An episode with no beer. Well, none were consumed — out of a vague nod to Dry July, but more a result of us both being in losing phases of the age-old battle of Monkey v Microbe. We ponder Dry July, as a charitable enterprise (we’re unconvinced) and (much better) a way for people to test and/or manage their relationship with one of humanity’s favourite drugs. Meanwhile, we drink some worthwhile non-beers,1 and I have a little ramble on the social history of tea and coffee and whatnot. And an episode this time of year wouldn’t be complete without a looking-forward toward the beer awards and Beervana.
Speaking of which — we’re going to be recording two episodes at Beervana itself, and you’re more than welcome to join the audience as we talk beer with some special visiting guests. Attendance is free and there’ll be Beers Of The Week for all. We’re on at 8pm on Friday, 7pm Saturday.
(4.00) Botswanan of the Week: Mma Rmotswe. The books are formulaic but enjoyable, and I thought the TV series was particularly well done. I’m sure I’m slightly biased because the author is also a big name in bioethics, but still.
(4.30) Beverage Of The Week #1: Gingerella. Tasty stuff indeed.
(22.50) The Beer Diary Podcast: Live! Friday at Saturday evening, no cover charge, with guests and beers-of-the-week for all. Should be a lark. Come along, if you’re in town and attending Beervana — and tell your friends.
(23.40) Beervana exhibitors. Australians aplenty, plus lots of new faces. But absolutely no Boundary Road / Independent / Asahi, for an apparently-hilarious reason. And a reminder about Beer Festival Economics.
(32.00) The rich ecosystem of festivals. You do see a few people wondering if Beervana isn’t for them anymore. To which I say 1) it’s possible that your tastes have changed more than the festival has, and 2) that’s not really a problem; there’s still so much for you to go to and go bananas about.
(33.00) The new ‘beer manufacturer’ award — overdue, and missing the point.
(38.00) Bouquet & Brickbat / Tip o’ the Hat & Wag o’ the Finger: We really do need a name for this segment; suggestions welcome. I keep getting stuck on ‘Cheers & Jeers’, but there’s probably something better lurking somewhere in the æther. But anyway — Yay Tuatara, for doing Interesting Things. (The new CEO is Richard Shirtcliffe, but he’s formerly of Phil & Ted’s; same industry, broadly, better name.) They’re obviously looking to restore their ‘Wellington’ cred and their ‘cool’, but that’s not a bad goal. And — Boo Dominion Breweries / Heineken global for using the same (bad) joke on two different billboard campaigns, and for the world’s worst mixed pack.
(48.50) Recommendations:Tuatara ‘Black’ — I’ve still only had the ‘Toasted’ one, but hear good things about the coffee and chocolate incarnations. It is worth noting, though, that they haven’t “re-brewed” Delicious Neck, it turns out; they’ve re-blended it — whether for reasons of deadline and schedule or just lack of inspiration, I hear the What We Do In The Shadows tie-in wasn’t a custom brew, but a blend of existing stock. Tasty, all the same, but still. Also Big Awesome Trappist-y Things, and Hallertau Funkonnay. And: #freshisnotbest; build a cellar.
(52.00) Friend Of The Show: As noted in the last episode, it seems Wil Wheaton did get his beer from us, which is awesome. For this week: Warren Ellis — creator of a bajillion things, almost too numerous to list, that we’re mutually hugely fond of.
