Getting myself from Auckland to New Plymouth last year was a hellish mission. Think road works and foul weather and hairpin turns and four-cylinder engines and utter lack of cell signal. On the left-hand side of the road. Under the cover of night. I’m not sure whether I mined some value from the experience, or if the return journey was so fantastic that it masked the horror I felt while making that drive alone, but I thought it wise to once again hire an automobile this year. AND decided to shake things up by flying into Wellington in Auckland’s stead, a route that turned out to be nearly as lengthy, but a lot less nerve-racking.
Anyway, down to beer business. I added a few new Kiwi beers to the list while hanging ’round New Plymouth. Unfortunately, I still haven’t made it to Mike’s Organic Brewery. (I’m determined to go next year.) I did have amazing eggs florentine at Lahar in Okato, though, so it’s all good. When I arrived back in Wellington, the beer situation got really interesting. My friend Tully (of #TullysWellington Instagram fame) sent me to beer heaven, also known as Malthouse on Courtenay Place. I walked in, grabbed a stool, and said, “I would like a New Zealand beer that I’ve never had before.” Then this happened:
The guy behind the bar, Van, was ah-mazingly knowledgable and keen to serve up all kinds of wonderful beers of which I’d never heard. My favorite was definitely Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black. The Yeastie Boys’ name didn’t hurt their case, but their beer was pretty much the best beer I’ve had in… well, a long time. This is what they say about Pot Kettle Black:
“Pot Kettle Black is our multi-award winning ‘Black IPA’ (that some call a ‘Hoppy Porter’). The different names convey the fact that this beer is a contradiction of styles: fresh and hoppy, yet dark and rich. Most importantly it is mindbendingly delicious and a complete original.”
Check the freshly alphabetized KIWI BEER LIST here.
(Note the opposing swells.)
I’m in Margaret River, WA at the moment, where you can’t stumble over without landing in some fantastic winery or brewery’s car park, so I’m finding lots of great local beers. And also spending too much money in the name of beer snobbery. Please, make my “efforts” worthwhile and go check the latest.
When I was at uni, my friends (cruelly) dared me to strike up a conversation with a fellow bar patron. They identified him from across the crowded room as the man with the highest blood-alcohol content and, presently, the least dignity.
“Hey, you look familiar,” I said. “Do we have a class together?”
Through the haze of his intoxication, he had some difficulty recognizing that he didn’t recognize me. “Yeahhh,” he slurred. “Yeah. Friday mornings?” Continue reading
I wrote this post about Bells a few months back…
Day 2. The sun is piercing the super translucent remnants of the marine layer mixed with wildfire haze; a virginal veil over the pristine beauty that is Victoria’s rugged coastline. It hits the gold-grey sand and wheat-coloured cliffs, refracting off of the glass-smooth faces pounding Winkipop with a deceptive grace. Overhead sets wrap ‘round the point at Rincon. Thousands of millimetres of lens are trained on the Bowl. Jet skis rear and climb peaks, dive down their spines. Julian snaps, hacks, cuts.
Day 4. Gale-force winds ravage the contest site shortly after an emotional Mick Fanning is presented with his bell trophy. As he gives an interview to Channel 9, the gusts apparently level every section of fence bearing a past champion’s photograph. Except one: Michael Peterson. Talk about eerie. The late legend was the very first champion of the Bells Easter comp in 1973.
The weather had been warm and sunny all week–atypical for Easter in Victoria, and it actually began turning during the men’s final. The clouds rolled in as the crowd on the beach shared a moment commemorating MP. “Hells Bells” played on the loudspeakers and goose bumps rose on our arms. Someone said, “It would be fitting if a ‘Cooly kid’ won this year.” This 51st year. Kelly flew and spun and stuck, but Mick rode Bells as Bells likes to be ridden–with power, style, control. And win a Cooly kid did. Continue reading