Booth's Black Out Bar goes with the house

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 10:17 22/01/2014
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
Dale Booth in his Black Out Bar.

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@devlincolle It's the end of an era for those lucky enough to have visited Dale Booth's All Black-themed bar.

Mr Booth's Invercargill home is on the market and he has decided not to move the "Black Out Bar" he built in his garage.

"It has been great. I'm a bit sad and I'd say there will be a few tears shed but it's time to move on." he said.

His bar made national headlines during the 2011 Rugby World Cup after being invaded by media.

Mr Booth plans to take some of his most prized possessions - such as a signed Richie McCaw jersey - but will leave the rest of the bar intact, including a pie warmer and a grandstand.

In 2003 Mr Booth transformed part of his garage (a room at the back) into the Black Out Bar complete with three-tier "Pine Tree Stadium" grandstand, named after Sir Colin Meads, as a place to watch a game or two with friends from high school.

Building the bar was an outlet from his daily office job.

"It's been a labour of love for 10 years. I never planned or expected it would grow like this."

His whole garage has now evolved into an All Black shrine.

From the outside it looks like just another garage but upon entering you are transported into the world of black and white and silver ferns.

All Black flags, books, posters and memorabilia adorn the walls and shelves - even the floor tiles are black and white.

One wall is covered with a life- sized photo of the All Blacks performing the haka.

Another wall has a roll of honour, listing every All Black ever capped.

Even the wooden beams on the roof are decorated with All Blacks signs - and a large Rugby World Cup goal post pad.

"I have had a lot of happy memories here . . . it's the end of an era. I hope whoever lives here next has as much fun as I did."

Another passion for Mr Booth is home brewing - something he will not be leaving behind.

It's a hobby he has been rewarded for - winning the home brew competition at the Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival in September.

Labelled equipment and ingredients sourced from Invercargill Brewery are neatly laid out along one wall of the garage - otherwise known as the Black Out Brewery.

A blackboard at the entrance depicts tipples he has made at the brewery, while various bottles of his brew line shelves on the wall.

Mr Booth has created drops named after some of the most well- known All Blacks teams such as The Invincibles, The Bok Buster (after the 1958 squad) and The Grand Slam (after the squad of 1978).

His first non-rugby brew was inspired by the birth of his daughter Evie in 2012.

He created a raspberry fruit wheat beer, which won an award in Dunedin. He also won an award for his White Out beer.

"It was a complete surprise. I didn't think I could win because about 77 beers had been entered," he said.

His win had inspired him to enter other upcoming competitions.

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His passion for brewing started with small brew kits, which he left to ferment in a wardrobe.

About 20 years ago home brews were horrible but now with new technology and processes quality beers were being made, he said.

Brewers could spend a few hundred dollars on a basic brewery but for $1500 brewers could get a "pretty good setup".

Mr Booth bought some of his equipment online and designed some of his own - such as his mash, which is an insulated nappy bucket.

The internet was his teacher and still helped him perfect his brewing methods.

Brewing was quite labour intensive. It took him about five hours to create a beer but up to four weeks to complete the brewing process. He usually cooks a batch of 50 stubbies for himself but during the world cup he was brewing daily and reckons he cooked about 50 dozen batches.

The Invercargill City Council accountant has no plans to give up his day job, although he toyed with the idea of selling his recipes to contract brew it would not happen for a while, he said. "Being a brewer is a dream job but right now I am just an enthusiastic novice."

New Zealand was becoming more exposed to European style beers, so he was learning more and refining his recipes. Home brewing was a growing market on the back of the growth of craft beers and the acceptance of home brewing.

His advice to other home brewers :"It's your beer, so personalise that experience and most of all enjoy."

 

- The Southland Times

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