1: It took me forever to find a non-beer photo in my collection. That coffee was me on my way to the Winter Ale Festival, last year, which I photographed on a ‘real’ (i.e., film) camera for the first time in years. Hence the terrible shot. Despite being an avid consumer of tea and coffee, I guess I don’t make an ‘occasion’ of it often enough. I should get out more — and take my camera with me. ↑ 2: On a hunch, I did actually contact Roy Morgan Research concerning the above-linked paper wherein ciders allegedly ‘overtook’ RTDs in popularity / consumption. And yes, the data was purely unmoderated self-reported numbers from asking people “Have you bought a cider?” in the relevant time period. The real lesson — since Rekorderlig, Wild Side, etc., etc., are all thought of as ciders by most people when they’re anything but — is that the industrial manufacturers have been successful in their bid to ‘re-brand’ their RTDs. ↑
Back for our fourth season — which promises to include several Very Special Epsiodes, but more on those in due course — George and I quickly re-tell our Origin Story for new listeners, return briefly to the topic of our first-ever show (so-called “grey market” imports), before catching up on the beer festivals that happened while we were on hiatus. I also rave about keeping a Beer Diary (since it turns out I’ve been doing so for a decade), and we finally formalise what it means to be a ‘Friend of the Show’.
(0.45) It has been a while. George has a better excuse than I do.
(1.50) I really did make my own ‘business cards’, colossal dork that I am. They’re really mostly for festivals and such, and created in the spirit of never assuming anyone’s memory to be less crap than my own.
(30.10) I still haven’t made it to a wine tasting, despite good intentions.
(32.00) Beer of the Week #2: Oscar Blues ‘Ten Fiddy’. (Thanks, Tim!)
(36.30) Beer Diaries, themselves. Please excuse the clumsy foley.
(41.00) If we were going to switch themes, I’d only ever suggest that we go for the insanely catch one Last Week Tonight uses. But they got to it first. And Coconut Monkeyrocket’s track really does suit us somehow. Yay for Creative Commons.
(41.30) Friend of the Show, defined. We now have reason to believe that Wil did get his beer, meanwhile; I’m still working on a few of the others.
(44.10) Cont’d, and awarded to: Vicki Treadell — the departing British High Commissioner to New Zealand, beer lover and exemplary party hostess.
(49.30) Recommendations: Er… We’re at a bit of a loss. You should read Scott’s Buzz and Hum blog, though. And try ParrotDog ‘DevilBird’. Then — after surreptitiously checking my Diary — I completely fail to do the beautiful madness of Billy B’s Golden Apple Beer any real justice. But generally: Smith Street.
(57.40) The Beer Diary Podcast: Live! — at Beervana, twice: Friday evening from 8pm and Saturday evening from 7pm.
It’s time again, at last, for our Year in Review: a look back at 2013, a pondering of its best beers and beer-related-things, and contemplation of what kind of ‘theme’ the year developed as it went. Our traditionally unhurried approach to these things (we’ve recorded all these episodes in March) met a few additional delays this year, but here we are. Plans are already underway for some Very Special Episodes in season four, but first let’s wrap up our third year — and thank you all for coming along for the rambles.
(1.40) ‘The Flat of the Axe’ is George’s Cold Chisel cover band, he informs me.
(3.30) Apparently, it is officially Ride of the Valkyries, but “Flight of ~” seems a common-enough mistake / mutation that I forgive myself.
(3.50) Beer of the Week #1:Almanac Honey Saison. My apologies for the lack of a photo. You’ll all just have to seek out an Almanac, Left Coast, or Speakeasy beer (all imported by the nice folk at Beer Without Borders) to see the gorgeousness.
(10.40) Useful Digital Thing of the Year:Feedly, because there really is a ridiculous wealth of good (and of interestingly / usefully not-good) beer writing in the world. My intermittent Sunday Reading posts try to keep up.
(12.50) George lasted nine minutes with a saison; easily a new record.
(13.50) 2013, Year of the x:The Homebrewer, says George, which possibly ties into my less-elegantly-phrased Commercial Realities Settling In, in several different ways, ranging from subtle to not at all subtle.
(23.20) Beer of the Week #2: Moon Dog ‘Black Lung III’.
(26.20) Beer of the Year — which one day we won’t have to explain in such detail anymore, but until then: Panhead ‘Quickchange’ XPA, for George — with honorable mentions for Baylands Red Ryder, and 8 Wired’s ‘Semiconductor’. And for me — after a fair amount of (now traditional, but this time with a vague evidence base) faffing around — it’s ParrotDog ‘Otis’. (Meanwhile, I wonder if the Panhead ‘Days of Thunder’ George remembers from Beervana has morphed into ‘The Vandal’, an IPA of notably-similar style and strength.)
