The Abbott skull

April 20th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

When Tony Abbott walked into Sydney’s Royal Oak Hotel on Saturday night and downed that beer, he didn’t just put an end to all those jokes about his shandy drinking.

He sculled himself into Australia’s national consciousness.

It took less than ten seconds, but with those gulps, Abbott has joined Bob Hawke who has been impressing Australians with his ability to scull a beer for decades. 

Hawkie famously set a world record for beer drinking at Oxford in the 50s. He has since observed that this more than anything else he did in his long career “was to endear me to some of my fellow Australians”.

The former Australian prime minister is not the only one to use a drink to connect with voters.

Last year Coalition MP Andrew Laming turned up at a constituent’s Australia Day party and sculled a beer upside down while doing a handstand. As a partygoer later posted online: “I seriously hate Liberal [sic], but … he found a loophole to my heart!”

I think that would get my vote also. Upside down is very hard.

Even away from the tricky stunts, we feel reassured when we see politicians with a beer in their hands. It’s what convinces us they’re real people, right? Hence all the concern when Abbott ordered a shandy with (oh my god) light beer on the campaign trail in 2010.

But now, Abbott has achieved the sort of publicity that you can’t plan for or buy.

Maybe Andrew Little should try one!

If parties were beer

August 25th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Grant McDougall at Public Address has a blog on which beer each party might be. His picks are:

  • National – Tui
  • Labour – Monteith’s
  • Greens – Emerson’s
  • United Future – Rheineck
  • NZ First – Lion Brown
  • ACT – Budweiser
  • Internet-Mana – Boundary Road
  • Maori – DB Draught
  • Conservatives – Steinlager Lite

His explanations for each are amusing.

United Future is most hard done by. I recall Rheineck, but not fondly.

Milk cheaper, beer price soars

February 18th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

The milk’s a touch cheaper, but the beer’s more expensive than it used to be, according to Statistics New Zealand’s annual snapshot of our country.

New Zealand in Profile 2014, released today, shows the average price of two litres of milk fell from $3.23 in 2008 to $3.19 last year, while an average 400ml glass of beer went up from $4.47 to $5.78 in the same five years.

So since 2008 the price of milk has dropped 1.2% and the price of beer has gone up 29.3%. That’s sad!

Beer Pong

February 10th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key has defended downing several cups of beer during a drinking game yesterday, saying it was not “too crazy” and in the spirit of fun.

Mr Key was challenged to a game of beer pong at the Big Gay Out in Auckland’s Pt Chevalier yesterday. He agreed, and had to down several cups of beer in the process.

On TVNZ’s Breakfast this morning Mr Key defended his decision to take part in the game.

Asked about the link between games like beer pong and irresponsible drinking, Mr Key said: “I’ve heard those sorts of things before. I mean look, it was a bit of fun. It was about that much beer [about an inch] in the cups, so it wasn’t anything too crazy.”

Mr Key added it was “in the spirit of a bit of fun”.

Beer Pong is a great fun game, and as the PM says the amount in a cup is around a quarter of a standard drink so he probably had less than a standard drink in total. The fun police need to be less uptight. He got challenged to take part, and he played along for a couple of minutes. I guess some people would rather he gave them all a lecture on how beer pong is an evil game, and they should all drink fruit juice instead of beer.

He said he would “definitely win” a game of beer pong against Labour leader David Cunliffe.

“Wouldn’t be any doubt about it.”

Now that would be a great televised sport 🙂

Miller on beer

March 17th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Neil Miller writes in the HoS on 10 benefits of drinking beer:

  1. Beer lessens the constant anxiety of watching the Black Caps bat.
  2. After beer, Gareth Morgan’s constant lectures become slightly less annoying.
  3. Beer enables people to hold strong opinions on every issue without resorting to research.
  4. Without beer, no one would date in the provinces.
  5. Television beer ads employ all young Kiwi actors not talented enough to be on Shortland Street.
  6. The Government gets lots of money from beer through excise tax, GST and company tax on anyone who manages to make a profit.
  7. Frank Zappa said “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team or some nuclear weapons.” Without beer, New Zealand would only be half a real country.
  8. The late-night takeaway food industry depends on beer for patronage.
  9. Beer production provides the main ingredient in Marmite.
  10. Drinking a frosty beer annoys President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Professor Doug Sellman.

Heh, an excellent list.

Another HoS article focuses on the drop in beer consumption in NZ.

