Category Archives: Podcast episodes

Episodes of the Beer Diary Podcast, featuring detailed Show Notes of references and corrections and such

Beer Diary Podcast episode 7: At the Masons Arms with Kieran Haslett-Moore

After a Garage Project beer at Hashigo, George and I ventured out to the quiet outer suburbs to join Kieran Haslett-Moore in his in-house pub, the Masons Arms. Over a few of his beers (accompanied by a platter of delicious things he’d largely also made himself), we talked about the many roads to being a satisfied beer geek, pondered the idiosyncrasies of the Wellington craft beer scene and the wider industry at large. Towards the end, we picked up on the topic George and I had talked about last time, and discussed a few weirdnesses of beer award shows.

Kieran’s got a blog, which helpfully reproduces his Capital Times columns, and has quite-recently joined the Twitters. As always, a direct download is available, there’s a podcast-specific RSS feed, and you should be able to get us on iTunesGeorge and myself can also both be reached on the Twitterthing.

The Masons Arms
The Masons Arms' totally-accurate signage
Berhampore Best Bitter tap badge
Berhampore Best Bitter tap badge
The top of the pint shelf, with an RSB bottle
The top of the pint shelf, with an RSB bottle
RSB's silver medal
RSB's silver medal
Merchant of the Devil
Merchant of the Devil
Bar with post-podcast mini-carnage
Bar with post-podcast mini-carnage

Show notes:

  • (0.40) The Masons Arms, among its many charms, has a Pub Dog. Which makes for interestingly-challenging podcast recording, but adds to the ambience. As always, George was greatly helped in smoothing out the worst of it by the cleverness of Audacity, the open-source audio editor he uses.
  • (4.10) Not yet. Things are a little in-the-air in that neighbourhood, given a moderately-controversial proposed roading redevelopment.
  • (5.30) Beer of the Week #1: Kieran’s own ‘Berhampore Best Bitter’. We liked it so much that we took a photo of our lovely microphone in front of it, so it could be our “logo”, such as we have, on iTunes and whatnot.
  • (8.20) I am chronically Auckland-phobic, but feedback on a recent podcast pondering has me determined to make the trip up in January. Let’s see if it changes my mind.
  • (9.30) For completeness’ sake: here’s me in the paper, admitting exactly that.
  • (10.10) Frasier Crane once said it well: “If less is more, imagine how much more more would be.”
  • (17.00) The Emerson’s ‘JP’ we mention here has popped up in my Diary at least twice before. It’s reliably- and appropriately-interesting stuff, each year.
  • (23.00) Beer of the Week #2: Emerson’s ‘RSB: Regional Special Bitter’. A video of the brew day has since shown up on YouTube; it’s an instructive watch, if you haven’t seen this kind of thing, especially at this kind of scale, in action.
  • (26.50) Recent ramblings on collaborations can be found in my Diary entries for ‘Rescue Red’ and ‘Taranaki Pale Ale’. Long may the trend continue.
  • (34.00) The Wassail Brauhaus in Taranaki looks as awesome as their website looks retro and clunky — they are, one assumes, too busy doing more interesting things. I’m totally going to get myself there later this summer, hopefully on the way to / from a brew day at Liberty.
  • (36.50) Fuller’s 1845 gets two entries on here (so far), because there was that occasion when a customer insisted I have oneand the time I’d had it before but completely forgotten about, because my memory is complete rubbish.
  • (38.30) It doesn’t feel overly plug-ish to note that Regional’s website is now positively groaning under the weight of beers from all over. If you’re not familiar with them, you really should pay them a visit online and/or in person.
  • (41.20) I really am surprised that the ‘Craft Beer Capital’ website hasn’t really kicked up much controversy. It’s being kept quite neutral and ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ in its approach, so far, and that must be helping. I should disclaim that I know the people working for it, and that it does share some owners with the pub I work at — but I do think it could mature into a genuinely useful resource.
  • (42.20) General Practitioner (which Kieran does mention as I talk over him a bit; sorry) is a shining example. Always a Monteith’s-branded DB-tied venue, they’ve recently arranged for a dozen-plus lines of craft beer in their fridge.
  • (46.30) Renaissance ‘Stonecutter’ is totally my bet for greatest, most unexpected Gateway Beer — Episode III was partially a love-song thereto. And I wasn’t kidding: ‘Chick Beer’ really is a thing. Or hopefully merely was a thing; their own website seems dead. Good riddance.
  • (50.00) Recommendations: Moa Imperial Stout, for its inherent goodness, and its one-or-two counter-trend aspects. (And because it’s nice to say something nice about them for a change.)
  • (57.30) The History of IPA is so myth-ridden that Martyn Cornell really has turned it into a nice little cottage industry. Being wrong about this stuff is an exhilarating and delightful experience; myth-busting history is the best kind.
  • (1.01.00) Beer of the Week #3: Kieran’s own ‘Merchant of the Devil’ Imperial Stout. Which is us pausing Midstrength News for a week quite emphatically indeed. It was stupidly good.
  • (1.05.00) Further to my ramblings in the last episode, I still do think there’s room for another kind of beer awards (whether or not as part of the existing structure), but the Beer Cup, with its head-to-head setup, isn’t what I see as the way forward — barrel of fun though it did appear from here.
  • (1.08.00) This difference between medal classes and trophy classes is massively under-explained, to the public. Something definitely needs to be done about it; we’re definitely agreed on that.
  • (1.11.30) It’ll be a while yet before I’m done singing the praises of Steve Nally and his Invercargill Brewery. Most recently, on here, it was his ‘Sa!son’ that inspired me. I’ve also had that 2008 Vintage ‘Smokin’ Bishop’, since recording this, and it was pretty damn tasty — though still enjoyably peculiar. Consider it another Recommendation, just suitably late to the table.
  • (1.14.35) Cue the music: ‘Shopping for Explosives’, by The Coconut Monkeyrocket.

