From Drinker to Brewer
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.
There has not been much drinking of beer going on this week.
No, I'm not in rehab. Here is hoping my beer consumption never gets to that level.
Instead, I've been sick.
When it feels like a concrete mixer has poured its contents down your nostrils, tasting beer is the last thing on your mind.
But when lying on the couch at home, full to the brim with green tea and chicken soup, I managed to see something profound on, of all places, the internet.
Anti-government types are often annoyed at how often our elected representatives interfere in day-to-day life.
They dictate what we can smoke, when we can go to the pub and how our taxes get spent.
So some of them must have been happy when the Alcohol Reform legislation was passed last year.
The reforms did a lot of nothing on the surface - minimum pricing was ruled out, no ban on RTDs being above 6 per cent ABV, no movement of the purchase age - but a big shift took place.
City and district councils were given more power to control how alcohol was sold in their patches, including deciding opening hours and imposing conditions on licensed venues.
The bines have been harvested, the beer has been made, the kegs are running dry and bottles are vanishing from the shelves.
Yes, the mad flurry that is the fresh-hopped beer season is coming to a close.
And while I've written before about how hop heads need to remember how important malt is, I genuinely do like fresh-hopped beers.
Their resinous texture and unique bitterness - slowly building rather than an instant firebombing of your tastebuds like some highly-hopped beers - always make them interesting.
With Palmerston North still being a bit of a tap beer wasteland - New Zealand draught leering at you from almost every bartop - with only Tuatara's Conehead readily available by the pint.
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