Statistics NZ figures reveal beer sales have dropped from 181 litres per adult in 1973 to 79 litres last year. This figure marks the lowest level of beer sales since World War II.

But what about the drinking crisis in NZ?

And before you claim people are just drinking more of other alcoholic products, overall alcohol production is down also.


Is beer healthy?

February 16th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Al Williams at Stuff reports:

The beer belly getting you down? Still parked on the couch and wanting to shed some kilos?

Stop for a minute and forget about it – new research suggests it’s healthy.

While it is widely believed that beer is fattening, new scientific evidence from the United Kingdom suggests it has “nutritional and wellbeing benefits” which are at least similar to wine.

A report was commissioned by the British Beer and Pub Association to see whether beer was responsible for more weight gain than other alcoholic drinks, including wine.

It found that there was growing scientific support that moderate consumption of beer could be associated with health benefits.

It also found that 100ml of a 5 per cent lager contained 43 calories, compared to the 84 calories of the same quantity of a 12 per cent white wine. The rule of thumb was, the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calories.

Moderation, as with most things, is the key. Few things (except poisons) are totally bad for you.

But I would point out one flaw in the advocacy that beer is less fattening than wine. It is true on a per ml measure – but this ignores the nature of both drinks. You inevitably drink more beer and faster, than you do wine (although I may have disproved that theory last night!). If you drink more than a litre of wine you will be highly unlikely to carry on drinking. But one can drink a litre of beer fairly easily without too many noticeable effects.

A standard beer glass tends to be 330 mls or more and wine up to 150 mls only. So yes beer per ml is less fattening  but a glass of beer is more fattening than a glass of wine I’d say.

Having said that, I generally drink a lot less wine than I used to – mainly because of the calories in it.

Yum, beer

September 19th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

More than a year after it opened, Wellington’s newest brew bar is finally brewing.

The Fork & Brewer in Bond St opened as a bar and restaurant a year ago, and its owners expected to be brewing beer there by early this year, although the first grain was poured into its steel tanks only yesterday.

The Fork & Brewer’s layout has proved challenging, with the brewing tanks at the entrance to the first-floor establishment.

Operations manager Colin Mallon said to comply with earthquake safety regulations, an extra $30,000 was spent to give additional support to the large stainless steel tanks.

“One standard might be OK in an industrial site, but when you’re in an environment where people are going to be drinking, you’ve got to be doubly careful, and we understand that.”

Installing the tanks was also frustrated by a language barrier, with manuals for the Chinese-made equipment written in Mandarin.

With the problems finally resolved, brewer Lester Dunn went to work on a golden ale yesterday, the first of five beers initially planned.

Later the tanks are likely to be used to produce seasonal beers and collaborative brews with other brewers.

Excellent. I’m compering a quiz night there in a few weeks, so looking forward to trying their own product.

Beer Tasters wanted

June 15th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Boundary Road Brewery said:

Applications are open for discerning beer lovers (999 to be exact) who know a good brew from a bad, appreciate a malt hops balance and fancy themselves a beer aficionado to become a Boundary Road Brewery Beer Taster.

To gain a coveted position as a Boundary Road Brewery Beer Taster, serious beer lovers can apply at  where they will need to pass a beer knowledge test. The first 999 beer lovers successful in the test will be sent a tasting pack of three variants of Boundary Road Brewery lagers which they will put through a rigorous testing process before passing judgement on their favourite.

The most popular brew as voted by the tasters will be released for sale as The Chosen One, along with an ale, pilsner and ginger beer by The Boundary Road Brewery to a thirsty and grateful public from 1 August 2011.

Beer lovers need to get in quick as applications close 30 June 2011 and applicants must be 18 years or over and be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge of beer.

What’s more, one of the lucky 999 will win the title of Chairman of the Beer Tasters and will take home a Williamswarn Personal Brewery worth $6,000.

I got sent a pack of the three beers as media, and I have to say they were most pleasant. I’m not sure how many they have left of their 999 sample packs, but go for it if keen. My preferred one was Beer C.

NZ on Discovery Channel tonight

May 17th, 2011 at 4:42 pm by David Farrar

Neil Miller blogs:

New Zealand stars in tonight’s episode of the acclaimed Brew Masters series on the Discovery Channel. The show is hosted by Sam Caligione who is a unique combination of maverick brewer, beer ambassador, mad scientist and craft pin-up boy. As part of his global journey, he tours New Zealand to experience our craft scene and to brew a collaborative beer with Luke Nicholas from Epic Brewing Company.

