Beer Blogs

My second Malthouse blog is now up and is titled “From the Ivory Tower to the Brew House.” It covers Croucher The Hef and Three Boys Wheat:

Brewers are, on the whole, remarkable creatures. From just toasted grain, the flower of a vine, ordinary water and a single-celled organism, they can produce delicious, sweet, life-giving beer. Given those same ingredients, most people would end up with soggy muesli which smelt of wet grass and tasted vaguely like bathroom mould. Or worse – Mash beer.

Also on his second post, Mr Colin Paige, former head brewer at Mac’s, is blogging about his mission to establish a brewery in Saigon. His blog is called Colin Paige in South East Asia:

Of course, getting into the Bia Hoi! (Bia Hoi is the cheap locally produced, unfiltered and unpasteurised beer – most of it is OK, not going to win any awards, and occasionally some diacetyl issues, However the dispense is usually an unpressurized keg with a hose and a womans hand over the end of it, holding beer in with her thumb until someone makes an order) Found a great place about 100m from Apocalypse Now (Saigon CBD) , night Club, that has a fixed rent and so can still offer 2 litres of beer for 16,000 VND, or about NZ$1.20.

Finally, one of my favourite beer writers, Pete Brown, has a blog with many more than two posts. His new book is called Hops and Glory and is due out next year:

This book has ruled my life for two years – I was heavily into it by the time I first started blogging. I can’t wait to get the bastard finished and unleashed on the world. I’ve finished the first draft and it’s now with my editor, but it’s far too long and we’re going to have to cut about a third of it out – expect lots of IPA-themed blog entries to appear on here as they’re slashed from the book (a process Steven King refers to as ‘killing your babies’).

The Tuesday Two-Pack

The latest column from The Wellingtonian looks at “Great beer and fine dining”:

Award-winning chef Martin Bosley is the first to admit that he was totally surprised at the recent Beervana event. “Discovering beer and food matching was a real epiphany for me. It opened up new possibilities – a whole layer of taste and demand we had completely ignored for a long time. I was very sceptical at the beginning but the experience was a true eye-opener,” he explains.

A full report of last weeks beer tasting at the Fire Service:

Last week I ran a beer tasting session for 25 enthusiastic staff at the Fire Service social club. The theme was a little bit Oktoberfest so we had some German beers, some New Zealand beers made in German styles and some New Zealand beers made in non-German styles. The atmosphere was completed by plates of sausages, a little Bavarian beer music and a man splendidly bedecked in lederhosen.

Beer – The only known cure for a case of the “Mondays”

Here is the full report on the latest tasting session at the Backbencher:

The theme for the September session of the Cellar-Vate beer tasting club was the unique “Dark and Ducky.” This moniker was devised to cover a combination of dark beers and the bottled range from the Dux de Lux. The 50 people in attendance had the Dux beers presented to them by the legendary Dick Fyfe. Given Dux de Lux means “masters of the finest”, I speculated in spectacularly poor Latin that this would make Dick the Dux de Dux de Lux – the master of the masters of the finest. I doubt it will catch on and it would never fit on his business card in any case.

Next, the first ever beer tasting event at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage:

On Friday night, I had the chance to run a fun little beer tasting at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (who I accidentally called the Ministry of Culture and Heritage on the tasting menu and was immediately chastised. You never stop learning in this job.)

Finally, a write up in the Herald of a recent boutique beer tour:

Miller – a beer writer and expert who knows everything you could about beer as well as anyone who matters in the Wellington bar scene – is great company. He must be the only person I’ve met who carries around hops and barley in his bag.

In my defence, I usually only have hops and barley in my bag when I’m running a tour or a tasting!

Beerly Tasting: It’s been too long

Always the biggest tasting session of the year, Belgian Beers at Cellar-Vate:

While some of the 45 keen people packed in the Cabinet Room at the Backbencher may have been marking the national day of Belgium, I suspect more were attracted by a top notch beer list from the land known as “the paradise of beer”. The fact that there was only one beer under 8% did not seem to put any one off!

Tonight I ran a tasting at Statistics New Zealand on what turned out to be a (surprisingly) stunning Wellington evening:

It was also lucky that was it was the people in this organisation who were asked to equally share seventeen bottles of “The Hef” between 36 tasters. That would have stumped many less arithmetical organisations.

Finally, beer makes it to writer and photographer Adrienne Rewi’s blog!

Beerly Writing – More Salient Goodness

The Salient beer column takes a look at wheat beers and cricket:

Beer can have a wonderful effect on conversation. Once, it even made Graham Gooch funny. One of England’s best cricketers, Gooch was famous for his solid batting, droopy moustache and a face which resembled a forlorn Basset Hound receiving an unexpected cavity search.

Next was the 2008 version of the now classic university drinking game:

Recently, I invented a drinking game called “Eggplant.” The rules were ridiculously simple – people threw slices of barbequed eggplant up the neighboring hill. The winner of each round did not have to drink – everyone else did. People utilized a wide variety of throwing styles to try to gain an advantage. My personal trademark technique of hurling the vegetable directly into the wall of the house some two meters away was hilarious but ineffective. I consoled myself with the fact that my game, while it may have appeared silly to some, probably saved lives. A person might have eaten the eggplant if it had been left lying around.

Finally, some Saint Patrick’s Day reflections on stout, porter and pubs:

Skeptics argue that beer should not be so thick you have to eat it with a spoon nor so dark that it threatens to implode and pull your eyeballs out. These people always seem to sit next to me.

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!