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Neil Miller - NZ

Why can’t I get a decent beer at 35,000 feet?

It is a very valid question.  In New Zealand, travellers routinely pay hundreds of dollars to fly and, provided they travel at the ‘correct’ time, are occasionally offered a reasonable selection of local wines or a couple of very mainstream beers, usually in trendy, tiny, stupid cans.  Recently, Moa Brewing Company produced metal bottles principally so their Original Pale Ale could be served on Air New Zealand flights.  That was a small step in the right direction – but not nearly enough.  more info

The three faces of brewery acquisitions

Big breweries buying little breweries has been a global trend for decades and, in terms of beer quality, the results have generally been pretty awful.  While not quite on the same scale as Britain or America, it is happening in New Zealand.  Recent events have made me reflect on brewery sales and acquisitions in New Zealand, particularly how differently they all turned out.  more info

Hopstock 2014 – Be sure to wear some Humulus Lupulus in your hair

It is absolutely no secret that I really like hops – lots of hops.  One of the single most incredible beers I have ever tasted was the inaugural incarnation of Mac’s Brewjolais – a green hopped beer made with hops picked that very morning.  It was the first fresh hopped beer I’d tried and I still fondly recall its sticky, resinous, volatile bitterness.  Sadly, Mac’s have long since given up the annual Brewjolais tradition but they seem to have inspired the local craft brewing scene with an increasing number of fresh hopped beers poised to hit our taps as the 2014 New Zealand hop season begins. more info

Popular beer festival damaged by excess compliance and over-regulation

Last week, I posted a personal review of the highly successful and enjoyable Greater Wellington Brewday festival in scenic Martinborough wine country.  This week, I’m going to discuss an event I did not attend – the New Zealand Beer Festival in Auckland - which received a far more mixed reception.  more info

Beer, sun, music, snacks and trivia

On Saturday 8 March I had the distinct pleasure of attending Greater Wellington Brewday, one of the best beer festivals I’ve ever been to. It is hard to single out one particular reason why it was so enjoyable – I guess I have to put it down to the beer, weather, location, music, food and entertainment. So, pretty much everything in other words.  more info

Beer for the right reasons

We all know that beer is a wonderful social lubricant and is, frankly, delicious, but it can also be used to help very worthy causes.  On Monday 17 February I ran a charity beer tasting which raised almost $2,000 for a good cause.  We were able to raise that much money because of the generosity of breweries and bars which donated beer and prizes to the event. more info

My take on the best beer names in the world

Beer names is undoubtedly one of the most common – or possibly overused - topics for beer blogs and articles.  However, there are always beer names which are so clever, creative, funny and/or cheeky that they simply deserve to be shared.  In this article, I will present some of my favourites, suggestions from social media and a few of the classics from international websites. more info

Beerly Reading: 2014 Pocket Beer Book

Noted beer writers Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb modestly decided to write the “essential guide to the best craft and traditional beers in the world” and then ensured the resulting tome could fit in a beer drinker’s pocket.  Their “2014 Pocket Beer Book” is 320 (small) pages literally stuffed with beer wisdom and guidance.   more info

Beerly Reading: The Entire Beast – From ear and beer to ale and tail

Chris Badenoch burst onto our screens in the first series of MasterChef Australia.  He was the bearded, hat wearing, jovial beer merchant that became quite famous for roasting a pig head on television.  His passion for the product he sold as a day job was evident as he looked to integrate beer and beer/food matching into his offerings to the judges.  Chris eventually finished a very credible third and one of the main results of his success was this book - The Entire Beast – From ear and beer to ale and tail.   more info

Yeastie Boys to fly their freak flag in the United Kingdom

New Zealand’s coolest craft brewing nerds – The Yeastie Boys – have received a rare and coveted invite to make their most popular beer for the 2014 JD Wetherspoon’s International Real Ale Festival.  There are only ten international invitations issued for this massive event each year.  New Zealand has been previously represented by Epic Brewing Company.  The Yeastie Boys will travel to the famous Adnams Brewery in February to make their Gunnamatta IPA which is flavoured with Earl Grey tea. more info

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