Podcast episode recorded: 6 September 2011. Appallingly-belatedly uploaded: 4 December 2011

Beer Diary Podcast episode 6: Beer Awards and Festivals

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.

As always, a direct download is available, there’s a podcast-specific RSS feed, and you should be able to get us on iTunesGeorge and myself can both be reached on the Twitterthing.

8 Wired 'The Sultan'
8 Wired 'The Sultan', after it was Beer of the Week
8 Wired 'The Sultan'
Sultan's, typically-informative label-blab
Tui Blond
Tui Blond's daft brandwank and award-brag
Stu McKinlay
Stu from Yeastie Boys, volunteering / advertising
Mini venison burger
A mini venision burger? Er... Hell yes.
Emerson's 'Black Ops'
Emerson's 'Black Ops', my first beer of the day

Show notes:

  • (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

Beer Diary Podcast episode 5: The Garage Project

For our first podcast ‘on the road’ (or at least ‘out of the house’), we went to visit the Garage Project in Aro Valley (on 26 August 2011, for the record — this blog has an obscure and confusing, but ultimately meaningful, system for dating its posts…). We sit down with Jos and Pete, have a few beers — though none of their own, far-too-rare as they are — and have a bit of a ramble about who they are, what they’re planning / have done so far, and what has inspired them.

Since it is quite a long conversation, George made vaguely chapter-sized chunks of it that you can listen to separately, though they don’t come with their own whiz-bang embedded media player thing: #0 (introductions, beers so far), #1 (Hot Rocks, the Plan, feedback), #2 (missing out), #3 (Gubna, cans), #4 (future plans, creative freedom), #5 (beer-and-music analogies, experimentation), #6 (the rat race versus time to play), #7 (breaking free of existing structures), #8 (feedback and online presence, Judgment Day, midstrength beer), #9 (recommendations, things to look forward to).

As always, a direct download is available, there’s a podcast-specific RSS feed, and you should be able to get us on iTunesGeorge and myself can both be reached on the Twitterthing, and you are (naturally) more than welcome to leave comments, here.

Beers of the Week
Beers of the Week
First three tap badges
First three tap badges
Feedback coaster
Feedback coaster
Two corny kegs
Two corny kegs of #10 (i.e., absolutely all of it)
The brewkit
The brewkit
The Garage, exterior
Genuinely a garage project

Show notes:

