Beer history and the future of beer

From the Wellingtonian, the debate over the country’s oldest pub rages on and a retracing of a historic pub crawl reveals how much Wellington has changed. The full column is titled”Historic Thistle Inn claimes challenged“:

It was never likely that a single column would determine once and for all whether the Thistle Inn or the Upper Moutere Inn was the country’s oldest pub. In fact, last month’s column seems to have stirred up even more debate with a number of other contenders also claiming that honour.

Over at the Malthouse blog, the latest post discusses the relative merits of Oktoberfest and the new Octoberbest festivals. The post is called “Move over Oktoberfest, here comes Octoberbest“:

If proof was ever needed that Oktoberfest is actually a pretty classy event, look no further than the organiser’s decision in 2007 to ban serial oxygen-thief Paris Hilton. The official reason was that Paris “cheapened” the festival in 2006 with her attendance but the real reason was perhaps that she had used her time at the festival to run an advertising campaign for canned wine.

Glass Tips – The Wellingtonian and Malthouse Blog

Some light reading before beer o’clock

From the Wellingtonian, my latest column on the world’s largest fair, Oktoberfest:

German beer has a deservedly fine reputation around the world. Their voluntary adherence to the world’s oldest food standard (the Bavarian Beer Purity Laws of 1516) ensures that only malt, hops, yeast and water are used in their beers. Additive-free beers were not invented by Steinlager Pure in 2007.

Continuing the Oktoberfest theme but taking it a oddly magnificent direction, a report from the latest Cellar Vate tasting:

This month’s tasting at the Backbencher had a genuinely unique theme – Moa-toberfest!

Will Moa-toberfest be the next big thing? What is Moa-toberfest anyway?

Biofuels to blame as beer prices soar 40 per cent in Germany

Biofuels may be good for the environment, but they are bad news for German beer drinkers. Prices in the country’s pubs look set to rise by 40 per cent this year, because Germany’s farmers are growing less barley for beer production and more crops for biodiesel and bioethanol.

The head of the German brewers’ association, Richard Weber, has caused outrage among friends of the annual Oktoberfest beer jamboree by predicting the hefty price rise. He pointed out that the German barley crop has been halved this year and that prices have soared by 50 per cent within 12 months. Poor-quality harvests, caused by unusually hot weather, have not helped either.

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