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Brew ha ha

17 Jul 2014 • 4 Comments

Funky afro credit Jed Soane low Photo credit: Jed Soane,

Beervana is arguably New Zealand’s best annual beer festival. You may have heard of it; maybe you want to go? Perhaps you went to it sometime over the last 12 years but can’t quite recall the finer details. Whatever your Beervana experience – whoever you are, wherever you are – if you’re not booked and ticketed to wonderful Welly for 22–23 August, you’re going to miss out on a barrel-load of fun. Here’s why…

  1. It’s epic. Beervana serves up in excess of 250 craft beers and ciders, from more than 60 New Zealand breweries and a couple of dozen from abroad. Here’s your chance to discover some new favourites (mine are Hop Federation and North End), and check out some new tricks from old dogs (such as Monteith’s, who’ve been brewing up a storm in their shiny Greymouth brewery).
  2. It’s international. This year’s festival welcomes three envoys from Portland, the USA’s Craft Beer Capital – Widmer’s Joe Casey, Gigantic’s Ben Love, and Commons’ Josh Grgas. Meet them and taste their beers at the Taste of Portland stand.  There are plenty more imports, including a raft from Australia – on our hit list are Bridge Road, Feral and Nail.
  3. It’s educational. Four illuminating seminars are being held during each of Beervana’s sessions: Home Brewing Masterclass (you’ll launch your own brewery before you know it); The Right Glass Matters (because you can’t drink straight from the jug. Well you can, but you shouldn’t); Beer & Cheese (make mine a double); and Taste of Portland – an opportunity to get personal with the aforementioned Portlandian brewers and a rock-star chef, as well as the editor of US magazine, All About Beer.
  4. You get a free Beervana glass. Afterwards you can pop it in the cabinet next to the Toast Martinborough goblet, the shot glass pilfered from a bar on that stag night, and the brandy balloon commemorating Granddad Harry’s 80th.
  5. It will leave a sour taste in your mouth. If you thought imperials and hop-bombs were the cutting edge of craft brewing, think again. We’re now on to the sours – high acid, highly risky brews, barrel aged with wild yeast running riot. In fact, make a beeline for any thing barrel-aged – sooooo hot right now.
  6. You can get stuffed. Beervana serves up seriously good food. Culinary luminaries include the classic Boulcott St Bistro (expect pastry), hot new Grill Meats Beer (sliders, for sure), nibble-licious House of Dumplings, and delectable pizza courtesy of Tommy Millions. It’s all served in snack-sized portions, perfect for slotting in between beer-tastings.
  7. It’s a media beat-up. Twenty-six writer/brewer teams will vie for the title of top drop in this year’s annual Media Brew Competition. Their mission is to create a ‘Spring’ beer, which must contain a New Zealand ingredient – anything from feijoa or a Fruju, to lamb or leggy insects. We’re putting our money on Team #NorthendBenter’s entry – Briny Brown.
  8. Investigate ‘peak beard’. Rumour has it that hipsterism is dead, dragging with it an enthusiasm for shaggy beards, dodgy mos, fat mutton chops and other silly sideburns. Could it be that the nation’s brewers and beer-drinks are following in their wake and eschewing facial hair? Find out at Beervana!
  9. You can break out the beer tee-shirt. Whether it’s a ratty old Rheineck teeshirt that totally betrays your age, or on-trend Garage Project merch that cost you the price of three flagons, here’s a chance to give it an airing. I’ll be posting a few pix of such fashion statements to #BeervanaTees.
  10. It doesn’t end there. Part of the Beervana experience is just being in the capital while it’s on. As well as exploring scores of craft beer bars, you can eat yourself silly courtesy of Wellington on Plate, or see some extra-special city lights thanks to the Wellington Lux Festival.

Add your comment

  • John 21/08/2014 5:30am (3 years ago)

    I'm kinda glad it costs a few bob to get in Gareth. A cover charge separates the seriously interested from the Courtenay Place rabble. If you're into your beersies, you can make $45 happen.

  • Gareth 07/08/2014 6:09pm (3 years ago)

    It's so expensive though, $45 to line up and BUY beer and food.

  • JC Carter 18/07/2014 12:46pm (4 years ago)

    Been there, done that, wont go back.
    1. Not really,
    2. Is that why it is expensive?
    3. Best part of the days
    4. Free? are you on drugs. it cost money to get in, you pay through the eye for each beer and for the food, and you say that little plastic *this year* 'glass' is free?
    5. Sours are available all over the show for years. Hallertau has produced their Porter Noir for quite some time...
    6. Ya, small portions, slow service and high prices. Teh golden combo.
    7. Last year the media beers disappeared extremely quickly, so you better hope to be first rather than last.
    8. Hipsters are not dead.
    9. I can do that at home, without the hundreds of dollar spent.
    10. No it doesnt end there. You can spend time fighting for spots in the packed beer bars throughout wellington.

    You missed the point about the excessive crowds, the high prices, 2$ for 65mls? worse for high strength?, stupid plastic discs, 45$ for the right to buy high priced beers? Multiple stupid plastic discs to buy a meal smaller than things I have sneezed up?

    The ice cream made with garage project beer was probably the best thing I had. But baylands beer was teh tastiest beer.

  • Bat 17/07/2014 1:07pm (4 years ago)

    If you think Beervana is New Zealand's best annual beer fest, then you have no place is writing this article.

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