BrewNZ Beer Awards attracted a record number of entries while Beervana attracted a record number of attendees. The winners were honoured at the awards dinner last Thursday and the full results are now up on the Brewer’s Guild website. The highlight of the evening was Emerson’s Brewing Company being crowned Champion Brewery 2009.

Pre-Beervana, I had the pleasure of running a beer tasting for the diplomatic folks at MFAT:

The role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been occasionally described by outsiders as ‘drinking for one’s country.’ It was therefore slightly surprising that it had been a couple of years since I had last run a beer tasting session for the MFAT social club. The organiser of the previous event is, rather ironically, now posted to a completely dry country though I’m sure there is no causal relationship.

Finally, to the hundreds of correspondents who almost over-loaded the Real Beer server with emails wanting to know what happened to Beer Haiku Friday, you will be pleased to learn that normal service will resume this week.