Every year things start to go downhill on Wednesday. It isn’t the ongoing challenge of trying all the new beers (this time it was the launch of the new Renaissance Brewing MPA at Hashigo Zake, which is a bit more approachable than some of the previous years, and more fruity, with a blend of choice New Zealand hops overlaying a nicely complex malt profile.)
The week really gets started during Mashing In, the social hour ahead of Thursday’s Brewers Guild AGM. Hosted this year by Fork & Brewer, it was a great chance to see old friends and meet new players in the industry.
Richard Emerson introduced us to his wife, which seems to be part of a trend this year. The wives, and husbands, don’t always come along, but this year we’ve heard of or talked to at least three other wives and a husband in town. Proof that beer in NZ is now just like any other small family business.
Getting to the bar was a bit of a crush, but David Cryer made way and helped us get a glass from the cask of Garage Project Trip Hop that seemed to be the beer of the moment. Are we the only ones who question whether hoppy beers show their best on cask? We look forward to trying it bright at Beervana to validate our theory that it was even better last year from a keg.
Beers in hand, we started swimming the sea of beer celebrities, and a few media personalities, getting the scoop on the beer scene. Interesting how many people pointed out all the new faces, all the new labels, and pondered whether this boom indicates a bubble in the market?
We once again went in with the silly misguided intent of just saying hi to everyone. That list is now well over 50 people, between established brewers we want to catch up with and new brewers we were hoping to meet. Thanks to the Brewer’s Guild who invite all the right people, we have a fair shot at seeing everyone in one place. And yet, as midnight rolled around we still hadn’t reached them all.
Sometime during the night, though, we ended getting invited to the Awards Dinner tonight, so we will keep working our way through the list…