Wednesday, 11 January 2012



Horrors!  I’ve gone through nearly this whole holiday period without a post on beer!

My apologies, gentle readers. Let me remedy that now.

Let me remedy that by talking about affordable beer. And “by talking about affordable beer” I mean talking about what someone else has said about affordable beer. About affordable good, tasty beer.

In fact, let me just quote that someone else, who from hereon in I will call Kevin---chiefly because that is Kevin McLellan’s name. So let’s talk about good beer value, and New Zealand’s best value beer: and Kevin’s detailed, meticulous, rigorous study of this critically important subject.

I enjoy drinking quality beer [says Kevin]. That doesn't mean that I need beer brewed by a silent Belgium monk and costs as much as a pint of saffron… I need to pay the mortgage and I need to know that the beer in my fridge is value for money.
    So how do I know that I'm getting value for money? Up until now it has been calculated on-the-fly based on experience, gut-feel and some badly applied maths. I was having a bit of a slow day recently so I decided to devise the beer value formula. I had no idea how this formula would work. All I knew is that it would need to prove that Epic Pale Ale is the best value beer that money can buy in New Zealand…
    I worked out a standard cost - $per/100ml – … [and] added a new column to show the Ratebeer overall score. Seeing that Epic scored 97/100 and Heineken 7/100 I knew I was onto something. Now for the formula - I simply divided the Ratebeer score by the cost. The result of this division is effectively how much quality is bought with every dollar spent.

A good start. And what he found—Hallelujah!—is at least half-a-dozen easily available, good value, tasty bottled beers to help the daily restocking of your fridge, with the aforementioned Epic Pale Ale (which took no manipulation whatsoever to achieve top spot with a score of 95.1) and Little Creatures Pale Ale, 82.4, on top spot, and Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black (co-brewed by former NOT PC beer columnist Stu) holding up third place with a score of 77.0.

And with shops full of Coopers’ Sparkling Ale (65.6) and Original Pale Ale, and a new local $2.50 “craft” beer hitting the shops since Kevin’s definitive, scientific, peer-reviewed study, there’s no shortage of ways to keep your fridge fully stocked.

It’s summer. So why not start your restocking this afternoon?

PS: My own beer of choice over our holiday break was fill-your-own flagons of Leigh Sawmill Pale Ale, collected regularly direct from the brewer. Good value with a score of 76.1—and, if you’re in Auckland, available in fill-your-own flagons at the Herne Bay Cellars in Jervois Road.


  1. Bring back the beer columns Peter! That's what got me reading this blog in the first place... I stayed for the freedom speak. Stu may appreciate the irony there.

  2. I endorse PC's comments on Epic Pale Ale - I never tire of it. The king of beers for me. Rumour has it Countdown supermarkets stock it now - can anyone confirm this?

    Emerson's 1812 is very nice too, but expensive ($8 a bottle in a Queenstown bottle store a few weeks back!).

  3. Some Countdowns do, some don't.

    If you see some, grab some Three Boys Wild Plum Ale. An amazing beer, and completely different to the 2010 vintage.


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