(31.00) Year of the x prediction for 2014: Moral Panic. (Maybe with fringe benefits.)
(34.30) Glass of Beer of the Year:Yeastie Boys ‘Gunnamatta’, for George, which we shared over some Big News — with a silver medal (“Tasting Glass of Year”, perhaps) to Garage Project’s Triple Day of the Dead. My shortlist stretches into a longlist: my (one) Crafty Beggars ‘Wheat As’, Moon Dog ‘Black Lung III’ sitting in as Antipodean Gonzo, Bridge Road / Nøgne Ø ‘Aurora Borealis’, Renaissance ‘Elemental’, and Yeastie Boys / Lobethal Bierhaus ‘Wendy’. But: Yeastie Boys ‘Rex Attitude’, on the inaugural Table Top Day, playing Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs. Accidentally.
(41.00) Seriously, though: Planetary. And Transmetropolitan. George and I couldn’t recommend each highly enough.
(47.30) My apologies for not getting this up in time to warn you of Table Top Day 2014. Join in for 2015, maybe. And anyway: play more games. Meanwhile, the Call For Help is sincere — if any one can be a Beer Mule to California for us, get it touch.
(52.00) Beer of the Week #3: Rodenbach Grand Cru. Easily “Recommendation of the Year”, if we had one; Jono’s suggestion for this and fish ‘n’ chips has changed lives.
(54.00) Pleasant surprises / Miscellaneous bouquets: A surprise ParrotDog ‘Otis’, and a Garage Project ‘Beyond the Pale’ — though Em points out that if it’s just hibiscus flowers, it’s more tisane than “tea”. A mutual shout-out, also, to Luke and Dave’s ‘Ale of a Time’ podcast — Alternate Universe Us, perhaps. And a bribe / beer, for Tim Foster who provided some excellent feedback and earned himself a Yeastie Boys ‘Her Majesty’, which I should get into his possession any day now.
For our first recording of 2014 and the penultimate episode of Season 3, George and I sat down for a post-holiday catch up over two beers he’d brought back from his travels and one we’d been meaning to share for a while. Somehow, we also talked about Canada a lot. We offer our traditional recommendations and observations — and also take the chance to make a more-explicit-than-usual call for listener feedback (and suggestions for Year In Review gong-winners), backed-up by a sincere offer of a bribe in beer form…
(1.30) Alternate titles: End Of Year Clear-out, What Survived Christmas In My Fridge, We Got Canada All Over the Place & Yay The Wombles For Not Being Parochial.
(2.00) Beer of the Week #1: Dave Wood’s ‘Beetnik IPA’. Which is also one of very-few homebrewed beers ever to appear in my Diary. And a full-size batch is in the works, Baylands-brewed indeed, and set for a Hashigo launch February 18soon. (Updated Feb 13: In his weekly email for the bar, Dave noted — with understandable regret — that Beetnik’s first public outing has been delayed due to a technical hitch in the brewing. It’s been re-brewed, and so should be out in a month or so.)
(34.40) Call for submissions: As well as your own nominations for (Glass of) Beer of the Year, per our now-cemented tradition, we thought it high time to explicitly invite just general feedback. You can do so here (in the comments below), on Twitter (I’m @phil_cook, George is @GeorgeLanglands — his more-obscure surname not needing an underscore), on the Facebook page, or via the Contact Form Thing on here.
(35.40) I’d link to the Sherlock run-down, but it’s so very spoiler-ific indeed.
(38.00) Beer of the Week #3: Muskoka ‘Twice as Mad Tom’ IPA. The chairs are apparently better-known by their American name — and the beer must be strong, because neither of us correctly pronounced “Angelina Jolie”.
(43.05) xkcd’s ‘What if?’ on the lake of tea. And my trivia fu was strong: in Star Trek there indeed was / will be a prison and a journalism school here. The Queef Of Queen Street seems to’ve been splatted by the copyright police or similar. Sigh.