The episode will air on the Discovery Channel tonight (Tuesday 17 May 2011) at 7:30pm in both Australia and New Zealand. The episode has already appeared in America and the official trailer is on-line as well as a review on the respected Brew Nation site.

Sounds like an episode worth watching – promoting NZ beer to the world with no Government funding.

Invent your own brands, DB

September 6th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A beer drinkers’ society warns it faces bankruptcy if it loses its dispute with DB Breweries over a shandy-like lager which most of its members do not drink.

The Society of Beer Advocates (Soba), an organisation with about 500 members run by volunteers, has taken legal action against DB over the term “Radler”, which the brewing giant uses on a citrus-flavoured brand of Monteith’s.

DB has a trademark over Radler which Soba is attempting to have declared invalid, arguing that like pilsner or lager, the term is a generic name for a recognised style of beer over which no-one should have exclusive rights.

I agree with SOBA. It is a generic term.

A spokeswoman for DB said its application to trademark the term in 2003 was not contested.

DB does not claim to have come up with the term, acknowledging the German origins on its website, but bases its right to trademark it on the lack of public awareness of the origins, and the “considerable” investment in the brand.

My advice to DB is not to try and trademark generic terms, even if obscure. Go invent your own brandnames and trademark them.

The Speights Brewery Tour

July 9th, 2010 at 5:27 am by David Farrar

On Wednesday I did a tour of the historic Speights Brewery in Dunedin, as part of the Science Festival.

It takes around 90 minutes, which includes a very pleasant tasting session at the end.

It starts with a good display of Cooperage, which are the barrels that the beer was storied and transported in up until the 1950s. Except they are casks not all barrels. A barrel is 36 gallons of beer. You also had firkins (9G), kilderkins (18G), hogsheads (54G) and butts (162G). These terms have been used since 1854.

Saw some ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics warning people of the ill effects of drinking too much alcohol. Yes they even had Law Commissions 3,000 years ago 🙂

I learnt where the saying to “scull” your beer comes from – the Vikings who used to literally drink beer from the skulls of their enemies.

The tour is a good mix of the history of beer, the history of Speights and a look at how the beer is brewed today. We got to taste the actual barleys used in making the beer (think burnt toast).

At the end of the tour we tried the six types of beer they had on tap – the Pilsener proving the most popular.

The tour guide was very engaging, and it was interesting to learn about the history of the brewery, the three founders of Speights etc. Highly recommended tour for beer lovers if you are in Dunedin, and a good opportunity to learn a bit about the science of beer making.

A popular place to work

April 12th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

COPENHAGEN – Scores of Carlsberg workers walked off their jobs in protest yesterday after the Danish brewer tightened laid-back rules on workplace drinking and removed beer coolers from work sites, a company spokesman said.

Beer Coolers. Now what work place would not be improved with them.

The warehouse and production workers in Denmark are rebelling against the company’s new alcohol policy, which allows them to drink beer only during lunch hours in the canteen. Previously, they could help themselves to beer throughout the day, from coolers placed around the work sites.

Only drink during lunch time. Barbaric.

The only restriction was “that you could not be drunk at work. It was up to each and everyone to be responsible,” company spokesman Jens Bekke said.

I wonder how they defined drunk?

And the winner is …

March 11th, 2010 at 8:48 pm by David Farrar

Just been told that Monteiths are giving away a free case of (24 stubbies) beer to the best commenters on blogs in the Ffunnell advertising network, that contribute to their Worth Talking Over site.

Their site grabs contributions from the various blogs, and puts them into speech bubbles, as a way of highlighting the debates. The site is very well done – in fact it pulls contents from blogs. from Twitter and even the old Usenet groups.

Anyway what it means is I get to pick a commenter who will get two dozen stubbies as a prize. Sadly I can not pick myself 🙂

If Expat can send me by e-mail their name, address, phone and a statement they are aged over 18 (this is a legal requirement), then they will get a pleasant delivery in a few days.

MPs and Beers

January 30th, 2010 at 2:53 pm by David Farrar

Beerologist Neil Miller asks the politicians their favourite beers. In summary:

  • John Key – Bath Gem, a tasty ale from Bristol
  • Phil Goff – Emerson’s Pilsner
  • David Garrett – Stella Artois and Macs Gold
  • Jim Anderton – Speights and Stella Artois
  • Peter Dunne – Guinness, Heineken and Macs Gold
  • Russel Norman – Founder’s Redhead and Tall Blonde
  • Metiria Turei – Green Man Pils