On friday night I ran a beer tasting for the good people at Telecom and the report and results are now up on the site:
The hardest aspect of last Friday’s beer tasting was finding the right building. There are five identical units on the site and I spent several awkward minutes in the wrong one. After locating the correct Telecom office, I had the chance to talk thirty enthusiastic punters through a selection of Kiwi craft beers and an iconic Belgian strong ale. One of the staff even produced some great food matches for the beers with his culinary feat made all the impressive by the fact he had to Google a few of the beers to because he’d never heard of them.
The night before I had run my third tasting at Thomson Reuters and the results are also in:
It is always a good sign when a company starts calling their beer tastings “an annual event.” Last Thursday I visited Thomson Reuters to run their third annual tasting session. As always, their questions and comments kept me on my toes as we worked through a selection of New Zealand craft beers and the traditional big Belgian closer. At the end of the evening the popular vote was very close with one beer making the podium for the very first time.
Things at the Real Beer Blog have been a bit quiet of late with Luke working in England, me being in Melbourne and Greig living in Hamilton. However, with the Impish Brewer back on board with 1,374 photos and 877 tweets about his brewing and quaffing exploits still to post, there should be a lot more activity here in coming weeks.
To kick things off, my latest Wellingtonian column looks at the unlamented demise of POD and the new Green Man pub which comes complete with moose shooting mayhem:
POD was a restaurant which never suffered from self-confidence issues but perhaps should have. It was pretentious without actually being any good and had so little atmosphere you may as well have been dining on the moon or, even worse, at Eden Park.
Finally, a write up of the recent Cellar Vate tasting of English beers where 4 proper English beers went up against 4 antipodean pretenders:
As much as it may pain us to admit it, New Zealand owes much of its beer culture and beer history to England. It was Englishman Captain James Cook who brewed the first beer in Australasia and for many years our breweries produced their own colonial takes on classic British beer styles.
Glass Tips – The Wellingtonian and Cellar Vate
During a visit to Dusky Sound in Fiordland I found the creek from which Captain James Cook’s crew drew the water for the first beer made in New Zealand shortly after the Resolution sailed into the sound early in 1773.
Cook had 7300 litres of that aboard on his first voyage. He took a supply of the leaves away with him from Dusky Sound to make spruce beer during the rest of his voyage.
His beer was thus not only the first in New Zealand but the first to be exported.
From the latest issue of the Free Radical, here is my column on Lagers:
Michael Jackson, reminded even hardened ale drinkers that they should not be blinded to the qualities of good, traditional beer made by bottom fermentation. This is because bottom-fermenting yeasts produce a cleaner tasting, rounded beer. He asks (rhetorically) “which is better: a winey-tasting Lambic – a fruity, complex ale – or a clean, rounded lager? Assuming that the beer is good, my choice might depend upon the moment, my mood, and the place or time at which I was drinking the beer.”
This article was written in April but not published until December.
Much more recently, the Malthouse blog has the latest post on beers from Asia:
Beer in China can be incredibly cheap. We worked out that for one crate of beer bought from the corner mini-mart it was literally 28 cents for a 500ml bottle. You can forgive a few flaws at that price. The Malthouse stocks two fine Asian lagers though the price is somewhat higher than the Beijing markets. Of course, you can trying bargaining with the staff but I doubt the price will come down. It may even go up.
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!
Wigram Brewery Company’s Christchurch-based owners are more effervescent than usual after taking out a gold medal at an international competition.
The medal for their German dark lager – Munchner Dunkel – came at the prestigious Australian International Beer Awards last week, against competitors from 39 countries, said Wigram Brewery founder Paul McGurk.