Beerly Writing – Beers that demand attention and Brewjolais

From The Wellingtonian, my column on (helping) to make Mac’s Brewjolais 2009. It is called “World First Wellington Beer“:

I made a beer. Well, technically I helped make a beer by taking notes and snapping pictures while other people did all the actual work. My sole responsibility was to check the map and figure out how much we would miss the Cook Strait Ferry by. The answer was one minute.

Over at the Malthouse blog, the latest post covers beers that stand out in a crowded market, sneaking, oysters, Australian breweries and, eventually, King Cobra. The post is entitled “Getting the Drinker’s Attention“:

Most beer writers are not genetically constructed to be proficient at sneaking. It turns out that I am particularly poor at sneaking quietly through beer festivals. My plan was to conduct a quiet reconnoitre of the sprawling Beer and Brewer Expo in the Melbourne Showgrounds. There were a lot of brands that were unfamiliar to me and, after I had run my three beer and cheese sessions, I wanted to ensure I used my seventeen or so hours on site effectively.

A mixed pack of beer

From the Wellingtonian, the latest column takes a close look at beer festivals and (eventually) previews this weeks Beervana event:

Perhaps the most auspicious story – and it may even be true – is that we played a small part in getting Speight’s Pilsner and Porter made commercially. Apparently, Speight’s had decided if the beers sold out by the end of the day, they would be green-lighted. At the official close, both were still pouring but the good doctor and I managed to place ourselves in such a way we could clandestinely top up our glasses as the clean-up began. I finished the last of the Pilsner, he exhausted the Porter and the beers later appeared on the market.

This is the article I still cannot believe I managed to get paid to write – my combined weaknesses of “Beer and Fondue” from the excellent Beer and Brewer magazine:

The humble fondue is alternatively derided as a laughable 70s throwback and then acclaimed as the next great leap forward in up-market gastronomy. Despite the vagaries of fashion, there has always been something very sociable about sitting around a warm pot eating melted cheese. That is perhaps why virtually every household in Australasia will have owned a fondue set at some time. Personally, I still have six.

At the August Cellar-Vate tasting, the theme was Beers of Asia:

Because of availability issues in New Zealand, the menu tended to focus on the pale lager style but it did include the superb King Cobra and the Official Beer of the Summer Olympics 2008. It also has a beer quote from Confucius. Epic Zen!