  • (0.10) Hear that echo? We were actually in a garage. There’s zero brandwank / myth-making in their name. We really must again give great thanks to Audacity, the open-source audio editor George uses, for cleaning up the audio a lot.
  • (1.00) Beer of the Week #1: Port Brewing ‘Hot Rocks’ Lager. My Malthouse-colleague and friend Jono Galuszka wrote a piece on the Garage Project for the Dominion Post. It was the photographer for that who was frustrated by the lack of “prop beer”. He was probably just miffed he didn’t get any “sneak peeks”.
  • (3.50) The Consumer report is out now, evidently, in what is presumably the September 2011 issue. There’s a little summary online, which does include an equally-little photo of our tasting panel — that’s me in the grey shirt; I was the only guy who didn’t show up with his own branding emblazoned upon himself.
  • (5.05) Beers so far: #1 ‘Trip Hop’ (pale ale), #2 ‘Manuka Dark’ (smoked beer), #3 ‘Pernicious Weed’ (pale ale), #4 & #5 were A and B variants of ‘Hazy Daze’ (new-hop-variety pale ales), #6 ‘Lord Cockswain’s Courage’ (oaked, Belgian Porter) & #7 ‘V.P.A.: Venusian Pale Ale’ (multiply-infused pale ale), #8 ‘Hapi Daze’ (pale ale), #9 ‘Golden Brown’ (brown ale). And, since recording: #10 ‘Bière de Garage’ (cherry bière de garde), #11 ‘Red Rocks’ (American amber ale).
  • (8.00) Pete’s previous gigs: Malt Shovel Brewery (a.k.a James Squires’), Hepworth & Co., Brakspear.
  • (8.59) And here, a fridge switches on, sounding for all the world like a massive Tesla Coil or something else mad-sciency. Since it wasn’t constant, the audio editor wasn’t able to scrub it out very well.
  • (10.40) Yeah, we’re a little ramblier, this week. We are four people with beers in our hands, after all. Back to ‘Hot Rocks’, I did manage to find the video that I mentioned which documents the making-of; it’s pretty damn cool stuff. Stone & Wood have a write-up for their version online, as well; I’m mad keen to try it. Also, Turkey fryers have their own Wikipedia page — and are therefore totally “a thing”.
  • (13.10) The comparison with software releases — particularly the difference between open and closed “beta” — is massively apt.
  • (15.50) “This beer is good shit” is a great review, in both senses. Jos compiled a ‘word cloud’ of the sum-total of feedback; it’s an interesting way to see public opinion in a snapshot and they’ve been doing more, specific to different beers.
  • (16.50) George was wondering, last time, whether my casual use of “shitfaced” in a discussion of midstrength beers (i.e., those that can help stop you becoming so) was our first expletive. Pete’s nervous enthusiasm for brewing here really does put me to shame. We’ll have to figure out how to activate the “language” tag on iTunes.
  • (19.00) Brewjolais really is sadly missed. A 2011 edition was planned, but brewing operations had shifted from Wellington to Christchurch, and the earthquake intervened. I spoke candidly to someone (who shall remain nameless for their protection and because my memory is, as you may know, rather rubbish) from Lion / Mac’s who assured me that enthusiasm for it as a beer remains among the staff, and that those of us in the public who miss it should write in and say so to help convince the marketing and accounting departments.
  • (25.20) A “corny keg” is apparently (and charmingly) more-properly known as a Cornelius Keg. Those are them in the photo of the entire batch of #10, above.
  • (26.20) Beer of the Week #2: Oskar Blues ‘Gubna’ IIPA, from a can (as you could probably guess from the awesome sound effects).
  • (26.30) If you’re a new listener, and haven’t heard George’s reactions to Yeastie Boys ‘Rex Attitude’, you should probably go visit Episode III, next.
  • (27.00) I am all in favour of canned beer, and had little rants on the subject as adjunts to my Diary entries for Maui Brewing’s Coconut Porter and ‘Big Swell’ IPA.
  • (29.30) “You could have [a vending machine] on your back!” is a reference to the seriously-awesome costumes the boys donned for the launch of their Dr. Grordbort-themed releases. Jos was all Safari Suit Explorer Type, but Pete was very much the Adventurer Mechanic, and had two corny kegs strapped to his back, with a dispensing hose in each hand.
  • (31.50) Martin Craig did a nice write-up on ‘The Chosen One’, after our blind tasting session with all three candidates and a few controls.
  • (36.30) I’ll admit (and have done, on here); I love the Steampunk aesthetic. But you can’t have rayguns in steampunk, and Grordbort has rayguns aplenty.
  • (45.20) Portal is an absolute masterpiece (and really cheap, these days), and when you look back to Narbacular Drop (the student project from which it developed, which I’ve also played), you really have to be impressed at what a small group of clever and committed people can do.
  • (45.50) Scott Boswell and I, when he still worked at Malthouse, spent quite a while one night reading about the legendary elBulli. Unfortunately, we were motivated to do so by the release of a collaboration beer they did with Estrella, called ‘Inedit’ — which was total pants. Jos and Pete’s points aren’t affected by that, though.
  • (52.50) Beer of the Week #3: Lost Abbey ‘Judgment Day’. That peculiar sound was Jos working the cork out of the bottle; so we had three beers, with three different enclosures.
  • (53.10) Garage Project online: @garage_project on Twitter, and website and occasional bloggery at
  • (54.10) The word cloud here is the one I mentioned and linked to in the note at 15.50 — we really are setting records for picking up abandoned threads of conversation after long tangents through other stuff.
  • (58.00) @BeerGlassphemy is on Twitter.
  • (58.40) Midstength News: Liberty Brewing’s ‘T.S.B.: Taranaki Session Beer’ slipped my mind in the Midstrength Beer episode, but proved a huge hit at a similarly-themed beer tasting at Weta Digital. Garage Project’s ‘Hapi Daze’ was mis-labeled as “Session IPA”, and Jos — ever-handy with the digital gadgets — did indeed whip up the taplist for Hamilton’s Tavern on no notice at all. Go take a look, yourself.
  • (1.03.20) Recommendations: Liberty Brewing’s stuff, in general. And Townshend ‘Sutton Hoo’ (which was a collaboration with / recipe borrowed from 666 Brewing) — its namesake historic place is well-worth reading about, too. Emerson’s Dunkelweiss.
  • (1.07.00) The collaborative ‘Peoples Project’ was announced online and in Jono’s Dominion Post article. Given my experience with the coffee-tastic ‘Batch 18’ from 8 Wired and the loopier ideas Pete mentions, I’m very keen.
  • (1.11.10) The Pacific Beer Expo will be October 22 & 23 in Wellington; tickets and a little write-up are available at Hashigo’s ‘Cult Beer Store’ online shop.
  • (1.12.45) Cue the music: ‘Shopping for Explosives’, by The Coconut Monkeyrocket.

