Reflections on beer from an advocate, retailer, brewer and drinker.
I am the Beer Specialist for Regional Wines and Spirits one of the most comprehensive and unique liquor retailers in New Zealand. My background is as a cheese monger and I have an all round passion for fermented foods. I have a particular passion for English beer styles and I run a 60 litre real ale home brewery.
The number of handpumps in NZ seems to be constantly growing although the numbers are still low. For someone like myself who loves cask beer this is great. Of course the vast majority of beer that passes through these handpumps is not cask conditioned but degassed keg beer or unconditioned bright beer. There is nothing wrong with this and it’s a great ½ way house between keg and cask. It is in my opinion not as good as cask at its best but it is a realistic product for a nation of pubs and bars without cellars or staff with the knowledge to condition and care for cask beer. So far so good. There is however a growing trend for putting seriously strong beers through the handpump which I do find strange. For me drinking from a handpump is all about session drinking preferably by the pint. When I see 10%abv Imperial Stouts and 8%abv strong porters being served on the hand pump it makes me think that we are missing the point a little.