Beer O’Clock: Waikato [updated]
This post is intended as a warning. A warning to everyone heading to Hamilton for a weekend of fast cars and faster women (one in hope -- and one, perhaps, in expectation). The warning is this. No matter how desperate, don’t drink anything bearing this label:
According to the drink’s website:
The Waikato is a region on the Western side of the North Island of New Zealand around the city of Hamilton extending along the pristine Waikato River and is home to Waikato Draught. Now a Lion Nathan beer the beer has a very rich history dating back to 1864 when brewer Scot Charles Innes arrived in New Zealand. Charles Innes started a brewery in 1871 at Ngaruawhia and then a new brewery was established in 1873 in Hamilton East. A bit of tragedy followed with fire destroying the brewery in 1897 and poor old Charles Innes drowning while bathing in one of his beer vats- what a way to go. His wife Mary took over the reins and it later became a public company with what is now Lion Nathan merging with the brewery in the 50’s. The beer brand has a strong tradition with Rugby and is a real tasty beer- They have won Gold Medal and Best in Class at the 2005 BrewNZ awards just to prove it.
All this is true, except for five things.
- It’s not brewed, it’s made.
- It’s not made in Hamilton on the shores of the Waikato, it’s made in Newmarket underneath the motorway.
- It’s not beer.
- It’s not tasty – not unless you think sugar is a “taste.”
- Sure, they won Best in Class at the 2005 BrewNZ Awards . . . but that class was Undrinkable.
Drinkers at the Rate Beer site had this sort of praise about this drink:
- “Pours a brown colour”
- “Not particularly smooth and not a lot of hops”
- “Under average pale lager”
- “Flavour soapy,oily slight citrus finish and bitter but not good”
- “ . . . small, rough, off-white head. . . Medium in body with some malts and sweetish caramel and a touch of metal”
- “. . . grainy, earthy, metallic, sweet, YUCK. Aftertaste like the sole of your old sneakers. . . ”
In summary, don’t be tempted. The weekend’s too short to drink bad beer. Spend your money on fast women instead.
UPDATE: There is hope, Hamiltonians. Reader Greig, from Hamilton, reckons Hamilton is not devoid of excellent beer:
Get ye to Hamilton Wine Company on Hood Street for a selection unlike anything you'll find in Auckland, and fairly rare for NZ in general. At least 150 beers of various pedigrees. Hillcrest Fine Wines has similar. We have a Cock and Bull for ye Auckland types, and for those in the know, there's the Ruakura Campus Club, though it's not open over the weekend. This is a shame. I've just come from there, and they were pouring Epic Pale Ale, Invercargill Biman Lager, and Tuatara Pilsner. All in top form.Excellent advice.
So yes. Avoid Waikato. But drink well wherever you go.
Labels: Beer and Elsewhere