Beer Diary Podcast episode 4: Emerson’s Bookbinder and Midstrength Beer

I was in the very-vague planning stages for a Midstrength Beer tasting (which did eventually, er, eventuate) and George and I thought that the topic itself was worthy of a longer discussion, not merely a little recurring segment — although we’ll keep that, too. Sessionable beer really is an ongoing obsession of mine; a good one is a bloody marvellous thing for all sorts of reasons, and I’m delighted that they seem to be coming back onto the beer-drinkers’ and beer-makers’ radars.

We do apologise for the inadvertent hiatus suffered by the podcast (it’s the 30th of August as I post this, and so about five weeks since the last episode); we’ve both been abnormally-busy with our “regular” jobs, and I was also knocked over for a few weeks by a particularly nasty winter lurgy (as us hospitality workers occasionally are). We hope to return you (and ourselves, obviously) to regularly-scheduled programming from here.

As always, a direct download is available (and so will more-bite-sized ‘chapter’ chunks, in a day or two…), there’s a podcast-specific RSS feed, and you should be able to get us on iTunes. George and myself can both be reached on the Twitterthing, and you are (naturally) more than welcome to leave comments, here.

Show notes:

  • (0.40) It had been a while been recordings, and now it’s also been an extra while between postings. That feels oddly prescient.
  • (0.50) Beer of the Week: Emerson’s ‘Bookbinder’.
  • (2.00) Pompallier House is totally worth a visit.
  • (3.30) It was officially called the Museum of Fishes and the usually-useful internets are being a little unclear on whether or not it still exists / has been sold / moved. Any local knowledge would be welcome; that place was awesome.
  • (4.20) Southern Cross is a surprisingly good good-beer venue, still.
  • (5.10) Basically everything is Toby’s fault, if the situation / humour demands. We’re both a little surprised that this is his first time getting called out for it.
  • (5.50) Emerson’s Pilsner was Beer of the Week for Episode I.
  • (7.55) When I ran the aforementioned Midstrength Beer tasting, the phrase “kebeb-seeking missile” came out of nowhere to describe late-night drunken food choices. You all know what I mean.
  • (8.15) The clip from The Human Body doesn’t appear to be online, sadly. But the whole series is worth watching, not just for that moment.
  • (8.50) I really did flub a good deal of the history, here. Kieran Haslett-Moore mercifully jumped in in a comment (below) and padded things out properly / tidied them up. I didn’t help my case by not really quantifying my “historically”, of course, and I suppose the general point — that midstrength things did fade from view for much of the last beer-drinking generation — still stands.
  • (9.30) Before proper sanitation, the water really would kill you. Beer has to be boiled, and has booze in it — both of these things help keep you safe against any number of otherwise-nasty microbes. The past was not a Golden Age.
  • (11.20) 8 Wired ‘Underwired’ got its own Diary entry, and was mentioned in Episode I (foreshadowingly) and II (with the benefit of hindsight).
  • (13.00) The definitional question is always fun for nit-picking (preferably with a few pints), but 3-point-something is a good guide. The Session Beer Project are the Americans I refer to who (for various good reasons) opt for ≤4.5%.
  • (15.00) Martyn Cornell’s post on the subject is a typically-great mix of history and damn-good-point-making.
  • (15.20) If you’re thinking in physics terms — and you should, occasionally — the relevant concept is power, not work; it’s not just the strength of the thing, it’s the strength per time. More-flavourful beers can be “sessionable” at higher ABV.
  • (16.20) Seriously, if you see Fraser around town, buy him a beer. Not just for his Argument Concerning Boozemath — for all sorts of reasons. The key is to remember that, factoring in various things which doubtless vary wildly, each beer you have contains some alcohol you’ll process before the next beer and some extra, intoxicating alcohol that’ll slowly build up. This is not really reflected in ABV or in “standard drinks” notation.
  • (20.40) In New Zealand, beer under 1.15% attracts no excise tax; anything 1.15% – 2.5% is subject to 38.208¢ per litre of beverage; and all beer 2.5% and over is levied at $25.476 per litre of alcohol.
