(Belated) Beer Haiku Friday and Beer, Civilisation and Politics Explained

There is over a week to go but planning is already underway for Superbowl Monday. Details are yet to be worked out but it involves American craft beer and cheese burgers. To celebrate, today’s Beer Haiku is called “Superbowl Traditions“:

Beer, food, and football
Surrounded by family
Watching commercials

At the Malthouse Blog, the latest post explains why beer created civilisation which in turn created politics, then asks every political leader in New Zealand for their favourite and gets a 100% response rate, the favoured beers of our political elite are then revealed in a world exclusive. It is called “Beer, Civilisation and Politics“:

Last year, this blog literally stumbled over a media report on a British website claiming that Prime Minister John Key’s favourite beer was Bath Gem, a tasty ale from Bristol. Always thirsty for the truth, we decided to test this theory and directly ask the Prime Minister for his favourite beer. In the interests of balance and impartiality, the same question was put to the leaders of every political party currently represented in the New Zealand Parliament. They all provided answers and these are reproduced in full below.

Glass Tips – Beer Haiku Daily and 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

The Top Ten Beers of 2009 – According to Neil Miller

In what is quickly becoming an annual tradition, I have compiled a list of my top ten New Zealand beers of the year. It appeared first in the Wellingtonian newspaper and is titled “Top Ten Beers of 2009“:

December is the time that columnists reflect on the preceding year and make the traditional spurious “best of” lists. This column is no exception. Here then are my ten best beers of 2009 with last year’s rankings shown in brackets. The list clearly reflects my taste for big hoppy beers but, while they may be hard to find, every beer is well worth trying.

Hoppy New Year!

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 A Long Hard Dispassionate Look At the Craft Beer Scene

Today’s Beer Haiku is called “A Frickin Miracle” and sums up the Friday mindset for many nicely:

He left for the bar
At exactly 5 o’clock
Against all the odds

In the latest Malthouse blog, I debate revolution versus evolution, quote Mao, Lloyd George and Michael Jackson, mix metaphors, present a thought-provoking piece from a Kiwi working in a US craft brewery and identify one of my beer finds of the year. It is titled simply “A Long Hard Dispassionate Look at the Craft Beer Scene

the same debate rages today around lifting beer appreciation. Should elevating a drinker from Tui quaffer to Tuatara connoisseur take a single big sip or a thousand little tastes? The simple fact is that few Heineken fans or Steinlager followers or Radler lovers are going to be instantly converted to a bottle-conditioned American Pale Ale, a wild-fermented sour raspberry beer or a 32% double barrelled imperial stout which has spent three weeks at -20 degrees to help increase its alcoholic strength. * These drinkers need be encouraged and supported to work up to better beers step by step.

Glass Tip – Those wonderful chaps at Beer Haiku Daily and the fine folks at the Malthouse site

More tastings with a view and Tactical Nuclear Penguins

At another beer tasting with a view, the MSO Design tasting last week generated the most extraordinary results in years:

The usual vote was anything but usual. There was a clear winner on the first ballot but a record three beers were initially tied for second. A further run-off vote failed to separate them with the beers again tied. The only option was to declare all three tied for second place – a first in over five years of these tasting sessions.

Delightfully deranged Scottish brewers BrewDog have claimed the world record for strongest beer with their new 32% leviathan Tactical Nuclear Penguin. The full release (including authenication of alcoholic strength is on their website:

The Antarctic name inducing schizophrenia of this uber-imperial stout originates from the amount of time it spent exposed to extreme cold. This beer began life as a 10% imperial stout 18 months ago. The beer was aged for 8 months in an Isle of Arran whisky cask and 8 months in an Islay cask making it our first double cask aged beer. After an intense 16 month, the final stages took a ground breaking approach by storing the beer at -20 degrees for three weeks to get it to 32%.

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 Promoting – Kapiti Food Fair

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.

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