Monday, December 21, 2009


I haven’t been super active on this blog in recent times. There have been a lot of changes this year, a new job and a new living arrangement and they have all left their toll. Also the amount of writing I am doing is constantly increasing, Im writing for, and the Pursuit of Hoppyness this blog has been the one to suffer. However I do still read the blogs , often from work on a Friday night as I have my staff drink. I thought I would do a year in review so here follows my highs and lows of 2009.

Best Beer

Thomas Hardy’s Ale 1979

How could it be anything else? One of my favourite beers and a vintage that was a few months older than myself. Seriously good beer that shows just what amasing things can be achieved with water, malt, hops and yeast. Pure liquid engineering.

Runner Up

Hallertau Porter Noir 2007

A strong porter aged in brett infected pinot barrels. I love brett when its in something big and rich. In my opinion this is the most complex and satisfying dark beer in New Zealand right now, absolutely brilliant.

Best Pint

Twisted Hop Twisted Ankle at Hashigo Zake. Brilliant.

Runner Up

Townshend E.S.B. straight from the cask at The Masons.

Biggest Gripe

O’Hanlon’s giving up the Thomas Hardy’s Ale contract and no other English Brewer stepping up to the mark. I understand all the reasons why but this beer is an absolute treasure and should not be left to the yanks.

Runner Up

The small number of ropy NZ craft brewers. If you can’t brew to a certain standard don’t sell your wares, it damages the whole industry and risks alienating potential punters with bad craft beer experiences.

Biggest Joy

The diversity of craft beer punters I have come to know at Regional Wines. Gone are the days of the stereotypical beer drinker. Its not just rotund middle aged gentlemen buying craft beer. Young students, professional women, middle aged executives, aging hippies they all make up the throngs who make their way to Regional each week to get the good stuff. Its fantastic and its heartening for the future of the industry.

Runner Up

The continuing success of SOBA. I stood down from the committee this year along with fellow founding member and organisational powerhouse Greig McGill. However we stood down knowing the Society had energetic people to take our place. The trademark battle with DB has been successful so far with DB releasing the Saison trademark and hopefully staring defeat in the face over Radler. Membership number have continued to increase and in a reflection of my biggest joy above the members I see at Regional are as diverse as you can imagine.

Best Blog

Boak and Bailey take my vote. The perspective on beer of a London based beer loving couple is always interesting, usually positive and often unique. Keep it up.

Runner Up


Informed accurate beer history in a well writen and thought out format. I cant wait for Amber, Gold and Black in a hard copy.

Others of note

Stonch having morphed to a publicans views its as entertaining as ever.
Called to the Bar at times whimsical and poetic, always entertaining
Tandleman he may be misguided on sparklers but its always a good read.
Pete Brown interesting and always from a unique perspective.
Are you tasting the pith , video blog genius.

Cheers, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Chur Chur

At the start of this month Sarah and I flew down to Canterbury for the weekend. We went because Sarah’s friend Nicky was having a Birthday party in Akoroa. We spent one night in Christchurch and one night in Akoroa. The day in Christchurch was pretty much concerned with beer. My friend and BeerNZ main man Craig took us out to Three Boys, to Harrington’s and finally back into the city to the Twisted Hop. The trip to Three Boys was fantastic as I had last visited just after Ralph had started brewing and it was great to go back and see him in his new premises across the road with the big new plant. We stood and tasted bits and pieces from tank for an hour or more and were very rosy as we left. The highlight was tasting the new season plum beer before its release with tasting the new Porter recipe coming a close second. Then it was off to Harrington’s for a taste of their award winning mild the Pig n Whistle. We ended up in a very busy Twisted Hop. Martin gave us a whirl wind tour of the new extensions before we enjoyed a ploughman’s and a few pints. Next day it was off to Akoroa via the legendary cheese store the Canterbury Cheese Monger. We had a great time out o the peninsular although beer didn’t play a big part. It was the first time in four or five years that I had been to Christchurch. I hope to return soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Pudding

Inspired by Pete Brown and the Beer Widow this year I have made my own Christmas Pudding. Like Pete I blended recipes taking inspiration from Delia Smith but also Nigel Slatter. Sometime ago Wellington homebrew heavy weight Michael Nielson gave me a 600ml pet bottle of 17%ABV eis-imperial stout. Not being able to polish off the lot on my own I tucked the remaining beer into a bowl in the fridge for use in this years Christmas pudding. If the crumbs from the edge are anything to go by the result is fantastic!