(45.00) Beer news / events: Hashigo’s X-ale refuge from the madness of Sevens is this weekend and is genius — though the prospect of getting there and back through the throng is a little stomach-turning. Session beers continue to appear with delightful regularity. And “little bars who do something interesting” are doing well. Huzzah.
(48.30) Recommendations: The Moonless, again; Gunnamatta, always. And Cassels & Sons Pale Ale. And (further in): Northend Hoppy Wheat. Music recommendations, just because I have to: The Tragically Hip — maybe start with ‘Bobcageon’, and see how you go. And cross-train; The ‘7 Steps’ article is here, though the last tip is obviously way over the top. You can see three of my various diaries, here, too.
(54.30) Canada all over the place. Anyone else nostalgic for Due South? No, just us? Oh, and I gardened instead of putting down the homebrew. Sorry, Jono.
Just before the holidays — so apologies for the delay but, you know, holidays — George and I sat down for a ramble with Jono Galuszka, journalist, beer-and-music nerd, former bartender and barista, and occasional drummer. We discuss the many and varied joys of homebrewing, the at-last semi-reliable appearances of good beer in unexpected places, and (inevitably) a bunch of music. We had a venue change for this episode, so the background dog-shuffles have been replaced with regular overhead airplanes.
You may also note that B.O.T.W. #4 is a (non-boycott-breaking) Moa Sour Blanc. It prompted a predictable little side-ramble into their current situation. We’ve excised it from the main episode and present it below as a DVD Extra / after-credits scene. I allude a few times to a work-in-progress catch-up with post-IPO Moa, and I’ll try to get that done this week. (Meanwhile, I still really miss the Imperial Stout.)
(47.00) The WilliamsWarn, the (super-slick) bread machine of homebrewing.
(51.40) Beer of the Week #4: Moa Sour Blanc.
(54.30) Spiegelau glass de-brief. And I’m having a PKB in the IPA one, now.
(1.00.30) Recommendations: Session IPAs (the aforementioned Semiconductor, XPA, etc.), good cider (not the RTDs in drag which are flooding the market). Rodenbach Grand Cru and/or Vintage. Drinking “out of season”. Summer Sommer — which has actually run out in the meantime, but will be back. And try Export Citrus.
(1.10.00) Also: play more games. Tabletop Day is coming up, again, too.
George and I recently had the pleasure of sitting down — for a record number of Beers Of The Week, amidst all the banter — with Stu McKinlay, notorious pants-wearer, and one half (give or take) of the Yeastie Boys. We crash-tested whether fresh is best, sampled some ill-fated beers from the Great Drought era, and heard the origin story for several individual beers and for the unique operation itself — before turning to industry-wide issues like collegiality in the beer business and the culture of consuming alcohol. (Some local wildlife joined in as Special Guest Stars, with Zola the dog providing various thumps and scuffles, and myriad native birds adding a backing track.)
(0.38) Get the coloured-pants references out of the way right out the gate, and welcome friend of the show Stu McKinlay, Yeastie Boy.
(1.55) “Bagonza” is way better than “Suhguhbuhguhnnnn-zah”, to which I resorted in previous episodes, when sponsor’s initials were awkwardly appended to the acronym.
(8.50) Beer of the Week #1: Pot Kettle Back, 2ed. #freshisnotbest
(18.00) I’m trying to find the link to Yeastie Boys’ explanation of the Great Yeastie Drought — which set the bar for open and honest communication from a brewery — but it seems to’ve been splatted when Posterous closed down. These are the perils of the modern internets, I suppose.
(1.10.40) Five Yeastie Beers for Five Yeastie Years, a.k.a. Dioramarama, really does deserve a post of its own. But I am, as always, appallingly far behind with such things.
(1.11.45) Yeastie Boys Tea Party / Yeas-tea Something. Mere days away! Wellingtonians, mark your calendars; non-Wellingtonians, book travel. George and I have quiz-related duties on the night, but will make sure to stop by before and/or after.
(1.15.30) Beastwars were unsurprisingly awesome. Get familiar with them a.s.a.p..
(1.18.40) Recommendations: The original ‘G.A.o.B.’, by Rowland S. Howard, and A Tribe Called Quest, probably on Rdio. And any steaming service is welcome to my tip-jar idea. I just want it implemented.
(1.22.45) Beer of the Week #6: Townshend ‘Flemish Stout’. We did have this a few episodes ago, and I’m entirely on board with Stu’s generalised praise for Martin. I don’t have a photo of the 750s, sadly; I should grab some for my stash.
(1.28.00) In praise of sessionability, for all sorts of reasons.
Requiring more We Do Not Here Represent Our Day Jobs than usual, George and I recently had a little ramble about a few potentially-controversial topics in the Beer Business: the ongoing shitfight-with-a-side-order-of-handwringing that is the Licensing Laws Debate, and the continuing evolution of the nation’s most-senior beer festival, Beervana. My apologies — again!; you are an understanding lot — for the delay in posting, though there is something appropriate about getting my Afterthoughts out on the eve of the next (much littler) festival.
There are plenty of contentious little angles in both topics, and I find myself taking unusually-middle-ground-ish positions on each to which I might have to return in fuller detail some day, but here — off the cuff, in good company, and over a few beers — are some initial thoughts, at least…
(19.20) Beervana happened, but mostly to Other People, because I’m clumsy. And it’s changed a lot, about which I’m about to get even-handedly philosophical…
(22.06) That was Zola, not some spooky re-enactment of me flinching at curing glue.
(27.05) It was ‘Taylor Grabs the Goose’, a kind-of-collaboration between Taylor’s on Jackson (a Petone restaurant) and the Goose Shack (a food truck).
(34.30) [SPOILER ALERT]: It’s time for Beervana to open its books.
(37.20) Beer of the Week #2: Black Isle ‘Hibernator’ Oatmeal Stout.
(47.20) Rye, en Français, is apparently “seigle”. But George never gave me the photo.
(47.40) Beervana, as a visitor. The WilliamsWarnis a pretty cool piece of kit, and now there’s a second generation of nerdier, often-Kickstarter’ed, successors coming. And the Beervana “tasting notes” are truly useless — except when the breweries take the time fuck with them.
(1.08.40) Beer of the Week #3: Black Isle ‘Black Run’, which is evidently an Imperial Stout, and Tomatin (which should rhyme with “satin”) is a nearby distillery.
(1.12.50) Recommendations: The resurrected Limburg beers / recipes / notions, in their “Bach Brewing” guise are proving very tasty. They really were the Temple Of The Dog of their day, I very vaguely recall. And drink a bunch of Yeastie Boys stuff. Golding’s Free Dive needs to be added to my Usual Disclosures, since I’ve now done them a few cameo shifts, but the praise pre-dates that and is sincere. And Blacklight.
(1.20.30) Speaking of cans, I just had a Hot Water Brewing one today and it was rad.
And we’re back. Though we’re not quite as back as we intended. This happens to us, sometimes. George has been abnormally busy, post-holiday — though often with new-puppy-related duties about which he’s not remotely about to complain — and I was diverted, in the actual around-Beervana-itself days, by ingloriously falling off my bike.1 But at last, we’re back. Much (though by no means all) of the conversation was looking-ahead to events now past, but we’re presenting them here mostly unvarnished and uncorrected so you can test how prescient and/or very-very-wrong we were. More generally, we ponder beer in cans (and drink one) and the burgeoning (but still finding-its-feet) world of the beer documentary.