  • (23.10) See? Toby made me drink Tui. Well, he didn’t make me. I still blame him.
  • (24.00) Pressed for recommendations: Emerson’s ‘Bookbinder’; Hallertau ‘Minimus’ (punnier name suggestions for the Winter Variant are welcome…); Cassels & Sons ‘Elder Ale’ (Elder-berries is very-definitely Monty Python); Yeastie Boys have made a few midstrengthables — I unfairly had a couple of no-longer-available ones come to mind, but unforgiveably forgot to mention / didn’t yet know about the Pot Kettle Black 2011 ‘Remix’, which is a session-strength “weemix” (and Stu’s pants really are legendary; Jed Soane got a good photo of them, as you’d be right to expect); Galbraith’s ‘Bob Hudson’s Bitter’ (which is lighter than I remember, at 3.2%).
  • (27.30) The Wikipedia page for White Lightning puts it bluntly — “It was known for its high alcohol strength and low price. White Lightning was popular with those wishing for alcoholic intoxication at a minimum price.” — and notes that its strength crept gradually downwards before it was abandoned entirely.
  • (29.40) Coopers make great Gateway Beers (as we mentioned in Episode II), and frequently (though not always) make just plain great beers.
  • (30.50) Talking about this again more recently, I’m not sure why the Australians were earlier on the midstrength uptake, in mass-market terms. One hypothesis that came up (I forget out of whose brain; possibly my own) is that the more-mad sporting culture over there helped push the big breweries to make 3.5%-ish lagers, in an effort to find a relatively-palatable middle ground for both the drinkers and the local authorities.
  • (31.20) That’s how out of date we got, right there. The has been a ruling on Radler, as you probably know. The bad guys won, as they sometimes do. I’ll have to rant properly about that at a later date. Campbell Live had two surprisingly-decent pieces on the subject, one before the verdict and one after.
  • (32.20) There you go, I said it: IPONZ are narcoleptics, or drunks. Or both.
  • (33.30) I know it was a while ago, so I should give a link to last time, which was indeed about “winter ales”.
  • (35.00) Breweries on the way: Garage Project (gee, we should interview them; tune in again next time…); ParrotDog (which probably isn’t at all Art Deco, in the logo department); Revolution Brewing; Brewaucracy.
  • (39.20) Liberty Brewing’s stuff has all been worthy, and some of it just plain marvellous. ‘Never Go Back’ is still my solid favourite. And I did slightly screw-up the history of the company; Stu (currently of Yeastie Boys, formerly of Liberty Itself) appeared in a comment (below) to give the proper story.
  • (42.40) Yeastie Boys ‘Fools Gold’ (no apostrophe) is a pleasantly-coincidental thing to mention, given the slot this podcast episode will fall into, in the Beer Diary timestream — weirdly-distorted as it is. If you haven’t heard George trying ‘Rex Attitude’, you should listen to the tail end of Episode III. He is embarrassed to have to correct himself on his film references, though: he didn’t mean Remains of the Day (he enjoyed that), he meant The Age of Innocence (which he definitely did not enjoy).
  • (45.00) Cue the music: ‘Shopping for Explosives’, by The Coconut Monkeyrocket.
  • (45.26) We’re way overdue to give credit to Audacity, the open-source audio editor we’ve used for all of these so far. George — a man with degrees in marketing and zoology, not audio engineering — found it alarmingly-easy to learn and capable of genuinely impressive cleverness.

Beer Diary Podcast episode 3: Stonecutter, Winter Beers (and Rex Attitude)

The weather took a serious turn for the freezing-cold just as we were contemplating our third episode, so something on Winter beers seemed suitable and sensible. It also gives us a chance to talk a bit about how breaking habits, taking chances, and paying a little more attention-to-situation in general can do a beer drinker a world of good.

I bought a bottle of Yeastie Boys ‘Rex Attitude’ to have after the recording, too, but when it turned out that George hadn’t actually gotten around to having one yet, we decided to ‘start rolling’ again and capture his reaction.

A direct download is available, there’s a podcast-specific RSS feed, and you should be able to get us on iTunes.

