Back again for Episode VI — and please do excuse the Rugby World Cup and other related delays in the posting — George and I had a bit of a Beervana 2011 debrief and ponder. He wasn’t able to make the festival itself, but I had a great afternoon and offer some thoughts (almost entirely positive, which is rare for me) on the changes in direction that the festival took this year.
We also have a bit of ramble about the related Beer Awards, where the critical circuits of my brain get a bit more a workout. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement, here; I’d love to see greater clarity, more-interesting categories / awards — and, crucially, a bit of gate-keeping to prevent breweries gaming the system by entering beers in categories that go against their own marketing just for the sake of increased odds of winning. It’s a controversial subject, and we do return to it a bit in the next episode, so consider this Part One of a longer discussion — and jump in below, in the comments.
- (1.05) Beer of the Week: 8 Wired ‘The Sultan’.
- (2.30) I totally got the math reference right. But I don’t have email addresses for any of my high school math teachers. Who were, in hindsight, universally great.
- (2.50) I discussed the “Enkel, Dubbel, Tripel” ladder of naming back when The Thirsty Boys and I did our Trappist Dance Card tasting.
- (3.20) Gawd, the Garage Project episode was “last week”? I’m way late posting this. George has dutifully been hassling me. He’s an excellent producer. I’m just inordinately slack / distracted.
- (4.10) I couldn’t easily find whether The Sultan was entered; results sheets don’t list the “also-ran” beers. I shall have to ask Søren himself and will amend this note with any later news — rather than procrastinating further.
- (6.10) That’s us abnormally-shut-up by our Beer of the Week. Also, I really do apologise for not getting a photo of the beer in the glass.
- (6.30) My thoughts on Taieri George, Hot Cross Buns, and Easter in general have been chronicled here before, unsurprisingly.
- (8.00) A run-down of recent award-winners is handily available on the Brewers Guild website.
- (9.10) Sutton Group make neither socks nor munitions, it seems. But rather are an impressively-varied maker-of-stuff for the food industry.
- (15.40) I wasn’t quite sure how the Trophy-and-Medal Category system worked — which also is itself, I suppose, a mild meta-criticism of the process — but in hindsight, I assume that PKB was entered into an “American-style Porter” sub-sub-category and then went on to take the gong among those other sub-styles lumped into its Trophy Category. It’s a confusing system, and we’ll talk more about that aspect of it with Kieran, next time…
- (18.00) DB’s double-dealing on Tui is even bolder than I mention here, now that I think of it: Tui ‘Blond’ has a big-ass stamp on the box (as you can see above, and damn it felt strange putting it up on the same row, even, as photos of The Sultan) saying “NZ’s Best Lager”, when it was awarded nothing of the sort — it took out one of many sub-categories of lager, not some overall best-best. So DB will crow about an award, alright, but they remain eerily silent about the winningness of their winningest beer, Tui itself. One hopes that’s just because the shame of a medal that logically entails that you’re a bunch of liars in your brandwank is too much to bear.
- (23.00) Part of what’s behind the “inexcusable clumping” will be explained by Kieran next time. But it’s just an account of why and how it happened, not a defence… It’s the Trophies people talk about, and the clumping is a mess.
- (27.10) #callback: Our ongoing “strawberry-flavoured beer” nemesis dates back to Episode One.
- (28.30) There, that’s the other analogy we needed. Beer awards are a lot like Crufts Dog Show, and a lot like the DSM (the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders“).
- (32.20) I probably shouldn’t name names. Usefully, my memory is crap.
- (34.00) The origin story for Jed’s Beer Project is an unsurprisingly-good read, and — you know, while you’re there — he’s also got a great Beervana 2011 gallery. The seventh photo is me, putting on an appallingly-staged Serious Taster Face — but mostly I like the dude in the Viking helmet, behind me.
- (37.30) Thanks, George, for not editing that out.
- (40.00) Some brewers — like Stu, as you can see above — short-circuited the new plan somewhat, by volunteering. Though he was very much multi-tasking, as you can see by his plural t-shirts.
- (43.50) If you haven’t heard it before, George’s first-and-probably-last-ever ‘Rex Attitude’ which we recorded “live to tape” (as they say), is worth a listen.
- (44.30) My “conflict of interest”, such as it is, is declared in the ‘About’ whatsit…
- (44.50) The Pacific Beer Expo, trademark or no, was brilliant fun. It deserves a proper write-up, and it’ll get one, eventually. But it deserves one sooner. George wasn’t able to attend that one, either — hence no Live Recording.
- (47.00) Midstrength News: Yeastie Boys ‘PKB: Weemix’. Given the ultra-lag we’re dealing with here, my recommendation is tragically late. But hopefully it’ll return. Hint, hint, Stu — hint, hint. Weirdly, I’m just writing up a ‘Taranaki Session Beer’ entry concurrently to finally putting this thing together.
- (49.30) Recommendations: ParrotDog ‘BitterBitch’. Which really was a stupid-fast seller. ‘BloodHound’, their second beer, was launched at the aforementioned Pacific Beer Expo, and is now taking its turn selling like hot pants. (Also, they totally had a parrot.)
- (53.00) Aucklanders are actually increasingly lucky in the beer sense. I’ll have to do a round-up post about the Big City Beer Scene. Alice Galletly, on her marvellous ‘Beer for a Year’ blog, did do a great report on ‘Vasta’s Velvet’. Looks like I should’ve made the trip up; it was apparently delicious.
- (55.40) Cue the music: ‘Shopping for Explosives’, by The Coconut Monkeyrocket.
At-long-last posted: 22 November 2011