Enjoying a pint of cellar-temperature bitter in a country pub, watching the cricket on a village green is a huge part of English culture.
As a teenager I quaffed Newcastle Brown. As a student in Nottingham I graduated to "a pint of mixed"-half mild and half bitter.
In the 80s in Wellington my favourite tipple was an ice-cold Steinie.
I realise that for most of you Wellingtonian Craft Beer drinkers, reading that sent a shudder down your spine. Perhaps you're justified.
My birthplace, Paddington, did not have nearly the reputation for malt & hops excellence that Wellington
does. My taste buds have matured and I'm a real convert to Wellington's craft beer subtleties.
In the second of The Beerhive's summer guest blogs, DB National Beer ambassador Alex Biedermann reflects on the festive brews of his homeland Germany and the strangeness of a summer Christmas.
The Christmas trees are out, Pohutukawas in full blossom adoring the harbour as I drive home from work.
Today, the sun's out in full force, so like a Kiwi I'm out worshiping it on my deck.
A lone cicada chirps croakily as if trying to find his voice to announce that finally,yes, summer is here.
I tend to agree with him as it's certainly been a long time coming in Auckland. I pop the top off an American Pale Ale and reflect on my third beery Christmas in New Zealand.
Summer is here and so begins The Beerhive's series of guest blogs. With the current uproar about breweries expanding and subsequently being shunned by the beer community it felt fitting to start with this piece by Stu McKinlay of Yeastie Boys fame.
In the later part of this year I was lucky enough to co-present a special beer dinner at Bin 44 on Wellington's Queens Wharf.
It was special for me because it was the first time presenting with my brewing hero, and long-time friend, Richard Emerson.
Richard Emerson - the founder of New Zealand's trailblazing Emerson's Brewery - is an infectiously enthusiastic presenter, a huge fan of beer and food matching, and the night was a great success.
The food was excellent, the beer matches were really well thought through, all of the beers were in great form, and the attendees were a perfect blend of craft beer newcomers and old school enthusiasts.
Two thousand and fourteen is in the books and what a year for beer the Chinese year of the horse produced.
About 300 million litres of beer is made available for consumption in this country ever year and among the 50 million or so litres that passed through our gastrointestinal tracts there were a couple of brews that deserved a tip of the cap from us, for one reason or another.
So here we go.
MOST UNFORTUATE NAME CHOICE OF THE YEAR
Much like myself the morning after a few too many drinks, beer likes to be kept cool and dark.
So you can imagine it doesn't enjoy being shipped across the world in a hot container, which could sit for weeks at a dusty backwater port during transit.
With the explosion in popularity of beer we find ourselves faced with more and more choice, including international brands.
The problem with this is that for many styles, beer begins to deteriorate the moment it leaves the cozy confines of the brewery itself. So if it doesn't travel in the best conditions possible, you'll find yourself forking out for an expensive dud.
Speaking to an American craft brewer's conference in Denver about how to export, Andy Tysler from mega brewery Deschutes said he used the "last in first out" policy when selecting stock, sending the freshest beer overseas rather than the oldest first.
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