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Entries in wellington (7)


Wellington's beer scene keeps improving

My latest column from The Wellingtonian reviews The Hop Garden and The Bruhaus - two new bars in the Capital.  The column is titled "Wellington's beer scene keeps improving":

The service is attentive and efficient, with former Malthouse stalwart Scott Boswell a star behind the bar.  There is an ever-changing selection of 11 tap beers, plenty of interesting bottles and a menu that just keeps improving.  Tuatara, Renaissance, Three Boys and Emerson's beers are usually available.  The food selection ranges from pub staples to gourmet meals.  Try the sardines for brunch, the salt and pepper squid as a snack or the braised goat tagine for dinner.

Glass Tip: The Wellingtonian



Sport and good beer now an unlikely mix

My most recent column in the Wellingtonian newspaper surveys the range of beer available at most major sporting events and argues the selection does not have to be so bad.  The article is titled "Sport and good beer now an unlikely mix":

"The hirer has the right to sell the liquor rights and usually that is sponsored," Mr Gray said, explaining why there was not a greater variety of beers offered.  "If you offer variety, you reduce the value of that sponsorship."  A spokesman for the picturesque Basin Reserve confirmed a similar process.

Glass Tip - The Wellingtonian 


Beerly Writing - Wellington on a roll and the top ten of 2010

In late December I published my top ten list of New Zealand beers for 2010.  This is always fun to write and is always the most debated column of the year.  There were five new beers on the list which was headlined "The pick of the beers this year":

My now traditional column about the year's top 10 beers involves perusing tasting notes, results and articles. It's not easy comparing a beer I had on a rainy July night with one I had last week in the sun.  Clearly, my preference is for hoppy, bitter and strong ales, but other styles are represented.

In my first Wellingtonian column of the New Year, I reflected on Wellington's potential claim to being the Beer Capital of New Zealand in "Wellington beer on a roll":

Wellington is sometimes referred to as the unofficial craft beer capital of New Zealand.   This claim is occasionally questioned by people from Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch and even, strangely, Auckland.

Certainly, each of those centres has far more breweries than Wellington. In fact, we have just one, the successful Tuatara operation in Reikorangi, which puts us on a numerical par with Arrowtown, Geraldine and Urenui.

Glass Tip - The Wellingtonian


Neil Miller


BEERVANA – A Beginners Guide

Beervana is the one time of the year that you can visit a single location in New Zealand and try the largest range of New Zealand brewed beers in one place. On offer there will be over 160 different beers from all around the country.

The benefits of this are you get the freshest beer from nearly every brewery in NZ, you get to discover many small breweries you may not have heard of and even less likely to visit them in their remote, far away locations.

You also get to meet the people that made the beers. Pretty much every stand has the actual brewer there, so you have a chance to meet them and find out the interesting stories behind the beers and the brewer and what drives and inspires them.

There is a downside. You can’t physically get around to every stand and try every beer on offer. So as a professional in this area of sampling beer, I will outline some strategies so you can make the most of your visit to Beervana.

Dates: Friday 27th & Saturday 28th August 2010
Sessions: There are four sessions, two each day. 12-4pm & 5-9pm
Beers: 160+
Breweries: 35+
Price: $30 (includes, glass & one free beer)
- (bring cash with you for additional beers, miss the queues at the cash machine)
- (pricing per sample vary by brewery and alcohol strength)
- (gold coins will speed transaction time)
Samples: Full taste 200ml & ½ sample 100ml

Depending on how much you like crowds and how long you want to talk to your favorite brewers then the session time is important. (This might not be relevant if all sessions sell out) Generally the afternoon sessions are more relax and less of the festive & celebrator mood the evening sessions have, therefore if you are interested in engaging in conversation with brewers the afternoon is best.

If you are there to taste as many different new beers as you can (as you should be because this isn’t really the place to be if you are just coming to drink your favorite beer brand you drink every day), then you would be best advised to just go for the half serve size. This means you will be able to try nearly twice as many different beers. In a session it would be reasonable to budget on being able to try possibly up to 30 x 100ml tastes.

4 hours x 60 minutes = 240 minutes
30 x 100ml = 3000ml or 3 litres (that is actually a lot of beer)
240 minutes / 30 samples = 1 sample per 8 minutes

You have 4 hours in a session to check out a huge number of beers, more beers than is physically able to be served to you in this amount of time. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TRY THEM ALL (160+ different beers)

Some might think that 30 samples in 4 hours isn’t many but you need to factor in the delays at the popular stands (oh yeah, they will all be popular, its beer), plus you will want to spend some time with friends socializing and discussing the beers that you are trying.