(1.35) Beer in cans (and the Usual Disclaimer), launching off from Beer of the Week #1: Boundary Road ‘Mumbo Jumbo’. By ‘New Yorker poster’, I mean the View of the World from 9th Avenue. I saw re-launched cans of Leigh Sawmill at Beervana, and spied the re-branded Harrington’s bottles in the supermarket (beside the old ones, which now rank highly on the list of Starkest Contrasts, Ever), but am still eagerly awaiting a Hot Water Brewing can (but he is brewing, now). Churchkey is so fucking hipster, but also utterly, utterly gorgeous (but is from the US, not the UK). I had great fun with Maui’s porter and IPA. The Monteith’s black bottle, I must admit, looked really cool — but they couldn’t non-absurdly promote it, given their premise (a point to which we return). Meanwhile, Mumbo Jumbo turns out to be pants.
(13.00) My BrewDog / Boundary Road (/ Batman reference) rant is here, if you need it.
(15.00) Beer of the Week #2: Townshend ‘Last of the Summer Ale’; ESB, but weirdified, and in a much-sexier new bottle, speaking of judging a beer by its label.
(22.30) Outmoded previews, for the West Coast IPA Challenge and ¬Matariki. My post-match for the latter should be up later this week, just to pile on the skewed timing.
(24.50) pre-Beervana speculation, including the Lion sponsorship announcement and the tricky issue of disclosure. I’ll have to have my full-on debrief very soon, but it’s going to be a doozy… Choice Beer Week also felt happily felt like more of “a thing”.
(29.00) Beer documentaries (which the a certain part of my brain really wants to call “malty-media”). Hashigo actually showed the new Beer Hunter film, rather than the original TV series. Both are totally worthy of your time, though the great modern nonfiction beer epic is still waiting to be made: Beer Wars and Beertickersare both seriously flawed and recommended viewing. But seriously, Scratch shows how the ‘sub-culture’ genre is done (though King of Kong is a contender for runner-up, too, though with a conflict — rather than history and/or overview — focus).
(36.40) Beer of the Week #3: Emerson’s ‘Deafinition’ Old Ale. Which is utterly pun-tastic and gorgeous and fun and goes a long way towards allaying the fears / quiet bits of reserve / healthy skepticism expressed in the post-buyout podcast episode, unless it’s all a double-bluff. (The wire cage, by the way, is apparently a muselet.)
(51.20) Recommendations:Croucher Ethiopean Coffee Stout (at Hop Garden, or indeed anywhere else), and Schipper’s ‘Scallywag’ (likewise), which puts George in mind of Peabody’s Improbable History. Tuatara ‘Blacklight’, the only fault in which is the boozier-than-is-evident punch — and the UV-reference isn’t obvious enough to count as a warning. Liberty ‘Darkest Day’, as well, and ParrotDog ‘Otis’ since I bloody loves oatmeal stout, I do — #oatsforawesome! Garage Project L’il Red Rye gets the non-conflicted nod from George, too (but is all gone, sorry).
(1.07.14) Has anyone noticed these post-credits Easter Eggs George manages to find on the cutting-room floor? Because that’s probably the best one yet.
1: More proximately, I meant to get this posted (at last) last night (and did get all the show notes done, at least), but was rendered less productive than usual by Engelbert Pumpernickel — so some tiny-tiny fraction of the blame lies with Stu and Matt and Mike. ↑
Catching up for the first time in a while, and not long after a now-notorious kerfuffle over the ‘Death From Above’ beer put out by Garage Project (site of my day job, if you haven’t already noticed), my friend and fellow red-bearded beer writer Hadyn Green and I were about to have a ramble about potentially-offensive beer names when George leapt in and suggested / insisted we save it for a podcast. And here, perhaps obviously, is the result.
As it perhaps would’ve in the pub, conversation looped around the place — frequently bouncing back to the “beer names” theme, with detours for recent and upcoming festivals among other more-random topics (and no shortage of videogames).
(0.45) George feels he undersold Hadyn, here, and now offers “writer, announcer, gamer, raconteur” — which is all definitely true — as a tagline. You can find Hadyn, on the Twitters and occasionally on Public Address, among many other pursuits.
(1.20) Beer of the Week #1: Regent 58 Stout. I’d link to the relevant column in FishHead, but the magazine stubbornly hasn’t properly joined the internets.
