Station Ident: Exhale

Cult Beer sign from Hashigo's portable bar (X-Ale at ParrotDog, 21 April 2012)
Cult Beer sign from Hashigo’s portable bar at the inaugural X-Ale

It’s Sevens Weekend here in Wellington and that makes for a massively-stressful couple of days for a lot of people in this town, unfortunately. What could be a genuinely excellent two-day tournament has descended into a dress-up party that involves depressingly-much obnoxious behaviour, street harassment, and general carnage. A lot of it will get blamed on the booze, of course,1 but I’ve seen too much crap even in the a.m. before the pre-loading can really kick in and I subscribe to the Bartender’s Hypothesis: no one really acts any different when they’ve been drinking — they just act more. It’s not the drinking that makes people behave like dicks, it’s probably their own underlying dickishness — which gets let off the chain even more in the anonymity of a group costume. And I worry about how much we exacerbate the myth that alcohol causes bad behaviour the more we freak out about the drinking of badly-behaved people, anyway. But I still owe you all a long-form piece on the Moral Panic, and I’ll get back to that another day.

Because — as we mentioned in the most-recent podcast — George and I are heading to the relative sanctuary of Hashigo Zake’s X-Ale mini-festival. The bar will be closed off for a tickets-only tasting session of some pretty weird and (hopefully) wonderful beers, which will skew strong enough (as is the trend, still) that it’ll probably count as a “binge” drinking session in the hysterical technical parlance. But this is Beer Geek Church; gross behaviour is unlikely, and wouldn’t be tolerated if it arose. Just as appalling dickishness is possible when stone cold sober, so is it possible to enjoy a heady dose of incidentally-intoxicating and delicious beverages and still remain fucking civilised. It’s really not the chemicals, it’s the character and the surrounding culture — as I, and several-dozen others, will hopefully demonstrate today.2 Consider it my own little protest.

1: Then there’s the grotesque double-dealing and hypocrisy wherein the media celebrate the event, laud its “vibrancy”, use pictures of costumed groups to sell papers and garner pageviews, and pimp the (seriously dubious) economic benefit — only to wring their hands about the “excesses”. Plus the fevered misdirection of blame at the bars in town when the Stadium itself features a level of carnage that’d see any other venue lose its license. 
2: And then I’ll probably just retreat straight home, because — former Courtenay Place bartender and all — I think I’ve seen more than my share of the post-Sevens mess. Though it is tempting to head back in to town and see how the universal 4 a.m. close goes… Yikes. 

Have at it: