Putting Beer in Context and A Tasting Report

From the Malthouse blog, a post on “Beer in its proper context” which covers why Fiji Bitter tastes better in Fiji, (Sir) Jeremy Clarkson on Chinese beer and details of the new beers coming on tap in October (including the debut from Golden Ticket):

The thing is, it was exactly the same (awful) beer but they were also quite right that it tasted much better in Fiji. Why precisely that was the case quickly became clear when I enquired about how they drank the beer in Fiji. Essentially, they all drank ice-cold Fiji Bitter in the hot sun, by the pool, relaxing on holiday while being waited on by someone young, attractive and largely naked.

In contrast, the Fiji Bitter they had in Wellington was served cool-ish, the rain was lashing against the spartan meeting room’s windows, it had been a busy working week and the beer was being served by a husky chap in a Hawaiian shirt. It is all about context.

Last week I braved blizzards and public transport to run a beer tasting out at Wallaceville:

I ran my first beer tasting in Upper Hutt last week. It was for the Social Society out at the biosecurity complex in Wallaceville and it turned out to be a great night despite Wellington producing some of the worst weather of the year. What happened to spring and global warming Mr Gore? Anyway, the idea was to offer up an introductory selection of New Zealand craft beer to an audience which contained more than one person who initially thought they ‘didn’t like beer.’

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

Beer Haiku and Beers from the Edge

Today’s beer haiku belatedly recognises International Bacon Day (September 6) which really should replace Labour Day as a public holiday. The poem is titled “Bacon Lattice“:

Any recipe
That includes “bacon lattice”
Has got to be good

From the Malthouse blog, the latest post has a look at the mainstream media, beer judging and the Mata range. It is called “Beers from the Edge“:

One of a beer writer’s constant frustrations when trying to push craft beer into the mainstream media is the frequent impact a journalist or editor’s pre-conceptions and prejudices can have on the final article. It can be as simple as the choice of pictures used to accompany positive or negative stories about alcohol. If you look closely, negative stories usually have stock photos involving beer or RTDs while positive stories tend to use pictures featuring wine, usually in a quite sophisticated setting.

Glass Tips – Beer Haiku Daily and Malthouse Blog

Beer Haiku Friday and From Russia with Beer

Today’s Beer Haiku just appealed to my inner pop-culture geek. It is called “Believe it or Not“:

A six pack of beer
An obscure ’80s sit com
I’m walking on air

The latest Malthous blog covers political economies, Baltika beer and music worse than Crazy Frog. Read the full story at “From Russia with Beer“:

Rather than names, the Baltika beers have numbers. Ordering a Baltika 7 is probably easier for the average Kiwi than trying to use the beers’ original brand names of, and I’m not making these up, Zigulevskoye, Rizhkoye, Admiralteiskoye and Prazdnichnoye.

Glass Tips – Beer Haiku Daily and The Malthouse Blog

The oldest pub in the nation and the beer of the people

From the Wellingtonian, my article on the “trouble brewing over the oldest pub claim“:

It is an article of faith for Wellingtonians that the Thistle Inn on Mulgrave Street is the oldest pub in the country. After all, it was built way back in 1840 and, until the harbour was reclaimed in 1876, sat right on the shoreline. The Thistle has poured pints for parched sailors, sundry Governor-Generals and, according to legend, Te Rauparaha himself.

Over at the Malthouse blog, in the spirit of true blogging we throw the floor open to real people (and accountants) for their take on the best beers in the fridge. Welcome to the first “People’s Blog“:

A conveniently unknown author once wrote that “a blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list.” Blogs can polarise readers perhaps more than any other medium. John Jay Hooker, veteran political gadfly, is on record as saying “I sincerely believe blogging can save America.” National Business Review publisher Barry Coleman does not believe it will even save New Zealand.

Finally, I love this sign spotted recently outside Hope Bros in Wellington: “Urgent! Customers needed. No experience needed. Apply within.”