Show notes:

  • (1.20) Somewhat slack and distracted and (most recently) under-the-weather, I haven’t set up any such email yet. My bad. But obviously you should feel free to comment here, contact me via Twitter (@phil_cook), or whatever.
  • (2.30) George and I were frantically busy with another project between the recording-of and posting-of days for this episode. I do hope you excuse the confusing dates with which these things are officially tagged — it’s mostly a fiction to keep them in the correct running order with the actual Diary entries. Anyway, last Thurdsay (i.e., July 14), the Radler ‘verdict’ came down. In D.B.’s favour, depressingly.
  • (4.15) Beer of the Week: Renaissance ‘Stonecutter’, which I’ve loved for ages, and definitely not just because of the Simpsons reference, although that counts as pretty awesome gravy. We had this as one of several ‘Winter Beers’ at a tasting I hosted last Friday, and when I mentioned the reference, one of the attendees revealed that he was wearing a tshirt with the Stonecutter’s logo. Just brilliant.
  • (7.40) It won’t just be the strength; there is apparently a small amount of peated malt used as part of the varied-and-enormous grain bill.
  • (8.20) Yeah, “Banoffee” is a straightforward portmanteau of ‘banana’ and ‘toffee’, rather than its own thing. Which is almost disappointing, but the occasion to use the word ‘portmanteau’ does make up for it.
  • (12.50) There are few things more frustrating than an upset English customer telling you that the beer here is too cold, and not ‘warm’ like at home. Room-temperature consumption is a myth — at least as a general practice, some oddballs notwithstanding.
  • (22.10) Yeastie Boys ‘Her Majesty’ this year is utterly, utterly different from last year’s — though you can’t feel too bad when those guys go and ruin your preconceptions; they do that all the damn time. I liked this year’s a lot, but it’s not remotely in the camp of beers I’m talking about, here, it turns out.
  • (23.30) I will never stop recommending the imperial stout ice-cream float. It’s divine and such a weird experience. I’ve converted a few people, and you really should add yourself to that list.
  • (27.10) Beer is widely-varied enough that there are always exceptions to everything. Since a run-in with an off bottle of Peak Brewery’s ‘Monkey Point IPA’, strawberry (particularly strawberry yoghurt) has been a running-joke stand-in for offness and horror. But now Taranaki’s Liberty Brewing have put out a ‘High Carb Ale®’ which uses big doses of New Zealand-grown Chinook hops that lend it a distinct strawberry-ish flavour — in a good way, this time.
  • (33.05) Rex Attitude is a track by Laurent Garnier. Go have a listen; it’s suitably odd. Apparently the tune just came on Stu’s iPod as he was contemplating the beer, so the two were fused together in his head.
  • (33.50) Jed’s photos from the launch party are awesome. And his website is indeed
  • (34.40) Nope; I still can’t quite make that joke work.
  • (36.00) Midstrength News, with a 7%-er in hand. Because everything in moderation — including moderation. As they say. Hallertau ‘Minimus’ is glorious, and its Winterised Cousin is just as lovely — not massively modified, just darkened up from ‘gold’ to ‘bronze’.
  • (38.50) is definitely worth a look, although it seems in need of an update. New episodes do pop up on their YouTube channel. Kelly’s big-long blogpost about ‘Mash Up’ is a great read, and I thought the beer was pretty lovely, too. Hop Zombie IIPA — a.k.a. “One Trick Pony” — turned out marvellous.
  • (43.20) ‘Re: Your Brains’ by Jonathan Coulton really is a masterpiece. has samples and downloads and a store and everything.
  • (43.50) Cue the music: ‘Shopping for Explosives’, by The Coconut Monkeyrocket.
  • (44.05) Special Bonus Extra Beer of the Week: Yeastie Boys ‘Rex Attitude’.
  • (45.50) You really should watch The Trip. Seriously. Check out the trailer.
  • (51.00) It was simply called ‘Speight’s Harvest’, and George and I tried it with our friend Aran, who had just gotten a delivery of “bacon salt” from the weirdly-wonderful (tagline: “Everything should taste like bacon”). Hating the beer, we threw in the salt for a laugh. It didn’t help.
  • (52.10) It’s known generally as ‘Overtone singing’, and there are various traditions around the World; all of it fairly freaky to my ears, too. Check out Tuvan or Inuit examples, if you doubt us.
  • (55.40) Cue the music, again: ‘Shopping for Explosives’, by The Coconut Monkeyrocket.

Beer Diary Podcast episode 2: Fat Yak and Beer Marketing

Back for a second round, we have a beer which George discovered purely from its advertising. Which leads to a discussion about beer marketing in general; the history, the good and the very-very-bad indeed. We touch on a few recent controversies and try to make some sense of them from each end — George the marketing man, and me the beer nerd. We also offer a few more recommendations for things to seek out, and decide on our first recurring “segment”.

A direct download is available, as before, and there’s a podcast-specific RSS feed. I believe we’re now also available on iTunes, though I’m still trying to figure that one out… I’ve had a couple of requests for some chapter-sized downloadables, too (a bit easier to sneakily listen to at work, perhaps), and I’ll get cracking on those.