(3.50) Beer names and ‘offense’ versus good form, with the usual heavy disclaimers about my day job: I’m here strictly on my own time and not even remotely speaking on the brewery’s behalf. The seminal article on the Death from Above ‘nontroversy’ is worth a re-read, along with its comments and (in particular) Dom Kelly’s two blog posts thereafter — one pointed, one parodic. Moa’s ‘Black Power’ got a Diary write-up, and ‘Bye Bye Blanket Man’ was one of one of the Wellington In A Pint beers we got through in a podcast episode last year.
(8.20) Apparently George cut out a lot of Apocalypse Now exegesis around here.
(9.20) I’ve had Murray’s (unrelated) ‘Heart of Darkness’, and it was great. By the way.
(10.10) People may notice my uneasy relationship with ‘open secrets’. I tend to want to make them more open. Which might get me in trouble, but I honestly think all sides of the Hopocalypse Now saga — as it could be called — are readily understandable; but clusterfuck inadvertently sparked by bad timing was unfortunate.
(15.00) It’s entirely irrelevant to his point, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of the ‘Smoke & Oakum’ Gunpower Rum, you should. It’s sublime and fantastic. (But it is also fair to say that piracy isn’t free from controversial references, either! Moa are learning that the hard way, and while I think it’s obvious they didn’t intend to make the connection — they’d never be so subtle — they shouldn’t be at all surprised people could think so little of them. I just wish the media better-covered their actual nonsense.)
(25.30) Beer of the Week #2: Townshend ‘Flemish Stout’.
(28.50) I notice that George didn’t edit this. So he’s probably mostly right.
(29.30) Blasphemous local beers are also left as an exercise for the audience.
(31.40) GABS debrief → Beervana preview. Last year’s posts, for comparison’s sake, form a good chunk of the May & June 2012 sections of the archive. Short version: tonnes of fun. And just awesome to see how the whole of Melbourne gets in the beery swing all week. I’ve got heaps of notes from this year; I’ll have to do a proper post. Dom’s write-up, just to throw you in his direction once more, is pretty-much bang on.
(43.20) George fell into the double-negative trap and just meant “clarified”, here.
(45.45) Beer of the Week #3: 8 Wired ‘Bumaye’.
(48.50) The black market beer barter economy is a wonderful, unexpected thing.
(51.40) Malthouse’s West Coast IPA Challenge is today, in fact. This has taken me a little while to get online, evidently. Their Darkest Day was tonnes of fun, and hopefully becomes an annual thing. ‘Matariki’ falls outside, you know, Matariki this year and I suppose therefore reverts to simply being the Winter Ale Festival. Meanwhile, to return to the theme, Garage Project’s entry is ‘Love From Above’ — a straight-APA version of ‘Death’, without the unusual ingredients (chili, lime, mint), and rather-obviously referencing the aforementioned clusterfuck.
(53.10) The ‘Tribute’ trademark. The Glengarry-Hancock’s video is, I repeat, utterly marvellous. You should watch it (again), and heap scorn upon them for that and for the trademark application. In an uncharacteristically-wise move, they’ve withdrawn their application. But seriously, fuck them for even trying.
(57.30) Recommendations:ParrotDog ‘BloodyDingo’, their GABS festival beer, arguably a potentially-slightly-controversial name, and surely the spiritual successor to Hadyn’s mighty BitterHound blend. Yeastie Boys ‘Golden Age of Bloodshed’, which is a reference to a kick-ass track, and was another potential source of ignition for a good old-fashioned moral panic (which never eventuated). Dave Wood’s ‘Beetnik’ is one of the only home-brewed beers in my Diary, and it’s utterly marvellous. Baylands American IPA, which narrowly avoids being an offensive style name.
(1.10.00) Hadyn’s Heineken lessons, with Franck.
(1.20.50) More Recommendations: Three Boys Oyster Stoat.
