Friday, 26 September 2008

Beer O'Clock: Beervana!

Beerly commentary this week from Stu of SOBA, whose contribution of his own Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black to my fridge played no part at all in my decision to run his post ...

Carl-Vasta-at-Tuatara BrewNZ has come and gone again. This year, as well as the judging and awards, we saw a welcome return to the public side of the event with the “Beervana” festival. While not quite taking over the whole of Wellington like the ‘host bar’ concept used to do, I’ve heard an overwhelming majority of fantastic reports of the festival (I was in craft-beer-barren Queenlsand at the time, so can only rely on reports from the field).

There was a new aspect to the awards side of things too, with a Champion New Zealand Brewery being awarded to the brewery with the best overall results. Did you know that the Tuatara Brewery in the hills of Waikanae, near Wellington, was named New Zealand’s best brewery? If not, then you haven’t been paying attention on Friday afternoons.

Tuatara and brewer Carl Vasta (pictured right checking out his brew) picked up gold medals and best-in-class trophies for their Belgian-style Ardennes and their hoppy India Pale Ale, as well as an extra gold medal for Hefe, their delicious German-style wheat beer. Tuatara is about the only NZ brewery without a website … is there a correlation there? Rather than build a website, Tuatara recently tripled their batch size – I wonder if they knew something was coming their way? It’s the perfect timing to take advantage of such a fantastic (and well-deserved award) award. Hopefully this will lead to a greater availability of these splendid beers.

Nipping on the heels of Carl Vasta and his Tuatara team was Steve Nally, from Invercargill Brewery in the Deep South, who picked up two best-in-class trophies for the second year running – and this included the highly-coveted Classic New Zealand styles (which, for the first time, included the hugely popular ‘NZ Pilsner’ style). Interestingly, I’ve found that Steve’s award-winning Biman lager has been one of the most talked about beers in the Wellington beer scene this year, and it is still not on tap anywhere in town. I don’t expect the drought to last much longer!

You couldn’t meet two more down to earth beer loving brewers than Carl Vasta and Steve Nally. These awards prove that head-down hard work really does pay off (and a little bit of luck and timing surely helps).

The full beer awards results are here at the official BrewNZ site, while beer judge and scribe Geoff Griggs sums up the weeks events in this Marlborough Express article.

Interestingly, the awards do not always reflect the public affection for beer. I've done an unscientific survey of people (read: I “googled” everything I could find about BrewNZ and Beervana) and picked up this list of “crowd favourites” that I have listed for you below, of which Epic Pale Ale is the only award winner amongst them!

How many of these beers have you heard of? Did you know about BrewNZ and Beervana? Did you attend? And, if so, what did you think?

Anyway, tonight I’m drinking Emerson’s Bookbinder - the beer that pulled me over from casual drinker of good beer to bona-fide beer geek. At only 3.7% abv, and absolutely packed full of flavour, it is a near perfect end-of-week tipple for a thirsty guy like myself. And isn’t it great to be able to fill-your-own flagon at the excellent Regional Wines and Spirits (if only there was a prize for best bottle store).

Many of these beers, if not already in your local beer retailers or pub, are available through the new online Beerstore or via mail order at Regional Wines and Spirits.

Slainte mhath, Stu


  1. online beer store, I was waiting for that!

  2. PC, can you please correct the link to beerstore? It's missing an `s'.

  3. The site has some usability problems, hopefully they get fixed soon. Please guys a single input for the credit card. Try paying with an Amex card if you don't know what I mean

  4. very nice information about clock so user can read and get good information about clock..
    for more information about Festival.

    thanksvery nice information about clock so user can read and get good information about clock..
    for more information about Festival.


  5. So what did you order Berend? It's a pretty good site, from the little usage I've given it so far.

    The service delivery is outstanding. Well packaged box arrived a day or two after I ordered.

  6. They are very responsive to feedback too Berend. Flick them an email with your suggestion.

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