Show notes:

  • (0.40) There are two lost episodes: one very much a ‘tech demo’ / dress rehearsal, the other unfortunately largely superseded by unexpected events. DVD extras one day, maybe…
  • (1.10) Dinner was Vege Burgers, and they were great. They lead perhaps-ironically well to our Beer of the Week: Matilda Bay ‘Fat Yak’, which I do rate rather highly (as a Gateway Beer and inherently-rather-charming thing).
  • (1.55) Weirdly, I didn’t screw up the Brewery Ownership Trivia.
  • (3.20) Cuba Street is great for all sorts of reasons. Non-Wellingtonians, non-New-Zealanders and non-Earthlings should all come visit; each group seems already represented, but the more the merrier. And here’s the billboard in question.
  • (4.50) The artwork is nicely done, I think you’d have to admit.
  • (5.10) The classic Australian “pale ales” (however defined), Cooper’s Pale Ale and Little Creatures Pale Ale, are both perennial favourites of mine.
  • (6.40) Not much Canadian beer in my Diary so far, but some.
  • (7.05) We showed you the microphone last time. It’s lovely.
  • (9.05) George is chuffed to see his Nerd Points growing, getting that reference before it was even made.
  • (10.10) I love Gateway Beer. I even made them their own category on here. We’ll have to devote a Full Length Ramble to them soon.
  • (11.10) Proposals for T-shirt designs welcome.
  • (13.30) Beer’s done a lot. It’s had a lot of time to. Arguably, it invented Civilisation itself (an outrageous claim I’ll defend another day) — but it was certainly instrumental in the origin of Marketing as we know it.
  • (14.45) Pete Brown’s books and bloggings and whatnot are all tremendously readable and useful things. That’ll be your homework, if you’re unfamiliar.
  • (18.30) Brandwank really is the best word I’ve come up with for the bad end of marketing. It just seems to fit so horribly well.
  • (20.00) The first Moa I wrote up was their ‘St. Joseph Tripel’, the (non-Diary) entry for which unsubtly hints at this problem. Their Pale Ale and ‘Five Hop Winter Ale’ got Diary entries later on, during the brand overhaul.
  • (23.00) NZ$138 million, it seems. So not “nearly 200”, but still serious money.
  • (27.30) God the ‘Moa Breakfast Beer’ saga was depressing. But George (perhaps out of name-based solidarity) would also like to take me to task for unfairly knocking Mr. Lopez.
  • (29.20) Hallertau ‘Minimus’, if not the first, is still a much classier “breakfast beer”. For all sorts of reasons.
  • (31.10) Honestly, I didn’t make up the billboard about lesbians. 42 Below also got in trouble (intentionally, of course) for a homophobic (or at least boringly stereotypical) campaign in the mid 2000s. It’s sad to think that shit might still work.
  • (32.40) I get hopelessly lost in unreliable sources for these things, but: “It ain’t braggin’, if you done it” gets attributed to Walt Whitman, “It ain’t braggin’ if ya can back it up” apparently comes from baseball player ‘Dizzy’ Dean, and you often see “It ain’t braggin’, if it’s true” credited to Mohammad Ali. It’s a great point, regardless of its provenance.
  • (33.20) No, we haven’t mentioned Radler until now. That was in one of our “lost episodes”. As you can tell, we recorded this before the hearing. There should be a ruling any day now…
  • (34.45) Even if the trademark attack fails, I suspect there’s a Fair Trading Act case to be made given that “Radler”™ is 5% ABV.
  • (40.10) Seriously, everything aside, I like Moa ‘Five Hop’.
  • (41.00) The ‘ladder’ I was struggling to recall goes: Ordinary Bitter, Best Bitter, Extra Special Bitter. Martyn Cornell’s ‘Zythophile’ blog is full of great history, but I couldn’t see anything directly on this question, specifically. I should finally get around to reading his book.
  • (42.45) Croucher ‘Patriot’ got a fairly-glowing Diary entry, which included potentially-helpful links to just what the hell a “Jaffa” is, if you’re oblivious. It occurs to me that Yeastie Boys ‘PKB’ was one of my recommendations, last time. This “Black IPA” trend really has carried me along happily with it.
  • (45.50) 8 Wired ‘Underwired’ was more enjoyable in its aftertastes (given the very light feel), but spurs conversations like this — thereby giving you something to talk about while those flavours meander. That’s a clever trick.
  • (48.20) I’ll have to get a proper photo of the Croucher Pale Ale label text; that “delicious burps” line is just too perfect.
  • (49.10) Midstrength News finally finds its name, here. Long may it continue. Kegs of ‘Winter Minimus’ have arrived in the chiller at work; expect a report back soon…
  • (49.50) “Sucking a peanut-butter-sandwich through a straw; that’s hard” is a quote from Hyperman, a game from the mid-nineties which I only ever played once, but which a friend of ours (who could do the voice) liked to quote.
  • (50.15) Cue the music: ‘Shopping for Explosives’, by The Coconut Monkeyrocket.

