From Drinker to Brewer
There are days when I wish all I did for a crust was drink beer and write about it.
With new brewing companies popping up across the country, I would never be short of a new beer to try or a story to tell about a new commercial brewer.
Because, sometimes, the news dries up.
Quite often in my life there seems to be no news to report on, especially on a particularly slow weekend shift.
It is a problem all journalists have, and is why they all love the Official Information Act.
It was the Melbourne Cup all over again; I may as well flush $20 down the drain the first Tuesday of every November since I turned 18*.
The day after Townshend Brewing was announced as the champion brewery at the Brewers Guild of New Zealand awards, bottle stores and bars were quick to show off their stocks of Martin Townshend's ales and lagers.
Naturally, people are going to want to get their hands on some of the best beers in the country. He is likely to see good business for the next few weeks, so it was great to see him back on the bottling line the day after his victory.
The result has me thinking of some of the first Townshend beers I enjoyed, all in 2011: JCIPA on a can't-beat-Wellington-on-a-good-day summer's afternoon; pint upon pint of the David Tua-like No.9 stout (a picayune 4 per cent in stature, but packing a flavour punch as big as the boxer's left hook) during the kind of storm the capital is unfairly stigmatised for; my inaugural introduction to and interview of Stu McKinlay at The Malthouse while quaffing the sessionable Cathcarts NTA.
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.
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