From Drinker to Brewer
As you may be aware, the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards are coming up soon - really soon.
This Thursday night, the glitterati of the nation's beer scene - if we can call a bunch of people who make and write about booze for a living glitterati - will congregate to discover who makes some of the best beers in the country.
I, sadly, will not be among them; the last time I was around glitter I needed to get the suit I was wearing dry-cleaned.
Also, my day job is getting in the way.
Partly because I'm sulking about not making it to the awards, but mainly because I can, I have made a list of who I think will win the big awards on the night.
I feel a bit stink for Geoff Griggs at the moment.
Dubbed the doyen of Kiwi beer writing by those more esteemed than I, he found himself in Palmerston North at the beginning of the month.
I have told him and many others that Village Inn Kitchen is the spot to grab a beer in the city, so he is fair enough to be disappointed the place was closed when he tried to visit.
But it got me thinking: how can people travelling to cities they do not go to often find themselves a good pint?
To save you answering the question, I have put together four tips, tricks and titbits to arm you with most of the tools you will need to find good beer wherever you go.
A good tradesperson never blames their tools.
I am no builder/carpenter/constructor of useful objects, but I know that is nearly always the case.
But what if the tradesperson makes their own tools for years, has been using them to build some of the best houses in recent history, and then has trouble using a new tool he bought?
In that case, I think they would be justified to mutter a few expletives before throwing their new hammer into the nearest bin.
And while Carl Vasta may be a big man - large enough to spawn Game of Thrones references - the staff working at Tuatara Brewing on Monday last week must have be glad he is not strong enough to throw 500L copper tanks across rooms.
In case you have not figured it out yet, I like drinking beer.
But one thing which may trump that is eating it.
I'm not talking turning beer into ice cubes to put into glasses of lemonade to create Frankenshandies, but cooking with it.
My colleagues at work already know how well beer can go with food, thanks to Nigella Lawson and her decadent chocolate Guinness cake.
But to get the best out of the recipe, switch the Guinness - often too thin and lacking in flavour - for something a bit bigger.
I am one of those people who will always pick savoury over sweet.
Sure, I love cake as much as the next person, but there is something so much more satisfying about savoury food.
For a long time I was not able to put my finger on it, but everything clicked when I learned what exactly we taste.
There's sweet, salt, sour and bitter. That is what we are taught when we are young.
But there is also that fifth taste - umami.
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