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 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.

High on hops: Pale Ales

About a year and a half ago I discovered real beer. Not this cold, wet, tasteless swill that pretends to be beer. But real beer that tastes of malt and hops – or in the beers I tend to like hops, hops and more hops. I’m a hophead. And that’s why I love Pale Ales. Originally the term Pale Ale meant any ale (as opposed to lager) that was lighter in colour but over the last few years it has shrunk to define a subset of beer styles that share three characteristics – moderate alcohol levels (from about 5%), a pale colour ranging from amber to copper and noticeable hop flavour profile.

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Beerly Tasting – Lawyers and Belgians

Last Friday I ran an introductory beer tasting at DLA Phillips Fox:

As a warm up to the successful Wellington Ranfurly Shield defence against Otago, I had the chance to run a beer tasting for staff and clients of one of Wellington’s big law firms, DLA Phillips Fox. It was an introductory beer selection which was accompanied by an impressive amount of food including paua fritters, chicken wings and ribs. One corner of the table had a big pile of bones which made it look like the Flintstones had dropped in to try some brews.

The July tradition continues with the annual Belgian Beer Tasting at the Backbencher:

July 21 is Nationale Feestdag. This is, of course, the National Day of Belgium and it celebrates the 178th anniversary of the coronation of King Leopold I. I suspect everyone already knew that. He is not still there obviously but I suspect everyone knew that too. More than just a chance to toast the Belgian monarchy, it is an excuse to settle down and sample some of the very best beers from the land sometimes called “the paradise of beer.”

Tuatara refutes the decline of the Global Economy and a Tasting

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.

The Thursday Pint – Tuatara’s New Drop and Ale Tasting

In big brewing news, Tuatara are launching their first new beer in several years at the Malthouse in Wellington tonight. The beer is Tuatara Helles and the details are in the latest Malthouse blog post aptly titled “Fancy a pint of the new Tuatara?“:

The two sweetest words in the English Language, according to Homer J Simpson, philosopher, role model and pneumatic cerevisaphile, are “de fault”. However, I tend to think that Pete Brown, beer writer, global pub crawler and all-round bearded bloke, has it right when he suggests that “fancy a pint” is about the most appealing invitation you can get which involves remaining fully dressed.

Last night the Cellar Vate beer tasting group sampled some of the best ales from around New Zealand (and Tui). The full report and results are up now:

The April session of the Cellar-Vate Beer Club was a search for New Zealand’s best ale. Forty people tasted ales new and old brewed in a mix of contemporary and classic styles. They also tried Tui, a self-proclaimed East India Pale Ale, to see how it stacked up against the real stuff.

Mystery ale sparkles despite lack of fizz

It’s not your average message in a bottle, but its contents got the noses and palates of Blenheim’s beer boffins mildly aroused.

But somebody, for whatever reason, discarded a bottle of the amber fluid on the Wairau Hospital grounds presumably decades ago. During excavations for the hospital redevelopment the bottle was found one and a half metres underground by excavator Owen Kennedy of Simcox Construction.

The Marlborough Express asked our beer expert Geoff Griggs for his opinion on the bottle’s age and viability.

“It might taste OK,” he said. “After all beer, like wine, should be cellared at a cool, even temperature, away from light.” The bottle was embossed with the ABC logo, the Auckland Bottle Company which had bottled beer since the early 1920s. Mr Griggs suggested a tasting might be in order so enlisted the help of the brewers from Renaissance Brewery.

But exposure to the air may have been too much for the old bottle, as the fizz was now gone. Peeling the corroded cap off, Mr Griggs noted the carbonation had already evaporated through a rusty hole. “I’ve got an idea this isn’t going to be pleasant.”

First impressions of the brew drew comments from Mr Griggs like, “some sherry quality”, “like chewing on cardboard”. Brewer Andy Dewchars’ verdict? “Not particularly pleasant but not terrible.”

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Land of Hops and Glory

There are few things in the history of the world more satisfying than a good beer festival. On the 5th May the Hops and Glory festival was held in Upper Moutere. It is the brain child of real ale enthusiasts Martin Townshend, Andrew Cole and Kieron Lattimer.

Kieron was kind enough to supply the following report:

Approx 350 were at the beer tasting (sober drivers and non-beer drinkers weren’t charged entry so we don’t know exact attendance).

The majority of the attendees were from the immediate local area (rather than Nelson itself) and over 100 signed up to the “Hops and Glory” email link.

The event also attracted people from the local tourism/restaurant industry who wanted to check out alternatives to mainstream beers – very encouraging!

Beers from 10 South Island brewers were available – including “The Twisted Hop” and “The Townshend Brewery” – the only Real Ale Breweries in the South Island. 140 litres of Real Ale alone sold out in less than two hours! (many thanks to “The Twisted Hop” for providing the three beer engines for the night – people were mesmerised watching the beer being pulled and loved watching it swirl and settle in the glass).

Full list of Brewers/beers

Lighthouse – Dick’s Dark, Pilsner
Founder’s – Generation Ale
Mussel Inn – Captain Cooker Manuka Beer, Apple Roughy Cider
Pink Elephant – Golden Tusker
Renaissance – Perfection Pale Ale
Emerson’s – Pilsner
Townshend – Dinner Ale, Number 9
Twisted Hop – Challenger
Three Boys – Wheat Beer
Tasman Brewing Co – Best Bitter, Tasman Lager

The event also got a great deal of attention from the print media – (Nelson Mail, The Press, Malborough Express, Nelson Leader, Motuka-Golden Bay News) – the best of these will soon be displayed on our website.

The next event is planned for Spring 2007

Any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me or any of the other guys involved.

Cheers – Kieron Lattimer

This sounds like an absolutely fantastic event and the organisation deserve our congratulations. I for one plan to be there for Hops and Glory II!