(1.22.25) Here Be Dragons: Sam Adams ‘Boston Lager’, says George. Now imported by “Independent”, about whom I rambled recently in the BrewDog context. In the end, I did write to them. BrewDog forwarded me to the Boundary Road chaps, who straight-facedly said they don’t mind how their whole business model is roundly and routinely ridiculed by the Scots they now import. But yes, I have a soft spot for Boston Lager, since it is Beer #1 in my Diary.
Not too long ago, George and I headed out to Newlands (which wasn’t as far away or as, you know, rural as my City-boy brain had somehow assumed) to sit down for chat with Aidan and Nikki of the new Baylands Brewery — a fully-fledged commercial brewery built on tiny-tiny scale in their garage.1 We talk about turning a hobby into a business, juggling the many responsibilities involved, plans for the future — and how the whole enterprise very-nearly fell apart right at the outset. Since we recorded, the official launch night took place at Golding’s Free Dive here in Wellington — to apparent smashing success — so keep an eye out for more Baylands beer popping up around town; I definitely enjoyed my glass of American IPA, and (as you’ll hear) our two Baylands-brewed Beers of the Week.
(00.45) I’m an appalling City Boy for thinking that Newlands is “the outskirts”.
(03.20) The extra ‘Hello!’ from George & I is, from memory, us greeting Aidan & Nikki’s daughter, who wandered in from time to time. Unexpected recording session guests are something of a tradition, that started with George & Robyn’s cats.
(04.55) Beer of the Week #1: Baylands English E.S.B..
(11.00) People often lament the lack of interaction between neighbours in the modern world. I hereby propose using the contents of various houses’ recycling bins to triage potential people worth introducing yourself to.
(19.30) A clever addition, this year, to the annual hop-fest that is Malthouse’s West Coast IPA Challenge was a kind of amateur / wildcard round. Since recording, it’s been and judged and gone, with Ryan Crawford taking the gong. He now gets the chance to brew (this weekend) his beer on Baylands’ kit to enter into the Main Event.
(24.55) Baylands’ debut beer was indeed a big American IPA — but not quite the batch they intended. We’ll get back to that in a bit.
(25.30) Beer of the Week #2: Baylands Vanilla Imperial Stout.
(37.40) Recommendations:Black Dog is the first thing to Aidan’s mind, and I have to say — as a fairly strident Big Brewery skeptic — that it really is a pleasant surprise; outright D.B.-owned, but apparently still operating with near-total creative control in the brewers’ hands, and a nicely-presented little bar / tasting room / off-license. And, in a weird coincidence, I was just talking about iStout Floats the other day on Twitter — you all really, really, really should have one.
(39.20) If you follow Nikki on Twitter — and you still should — you’ll see a lot of competition-related stuff, admittedly. It apparently pays off.
(40.30) George’s recommendation: Gunnamatta, still. (And fair enough!) Mine: Renaissance ‘Scotch on Rye’, a kinda-sorta mini-Stonecutter; lovely. I’ve had it a few times since, and stand by the recommendation, though George did recently try it and wasn’t so taken by it, so — as always — YMMV.
(42.10) 8 Wired Grand Cru is totally worth trying, and worth hoarding.
(44.20) And it might be time for a Central North roadtrip, since we do hear such nice things about Good George and Brew.
(50.50) Well, not at Hashigo on the 16th, in the end. The story goes that the queued-up first batch wasn’t quite as it should’ve been, and Aidan decided to postpone the launch until the next was ready, a few weeks later. The launch night — at Golding’s Free Dive, instead — seemed to be a cracking success, and the beer was pretty damn good. (It also coincided with Hashigo’s New-Zealand-launch of ParrotDog’s ‘BloodyDingo’, their GABS beer, and so gave Wellington another awesome night of Plural Beer Things On.)
1: For completeness and/or nostalgia, it’s worth pointing out that this is our second episode from a garage in which operates a very-little brewery. s01e05, way back when, was recorded at Garage Project — long before I worked there and long before it was (nearly) full of great big shiny steel tanks. ↑