Having an ale of a time

Last updated 05:00 28/07/2013

CHEERS: Getting together over a few beers is all about sociability.

Related Links

Basic facts on beer types How to quake-proof your beer... kind of If you’re a beer man, this is for you

Relevant offers


Geoff Griggs: Brewers are prolific right now; even winemakers are getting in on the act Dunedin brewery creates pink beer for fashion week Police, regional health fight to curtail closing hours for Wellington liquor stores in 'risk areas' John Saker: Campari comeback Irish pub revamp ready for St Patrick's Day reveal Raising a toast to Kiwi women driving the beer industry forward John Saker: Bulk wine sold overseas threatens our reputation Beers and Bibles don't mix well: Australian brewery Coopers' Christian branding disaster Kiwis are prolific pre-loaders, study finds, even though we're not heavy drinkers Hopster not a hipster

My local community has a Facebook group and it's a great place to interact about what's going on in the area - where to find a good plumber, a house-sitter, a good place to eat.

When I broadcast my intention to start a beer-tasting group I was hoping for some positive responses and maybe half a dozen of us getting together around my dining table.

Well, as one person responded: "What have you started, Michael?"

The response was phenomenal.

At one stage I thought I might have to hire a hall to accommodate all those who said they were keen.

Eventually, with a few apologies for holidays and other commitments from some, 12 like-minded blokes gathered at my place for the inaugural Titirangi Beer Appreciation Society meeting.

It was a brilliant couple of hours and reminded me that while drinking beer is great, sharing beer is even better.

Getting together over a few beers - even when they're carefully measured 90ml samples - is all about sociability.  

Yes, we talked about beer but also fishing, real estate, sport, social media and even art. I had tentatively suggested a once a month meeting but the enthusiasm is likely to make it a fortnightly event.

But I figure what you really want to know is the tasting list for this inaugural get-together. I was unsure how much everyone would know about beer so I picked what I would call a starter's list of Kiwi craft beers.

First up we sampled Yeastie Boys' Hobbit-inspired Golden Perch, an incredibly delicious summer ale with a hint of bubblegum to it. I wanted to start out with something light and approachable but unique and it was a roaring success, remaining among the favourites through the night.

I made a mistake by following that with Emerson's Bookbinder, a great session ale but possibly overwhelmed by the Golden Perch - I should have reversed those two.

Tuatara Pilsner with its snappy New Zealand hops was followed by the crowd-pleaser of the night, Liberty Brewing's Alpha Dogg, an imperial pilsner that lives up to its name and packs a real hop punch.

We then went through a range of variations on India Pale Ale - New Zealand, American and English styles - starting with Tuatara's Aotearoa Pale Ale, followed by Epic's Armageddon and then I pulled out a bottle of Epic's Message in a Bottle, which was warmly received for its rich toffee malt and earthy hops.

To bridge the gap to some evening-ending rich porters, I went for Yeastie Boys' Pot Kettle Black but was disappointed to see all three bottles fizz and gush. I'd struck the last few bottles from a bad batch, a problem Yeastie Boys has since fixed.

Mike's Imperial Porter, a luscious, velvet chocolately dessert-style beer, challenged both Golden Perch and Alpha Dogg for the top drop of the night and I finished, cheekily, with one of my own beers - a pumpkin porter made with
cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg.

Maybe everyone had palate fatigue by then but it went down a treat - like the night itself.


Ad Feedback

Twitter: @mjwd

- Sunday Star Times


Recipe search

Special offers
Opinion poll

How does a strong cup of coffee make you feel?

More alert and awake

Jittery, anxious

It gives me an upset tummy

I feel no effect

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content