Beer Diary Podcast episode 1: Emerson’s Pilsner and Grey Market Imports

An experimental offering from George (him of the original Diary) and myself, in which we enjoy a beer while pondering the history and various happenings that surround the stuff. We’re aiming to keep things accessible and conversational (hopefully with some guest conversationalists along the way), so have a listen, join in through comments or on Twitter or however — and pass it around to anyone you think might also enjoy it.

A direct download is also available, so you can throw this on the mp3-playing-gizmo of your choice — if listening at work would be a little obvious, or something. There’s also a podcast-specific RSS feed available that should get along nicely with Google Reader or iTunes or what-have-you.

Show notes:

  • (2.10) As the ‘About’ page explains, a “chilly bin” might otherwise be known as an “Esky” or “cooler” — depending on where you’re from.
  • (3.40) International Beer Law fail: the U.A.E. isn’t dry, just more heavily- and peculiarly-regulated than usual. The £10 bottle of Corona was lamentingly reported by Martyn Cornell.
  • (4.00) I tried to smuggle Emerson’s ‘Taieri George’ out from under its Easterish / hot-cross-buns-ish comparisons when recently uploading an old Diary entry.
  • (4.40) We don’t really mind that we just lost Speight’s as a potential sponsor.
  • (5.00) The marvellous ‘King & Godfree’ bottlestore / deli does still exist.
  • (7.30) Witness our delightful microphone.
  • (8.20) Beer of the Week: Emerson’s Pilsner, which we’ve both liked for yonks.
  • (8.48) The thud was me inadvertently hitting the table. Apparently I flail my hands around quite a bit. Luckily, George can edit most of them out.
  • (9.10) Please do send in suggestions for an “airquotes” jingle.
  • (9.45) Witness our delightful bottle opener.
  • (11.00) We bloody loves Emerson’s ‘Bookbinder’, we do. George and me both. It’s doubtless what started me on my Midstrength Obsession, too.
  • (13.15) Fittingly, “all I know” about Tangerines is wrong: they’re not from Tangiers, merely named so because they were originally imported from there.
  • (14.45) Pilsner is from 1842, so “mid” 1800s — not “late” as I often get wrong.
  • (16.45) My initial ramblings about Grey Market Imports caused a bit of a stir, but were buried within a Diary entry about Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
  • (18.00) “Dairy” might be a bit like “Chilly Bin”, I fear. Localisation of this term is particularly baffling, so: corner store / convenience store / milk bar / deli. You know what I mean, right?
  • (19.30 & 26.00) I had a Russian River ‘Pliny the Elder’ which I didn’t like as much as I wanted to like, so it’s become iconic of this problem, for me.
  • (24.40) “Tastes like strawberry” hearkens back to a beer that I first had at George’s house which had recurring infection problems (our bottle, mercifully, escaped).
  • (26.30) Brews News had the two key articles, here: Pete Mitcham on Sierra Nevada itself, and then Matt Kirkegaard on Grey Market stuff in general — arguing quite convincingly for a boycott.
  • (27.30) George — quite the Movie Nerd — is terribly embarrassed to note that it was Ice Cube, not LL Cool J, who featured in Anaconda.
  • (28.00) Film names do change around a lot, but seriously, the sequel to Piranha 3D looks like it might be called Piranha 3DD. Knowing this, however, didn’t make up for George’s shame at getting the James Cameron titbit slightly off: ‘Avatar Jim’ directed the original sequel (if that makes sense; you know, the one after the original original).
  • (31.10) George would like to point out that this is likely your one-and-only-one opportunity to hear me admit that I’m controlled by the Universe.
  • (33.00) Beer Store deals (only partially?) in the Grey, whereas Hashigo Zake’s online ‘Cult Beer Store’ traffics solely in the White. I’ve had bloody marvellous beers from both. As with literally everything, Your Mileage May Vary.
  • (35.00) Yeastie Boys ‘Pot Kettle Black’ is increasingly available. You should have some, if you haven’t — if you have, have more, or try one of its variant editions. I rambled most about the troublesome name for the style when I had a Deschutes ‘Hop in the Dark’.
  • (38.00) I lamented Invercargill’s ‘rebranding’ when I not-long-ago uploaded the from-long-ago Diary entry for ‘Biman’ — as I will keep spelling it, thank you.
  • (40.00) Midstrength News debuts here, though it’s yet to attract the name (it will, later…) — and the 8 Wired ‘Underwired’ reference shows you how long we’ve been meaning to do this.
  • (41.00) How the hell did I so-readily know that Angostura Bitters (which I don’t even like) is 44.7% ABV? That’s some worryingly-Rain-Man nonsense.
  • (41.30) Cue the music: ‘Shopping for Explosives’, by The Coconut Monkeyrocket.