Beer Haiku Friday and Tasting at the Backbencher

Beer Haiku Friday exposes the best way to watch the fireworks with a poem called, unsurprisingly, “Fireworks“:

at my secret spot
with a wagon full of beer
watching fireworks

The October Backbencher beer tasting had the theme “Best of Brew NZ“:

The October Backbencher beer tasting had a “Best of Brew NZ” theme. A number of senior MPs were spotted in the immediate vicinity though they were probably present for the filming of “Backbenchers” (TVNZ 7) rather than the beer. There were over 370 entries in this year’s Brew NZ Beer Awards and only 23% of them received medals. This month’s selection showcased a range of medal winning beers accompanied by some fine food matches from the kitchen.

Glass Tips – Beer Haiku Daily and Backbencher

Lion starts consultation on job losses

Lion Breweries kicks off consultation with employees today at Canterbury Breweries, where up to 24 jobs are on the line.

New Zealand’s largest brewer is building a $250 million beer manufacturing, contract bottling and warehousing plant at East Tamaki, Auckland, which will have an impact on what other production it needs around the country.

Canterbury Draught, Guinness, Steinlager Pure and some of the Mac’s range are brewed in Canterbury.

Speight’s in Dunedin was a regional exception, however, with a national and international reputation, and was produced in Dunedin and Auckland.

In Auckland, consultation had begun in April and up to 45 jobs out of 148 were likely to go at the Kyber Pass brewery as production was shifted over the next year to East Tamaki.

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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!

Beerly Writing – As Salient as Ever

In a recent beer column for Salient magazine, I profiled the Founder’s range of beers:

Finding a beer which is environmentally friendly, certified organic, vegan, GE-free and kosher is not quite as hard as it may sound. The entire Founder’s range of beer from Nelson fit the bill perfectly.

There is also a survey of New Zealand’s growing Lager Frenzy:

While we may claim to have had “a few quiet ales” the night before, the chances are that most, if not all, of those “ales” were really lagers. Even Speight’s Gold Medal Ale and Tui East India Pale Ale are lagers.

Finally, a visit to the Wellington Show revealed several New Beers:

The Food Show was the first time I’d ever even heard of the Storm Brewery in Bali. While most Asian breweries focus exclusively on light lagers, Storm makes a wide range of ales, many of them are bottle conditioned. The Storm Pale Ale (4.2%) was surprisingly fresh, fruity and refreshing.

120,000 NZ men applied to go on Speight’s boat – WTF

“6% of all New Zealand men applied online to accompany the working Speight’s Alehouse on its journey to London.”

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WTF – can this be true, and if so what kind of country do I live in where this many people of this intellect have access to a computer. Maybe they should all be offered a boat trip to London

Speight’s Summit Lager. Don’t mess with nature

Speight’s is proud to introduce Speight’s Summit Lager, an exciting new addition to the iconic Speight’s brand.

One of NZ’s purest beers
Brewed with only natural ingredients and no artificial additives or preservatives
Smooth flavoured golden lager
Embodies the spirit of the modern Southern Man

Brewed with only natural ingredients, Speight’s Summit Lager is a smooth flavoured lager made from malted barley, hops, yeast, water and cane sugar. It is completely free of artificial additives and preservatives. With the addition of the Pacific Hallertau hop variety added late in the brew, Speight’s Summit Lager delivers a smooth, crisp and refreshing taste.

Full Press Release

Seeing New Zealand the Right Way

I recently met a very cool American guy called Kurt who was touring New Zealand in search of adventures and good beers. He has been keeping a bit of a journals of his travels:

headed north and made my way to Queenstown, on a lake in the southern alps (Misty Mountains). pretty awesome. parked the Falcon at a camping park in town just at the base of a mountain. took the gondola up to the peak and had a few beers just soaking in the Misty Mountains. went out to Dux Delux for some Black Shag Stout, then a pizza at Missi’s, then some beers at the Minibar, which has a huge selection. quiet sunday night. tonight I go to a Haka demonstration and then dinner at the peak. cool little town Queenstown is. headquarters for adrenaline activities (bungy, rafting, jetboating, skiing, lumberjacking, shoving sheep off of cliffs (with a kilt, naturally))…no snow except for the peaks, just prior to the season, but it is still very cold!

Click here to read his account of his adventures and beers down south in all its unedited glory.

Lion Nathan to build new $250m brewery

The new Auckland facility was expected to be up and running in about four years, Lion said.

It said premium beer sales grew strongly, driven by international brands, particularly Corona, and the launch of the Steinlager Pure brand.

New Zealand beer volumes rose 0.5 per cent and exports grew 14 per cent.

Volumes of the Speights brand grew 0.5 per cent but Lion Red declined 8 per cent.

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Missing the point by Bruce Holloway

DESPITE some magnificent efforts from brewery public relations people over the past six months, I haven’t been able to get excited about the Speight’s Great Beer Delivery.

Worse, they’ve dressed it up as something positive. In their PR bumf they described this move as part of “exciting new changes to the Speight’s craft range” and spoke of “a renewed focus on-premise for Speight’s Porter, Speight’s Pale Ale and Speight’s Pilsner”.

Translation: “We’ve just made some bloody good beers impossible to buy for thousands of punters.”

So here is an idea for the PR trouts at Speight’s. (Don’t pay me, it’s free).

Why not take advantage of a gap in the market? Organise a boat trip down the Waikato River, or have a few draught horses cart some Speight’s Pilsner and Porter in from the south, to the accompaniment of big- time radio promotions, CD releases, live satellite feeds, and competition to find mates willing to help out fellow mates with good beer taste who are trapped in the Waikato. This would be called the Speight’s Great Hamilton Beer Delivery, in which our heroes seek to satisfy the the thirsts of beer enthusiasts jaded by the shortage of quality brews.

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Banking on the taste of a beer nation

Speight’s elevation has seen Lion Red, a brand the brewer has struggled to market effectively in recent years, repositioned as an upper-North Island beer, pegging it back to what has traditionally been its strongest market.

Pure is being pitched as a smoother drink than the traditional Steinlager, made entirely of New Zealand ingredients and free of additives and preservatives.

‘You’re even saying no to additives in your beer now’.”

MASH…”We got it from whoa to go in 11 or 12 weeks, which is pretty impressive for a big corporate like us.”

Former senior Lion executive Doug McKay is now Independent’s executive chairman and Kean’s predecessor as head of Lion Breweries, Julian Davidson, is working with McKay in a senior financial role.

One of Kean’s main challenges is dealing with a price war Lion is locked into with rival DB, a battle that led to beer prices hitting a 20-year low last Christmas as the companies jostled for market share.

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