Since you are probably only going to be able to taste 30 out of 160 beers you are going to want to think about how to do this in a way that isn’t random, and has you trying beers you don’t like that much.

BY STYLE – this is possibly a good way to do it if you have a favorite beer style or two. Example, head to every brewery and just try there IPA’s, this way you can see if there are other breweries making your favorite style of beer. You might find some new favorite beers.

BY BREWERY – pick out some breweries that you will try all their beers. This could be done by breweries “you are never likely to visit (geographically)” OR “you have never heard or tried their beers before”

BY AWARDS – on Thursday evening 26th August the BrewNZ Beer Awards results are announced, so that you will then be able to take the results and walk around the venue and try all the trophy winning beers. Many of the award winning brewers will display there trophies on there stands.

BY FESTIVE BREW – every year for the BrewNZ Beer Awards there is a category for brewers to make a new beer for the first time, and made to a theme. 2010 the theme is “Let’s Go Native”. Many of these beers will only ever be available at Beervana and the few days following this event.

You can learn about beer beyond just tasting it. There are multiple seminars each session talking about beer and food, and cheese, and chocolate and even sensory evaluation. There are a range of experts presenting, you have a chance to taste beer and food together, as well as heard about the fascinating world of beer, including a special guest speaker Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head Brewery in the US.

- pick a session
- go for the half sample
- have a strategy (brewery, style, award winners, festive brew)
- bring cash, preferable gold coins, for fast transactions

The bottom line though, this is a chance for you to try beers you haven’t tried, a chance to learn from the people that make it and have a good time with your friends while learning the diversity of styles and flavours that beer has.

Want to stay up with what is going on follow @BeervanaNZ on Twitter, and become friends on Facebook.

Luke Nicholas

(Luke is owner/brewer of Epic Brewing Company, owner/webmaster of as well as international beer judge at the World Beer Cup. Having attending many beer festivals, including Beervana Luke realized may people missed out on optimizing their experience due to not enough information.)


IPA Project 2010 and Beerfest comes to Welly

Arrow Brewing Company have announced their "IPA Project 2010." Teasers have been sent out but I have received the synopsis of this awesome sounding project which involves Arrow brewing

"an authentic IPA by traditional methods and cask conditioning the resulting beer in a wooden barrel. On March 1, this IPA will be given its "sea journey" when the barrel ventures out into the notorious Foveaux Strait on board one of the first oyster boats to set sail for the season. Upon the boats return to Bluff, the barrel will be transported back to Arrowtown where the celebrations begin and the IPA will be "cracked" and served with fresh oysters. This project is a world first and a unique way to celebrate two great traditions."
Major media coverage is expected tonight and tomorrow.

On Saturday 6 March 2010,Beer Festival 2010 comes to Wellington. This event gets bigger and better every year, was a huge success in Auckland recently and returns to the Capital this year with more breweries and a weather proof venue.

The event runs from midday to 9pm at the Westpac Stadium (please don't call it the 'Cake Tin'). 25 breweries will be pouring over 70 different beers, there will be food, there will be music, there will be seminars and there will be the opportunity to talk to the people who made the beers. Full details (including tickets) are on the Beer Festival website.


Lion to close the Mac’s Brewery in Wellington

Lion Nathan has decided to relocate the Mac’s Craft Beer production capability from Wellington to the Canterbury Brewery, Christchurch and close the Mac’s Brewery in Wellington.

The Wellington Brewery is a higher-cost facility relative to our other breweries but up until now we considered this a component of our investment in building the Mac’s brand and its reputation for brewing innovation.

However the brand has developed to a point where consumer adoration for Mac’s no longer depends on the Wellington Brewery underpinning the brand’s reputation for brewing innovation. The maturity of the Mac’s brand and the introduction of the Mac’s Brewbars throughout the country have contributed to this change in consumer attitude, to the extent that we can now no longer justify the expense of operating the Wellington Brewery.

Full Story


[VIDEO] Beervana 2008

Didn't make it to Beervana 2008, Wellington, New Zealand? Can't remember who was there, which breweries? which brewers? Well here is a quick walk by all the beer stands.