Glass Tip for the sign – Peter McCaffery

Beer, Politics and a Haiku

Today’s Haiku sets out to fix the world’s problems. It is called “seeking solutions”:

With no solution
After sober discussion
They ordered some beers

From the Malthouse blog, an expose on what beers our politicans like to drink, including a beer which claims to be the Prime Minister’s favourite, and a look at the range from Bath Ales. The title of the post is “beer and politics do mix“:

Hon Mahara Okeroa, then Labour member for Te Tai Tonga, was the only politician approached who never replied. It’s been two years now and hopes of receiving an answer are fading fast. His Cabinet colleague Hon Annette King could find the time as Police Minister to select “ginger beer” as her pick but Mr Okeroa’s role as a “Minister of State” apparently precluded a reply. In unrelated news, Annette King was returned to Parliament in 2008 and is now Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Mahara Okeroa was defeated and currently has four supporters on his Facebook page.

Glass Tip – Beer Haiku Daily

Beer Haiku Friday and Hallertau’s Hopping Good Beers

Today’s beer haiku makes a lot of sense. It is called “Story Teller“: The

sounds of laughter
Are an excellent soundtrack
To my beer soaked yarns

From the Malthouse blog, “Hallertau’s Hopping Good Beers” has a look at the Hallertau range and their self-described sensual brewer:

The Saison is a memorable beer but it is indeed now just a memory as it has run out and been replaced by Hallertau Statesman, a 5.3% Pale Ale with a robust 37 IBUs. The Sensual Brewer believes that drinkers will exclaim “hops galore” on first sup. While this exact reaction is unlikely but possible, Statesman is a well balanced Pale Ale with a balance of clean, sweet malt and floral hops. Attempting to expand the beer lexicon, Stephen says the beer is “both zesty and tangy, indeed, we reckon you’ll find it uniquely ‘zangy’.”

Glass Tip – Beer Haiku Daily

Beer Haiku and Brew Dogs

Today’s beer haiku seems particularly appropiate for a Friday. It is called “a frickin’ miracle“:

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

From the Malthouse blog, “who let the Brew Dogs out” takes a look at the latest shipment from Scotland’s cheekiest brewery, Brew Dog:

Personally, I’m looking forward to Hardcore. How can I possibly resist something which is described “an extreme beer rollercoaster for freaks, gypsies and international chess superstars?” I guess I had better brush up on my chess.

Glass Tip – Beer Haiku Daily and the Malthouse Blog

Epic Journey recreates beer’s most famous voyage

Forty litres of fresh India Pale Ale from Auckland will spend up to six weeks at sea on the Interislander Ferry looking to recreate a recreation of beer’s most famous voyage.

In the 1880s, pale ale from Burton-on-Trent in England took around six weeks on tall ships to reach its thirsty customers in India. British beer writer Pete Brown recently retraced the long journey which helped create this iconic style of beer. He chronicled his adventures in the newly released book Hops and Glory: One Man’s Search for the Beer that Built the British Empire.

After a sleepless night finishing the book, Malthouse proprietor Colin Mallon had the ‘crazy idea’ of replicating the experience in New Zealand. “I had met Pete Brown in England recently and just loved the book. First, I needed some beer. My first thought was Epic Armageddon, a limited release double India Pale Ale brewed by Luke Nicholas from Epic Brewing Company. He agreed immediately. Then I needed a boat. The Interislander Ferry agreed immediately. I tasked Luke with finding appropriate barrels,” says Colin.

“I sourced two 20-litre new oak barrels and filled them with fresh Armageddon,” Luke explains. “I recently brewed a real ale in England for a huge British beer festival so I knew Armageddon was not a million miles away from what a traditional pale ale would have tasted like. For a beer to stand up to the kind of treatment we have in mind it has to be pretty robust. Armageddon is definitely big, strong and hoppy. The idea is to see what effect changes in temperature and constant movement has on beer stored in wood. Most pundits believe India Pale Ale’s benefitted from the conditioning they received during their sea voyages.”

Colin and Luke jointly christened the beer ‘Epic Journey’ while the barrels are affectionately known as Pete (after Pete Brown) and Melissa (in honour of British beer writer Melissa Cole). Pete and Melissa will spend up to six weeks on the ferry before being ceremonially tapped at Beervana at the Wellington Town Hall, 28th & 29th August.

For the full background story see http://armageddon.epicbeer.com