Archive for May, 2009

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Dear Leader

May 29, 2009

Apparently Kim Jong-Il has joined Twitter. Ashton Kutcher has now got some competition on his hands for the largest cult of personality. This got me thinking – what would Kim Jong-Il drink?

According to this article he is known for his fondness of expensive brandy and wines but is also keen on a local brew called Taedonggang. It even has some reviews on ratebeer.com.

As an aside, I think the DPRK emblem would make a cool beer label:

Song time – I think this one is about giving up on weapons grade nuclear enrichment:

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Beers for the budget

May 28, 2009

The 2009 budget has been delivered and it’s pretty grim. But that is absolutely no reason to curb your beer appreciation. Now that we’re all doomed financially – here’s 5 tips to survive the recession:

1. Specials: With the range of beer now available in Supermarkets and their penchant for discounts there is absolutely no need to pay full price for beer. The puritans may finger-wag but simply follow the specials each week and save yourself piles of cash. It’s also a good incentive to try something new, rather than your regular favourite. My best deal in the past 12 months would have to be Hofbräu Münchner Weisse for $2 per 500ml bottle which was on special for several months at the local New World. I also kept the bottles for my next tip.

2. Home brew: Yes, that filthy stuff your Grandpappy used to brew during the last depression. However, it’s an obvious progression that a beer fan will want to have a go at producing their favourite drop and it can be a big money saver. At the basic level, you can be producing your own tasty brew for an investment of $100 – $150 on equipment and then $15+ on ingredients thereafter. Of course, you do get what you pay for so for $15 you’re likely to be drinking watery cat pee. For a good basic brew, get a can or two of Mac’s Pale Ale, throw in some hops and you can’t go wrong.

3. Beer as food: Who needs to spend money on food when you have beer – everyone will have heard of the nourishing qualities of Guinness and the accompanying Guinness baby the next morning. Milk Stout used to be given to nursing mothers. Then there’s stout with actual food in it, as in Three Boys Oyster Stout, packed full of real Bluff Oysters. Treat yourself and the Misses to a nice beer meal out at the local pub – she’ll thank you for it.

4. The rigger: Another classic from your Grandfather’s day, the glass half-G (maybe that’s a flagon but whatever). Now we have cheap, plastic versions far less likely to break when you trip over the curb on your way home from the pub. Forget aluminium or glass six packs and their asset inflated prices. Get a cheap 2 litre refill of beer from your local pub or bottle store. Brewpubs will often provide you with the same quantity of fresh, great quality beer at around the same price as a six pack of mainsteam fizz (and much cheaper than buying their product by the bottle).

5. Forget all of the above: start a confidence-lead recovery, avoid the paradox of thrift – go ape-shit and buy any and every expensive beer you can find! Keep craft brewers the world over in employment. Perhaps some imported Belgian Lambic as suggested in Geoff Grigg’s latest column. You could die tomorrow so why not enjoy life to the full. Best example to show your disdain for cheap beer – Green Man’s organic 14.6% Enrico’s Cure – at least $30 per bottle.

And because it’s NZ music month, I better finish with an appropriate song:

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W.W.P.C.D.?

May 21, 2009

Well, I started off my series of celebrity guest writers with the big JC – pretty hard to top, unless of course you’re Phil Collins. No doubt everyone remembers their Phil Collins phase, an important rite of passage on the way to becoming a well balanced adult. So tonight our special guest writer answers that timeless question – what would Phil Collins drink?

Hello, Phil here. I’m English, so obviously I love my beer and if you’ve been paying attention to my music it’s easy to see – I left clues about my great love of ale in lots of my songs. Unfortunately, lots of these have been misconstrued. Take for example, one of my biggest hits – ‘In the Air Tonight’ – can you believe that people believe all kinds of crazy urban legend shit about this song?– you know, that I witnessed a murder and then invited the crim to a show where I lecture him about not killing people and stuff, and then he has a heart attack. The real story is that I was going through a Belgium beer phase when I wrote that song – it’s about that funky bacteria ridden sour beer – lambic – where they leave the beer in the brewery rafters at night with open windows and wait for wild yeast to settle in it – get it – I can feel it coming in the air tonight! ha ha, it’s a bit geeky I know.

Then there’s ‘Sussudio’ – a love song about my recording studio – but when I sang it, I was totally hammered and started stuttering and slurring all over the place – su su sussdio – guess it sounded alright in the end. I still can’t remember anything from that session.

