OPINION: There's a war raging. A beer war.
Battles for bar taps have been going on for decades. Usually, it's the big breweries who dominate particular bars, shoring up the taps with distribution deals and assistance with equipment.
But when it comes to the independent brewery explosion we're seeing now, it's more about competing with the increasing amount of rivals for space in bars that aren't chained to the big guys.
While Putin has not been ordering Russian breweries to muscle in and force themselves onto our taps (to my knowledge), it's not unusual to walk into, say, Hashigo Zake and only see one brewery's beer.
This unusual phenomena is commonly known as a "tap takeover, where a particular brewery shunts all others off with the full array of their own brews.
OPINION: Hiding away in a musty, dark corner of my basement are several boxes.
They sit mostly undisturbed, covered with dust.
Full of alcohol, it's only some serious self-control that keeps them in this preserved state.
Inside is mostly wine. Yes, wine not beer.
Collecting and cellaring wine has been a hobby for the past five years or so, ever since my time in Central Otago imprinted an appreciation of deep, earthy reds.
OPINION: You've got to hand it to DB Breweries. They really made suckers out of us with that "Tui Catch a Million" campaign.
Not since the good old days when Kiwis were burned at the stake for not owning a pair of Peter Blake's socks have I seen the nation brainwashed quite like it was this summer.
It was almost impossible to watch the Black Caps' recent one-day and T20 matches against India and the West Indies without having your peripheral vision invaded by orange T-shirts.
Apparently 60,000 of those who bought a ticket to the cricket forked out another $30 on top of that for the privilege of being a walking, talking Tui billboard for the day, which is just mind-boggling.
Most of these walking adverts also had sieves where their hands should've been.
OPINION: Hemp beers, curry beers and beers that are stronger than vodka.
Beers brewed with mustards seeds and bull testicles. My god, there's even a pizza beer brewed with an actual margarita pizza!
Extreme beers, as they have been coined, are pushing the boundaries of the noble beverage and these days if you can think of it, it probably exists.
On a homebrew scale, our own extreme brewing experiments have been rather, ahh, unsuccessful.
When we first started we got carried away with the possibilities, as most home brewers do from time to time.
OPINION: These days, my friends and family have children approaching the age where they are being exposed to alcoholic drinks.
It's an interesting phase. It seems to be the new middle-class parent way - and I say that speaking as a member of that group - to feel that you have an obligation to introduce your child to alcohol at some stage in their adolescent years.
This usually involves pouring a modest-sized drink for your teenager, who then self-consciously drinks it while trying to look as cool and unenthusiastic as a teenager possibly can!
"It's teaching them to drink responsibly. It shows them that it's OK to drink in a safe and moderate manner", I hear the parents gush with only slightly veiled pride at their darling child's first tentative stagger into the wonderful, hazy world of booze.
I suppose it's not a new phenomenon. In my day (as the age-old prefix to some boring old-fart story must start), dads grunted some words as they pushed a half glass of beer in your direction.
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