Looks at Geoffrey Palmer (aka, the Unbridled Wowser), Maurice Bennett, Brew Dog, an 18.2% beer, a 1.1% beer, alcohol prices and something called Townshend No.9.
AS NEW ZEALAND INCHES towards a hospitality environment regulated by the whim and fancy of Geoffrey Palmer, it is worth considering the situation in the United Kingdom which, if anything, might be even worse.
Here, Maurice Bennett Esq, a noted man around town (unlike old Geoffrey), got in the most minor of trouble a few years back for his advert which dared to insinuate that a beer called “Bennett’s Strong” was, in fact, quite strong. The ‘offending’ ad was quietly pulled.
In the United Kingdom, maverick Scottish brewers BrewDog are constantly at odds with the advertising authorities and the suffocating Portman Group. These organisations have tried to ban a number of BrewDog beers or at least limit their promotion. Beers on their puritanical hit-list have included Rip Tide, Hardcore, Punk IPA, Speedball and Hop Rocker. Astute readers will note that is virtually their entire range.
The latest beer to be attacked was BrewDog’s Tokyo - at 18.2% it is one of the strongest beers available in the United Kingdom. It came under fire from the usual suspects and Members of the Scottish Parliament for being irresponsible and promoting binge and/or under-age drinking.
Given a bottle of Tokyo yields no change from a ten quid note, the chances of teenagers quickly necking a couple of Tokyo’s before heading into the city seem remote. Beer writer and Malthouse beer hero Pete Brown did some maths to prove that Tokyo would hardly be the choice of value-driven problem drinkers. He calculated how many units of alcohol could be purchased at a supermarket for £1 across a range of drinks. Tokyo was at the bottom.
Tokyo - 0.61 units of alcohol for £1
Blue WKD - 1.4 (RTD)
Stella (normal price) - 2.39
Carling - 2.7
Kiwi Sauvignon - 2.84 (Wine)
Grant's whisky - 3.07 (Spirit)
Stella (promotional price) - 4.5
“At BrewDog we appreciate your inability to know your limits - especially when it comes to alcohol – which is why we've created Nanny State. This idiosyncratic little beer is a gentle smack in the right direction.
“It's time to draw your net curtains, sit back with Nanny and watch your favourite episode of Last Of The Summer Wine. It's finally safe to enjoy alcohol again.
“Please note: BrewDog recommends that you only drink this beer whilst wearing the necessary personal protective equipment and in a premises that has passed a full health and safety risk assessment for optimum enjoyment.”
In a somewhat ironic twist, Nanny State apparently has such a low-alcohol content that the State does not class it as a beer and it was not subject to beer duty. Is it a glimpse of where we are heading?
OKTOBERBEST, WELLINGTON’S NEW BEER-DRINKING tradition, is well underway now. Some of the beers patiently waiting their turn to be on tap down at the Malthouse include the award-winning Emerson’s strong wheat beer BeWITched, the award-winning Pig and Whistle from Harrington’s and the rare, decadent Dux de Lux Pinot Porter.
Currently being served from the cask (as it should) is Townshend No. 9 stout. It is from a small farmhouse brewery in the Upper Moutere Valley which makes a number of real ales and traditional beers. The brewing water is drawn from a 501-metre bore and is estimated to be 25,000 years old (and therefore very pure). This is a black beer with a short, tan head. The almost oily texture carries mild notes of burnt toast and coffee before a smooth finish.
Finally, in Oktoberfest news, Michael Jackson’s father has continued the fledgling trend started by Paris Hilton of being banned from the festival. “Music mogul” Joe Jackson requested access to a VIP marquee at Oktoberfest but was refused entry by event organiser Sepp Kratz. Herr Kratz said Mr Jackson should not be partying after his "child has passed away."
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. I feel like a beer.
[Cross-posted at The Malthouse Blog at which establishment it is rumoured that these two beers may soon make their way. The handsome yet softly spoken proprietor is an avowed fan of free speech (and indeed of anything free).]