Another one people have wrong is ‘Another Day in Paradise’ – everyone thinks this is about the problem of homelessness but it’s really about ‘publessness’. I was sitting in a warm pub one evening, enjoying a nice pint when I saw a bum outside in the cold with his bottle of vodka in a paper bag. I thought to myself, ‘why can’t this guy be inside enjoying his tipple from a glass like me, while soaking up the atmosphere of a classic English pub?’ Sad really, when you think about it.

Well, that’ll do for now, here’s a clip for you geezers to enjoy:

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Beerbot

May 19, 2009

What life enhancing gadget will the Japanese think of next? Introducing the Asahi Beerbot Beer pouring robot. Obviously designed for the beer drinker without a well trained partner.

Update: if you’re looking for a robot to get you a pack of fags and some crisps to go with your beer, try this one:

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Beer Review: Townshend Old House ESB

May 15, 2009

Well, it’s Friday night and I’ve had a Pilsner craving all day (the taste, not the alcohol in case you were wondering). I was looking forward to a fresh NZ example with tasty crystal malt and lots of tasty, smelly hops but decided to take advice from this article in the Marlborough Express (no by-line) and pick up a can of Radeberger Pilsner. Tasted a bit watery at first but as I worked my way through it, I was very satisfied.

Anyway, onto the Old House ESB from Rosedale’s Townshend Brewery (inland from Motueka).

Style: Extra Special Bitter, 5% abv, 500ml bottle

Traditionally I haven’t been much of a connoisseur of British real ales (something about not living in England) so it’s great that Townshend have focused on this style and it is served in the traditional way in two local pubs – the Freehouse and the Moutere Inn. I first tried this a few weeks ago off beer engine / hand pump at the Free House and was blown away. So naturally when I saw it in the bottle at the local Supermarket (the range is pretty much on permanent discount at Fresh Choice Nelson) I had to get one.

The aroma from the bottle was fruity vinegar and then almost mushroom like when pouring into my pint glass – I was starting to worry a bit – however, the first taste was amazing (definitely nothing wrong with brew). The taste is sweet malt – the comparison that came to mind was that fudge slice yo momma used to make from malt biscuits, butter, sultanas and chocolate icing, and in this case she also dropped in her stash of bubblegum. This beer is all about the quaffable smooth malt but there is also a nice balance of bitterness. The aroma remains slightly vinegary – as in a fruit chutney with a touch of smelly socks someone wore on their armpits thrown in (I promise to tone down my future reviews).

If I gave beer scores this would be 10/10. Not sure how widely available this is but you must try it – now!

What Friday night review of an English ale by Townshend Brewery would be complete with without a song by The Who:

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Beer review: Schneider Weisse (Original)

May 13, 2009

There’s not a great deal of European wheat beers readily available in NZ, so it’s great to see that Fresh Choice Nelson are now offering two beers from Germany’s Schneider Weisse – Original and Aventinus (more about this one in another review).

Style: Bavarian Hefe Weizen, 5.4% abv, 500ml bottle

I finally got round to sampling Original tonight and have to say I wasn’t hugely impressed – though I’ve found enjoying a wheat beer can very much depend on your mood, the weather, accompanying food etc on that particular day. The beer is a rich copper colour – darker than most hefe weizens and this is perhaps why the beer tasted more conventional – the esters not coming through as strongly as I expected. The classic banana and clove flavours were certainly there and enhanced by food, though the balance was more toward the tart citrus flavours than other hefe weizens I’ve tried – maybe I’m just a sweet tooth. The beer poured very effervescent and resulted in a thin, very creamy head. Aroma was estery but restrained.

If you visit the Brewery’s website linked above (change language into English bottom left) you’ll see that this beer has a cult following in Germany – with at least 50 fan clubs dedicated to Schneider Weisse! Other things of interest on this extensive site include a wheat beer lexicon and a pictorial of how to pour the perfect weisse.

The brewery dates from 1855 when Georg Schneider leased the royal ‘Weisse Brauhuas’ Hofbräuhaus. In 1872 he purchased wheat beer brewing rights from the Bavarian royal family. Previously wheat beer had only been brewed and consumed by the aristocracy and enjoyed new popularity, despite the spread of lager brewing. New breweries were opened in Munich and Kelheim – with the Munich site being destroyed during the war. Primary fermentation still takes place in open vats (sources: Roger Protz ‘Classic Bottled Beers of the World’ + the Schneider Weisse website).

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Beer drink’n songs: shit, it’s really starting to get cold at night edition

May 12, 2009

It’s a mash up image video but that’s all there was.

Try and get a copy of this song covered by the Afghan Whigs – it’s off a Big Star tribute album called ‘Big Star Small World’.