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October 15, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Beer Column Highlights for 2007

Labour hard man Trevor Mallard revealed exclusively in the first beer column of the year that his favorite tipple was Monteith’s Radler because “it’s fresh and light with a bit of spice”. Since that bombshell, Salient has printed thousands of words about beer. A few of them are even worth printing again in the Disorientation issue.

I scandalously revealed that the first beer I wrote about was the bus-stop stalwart “Skol Super (9 per cent) which I plucked from obscurity on the supermarket shelf as a bizarre protest against the rise of Fruit Hopper beers. This beer is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine which causes no end of mockery from my beer anorak friends”. It is also “the only beer I’ve ever seen with carbon dioxide listed as an ingredient”.

There were many memorable metaphors including “the [Mount Street Café] balcony is nominally smoke-free but I saw more smoke there than the J-Day organizing committee watching a Bob Marley marathon” and “just like an emo’s poetry, beers tend to get darker in winter”. In this post-world cup world, the joke about “telling students where to drink can be a bit like telling the French how to surrender – it can feel just a little redundant” does not work.

The A-Team may have been long-term fans because I used the term “Muppets” as early as March.

I went brewing at Emerson’s but “my role was somewhat limited because the dream team were (rightly) wary of a mechanically-challenged writer turning the wrong switch and sending 5,000 litres of beer directly into the Dunedin City stormwater system”.

The Victoria drinking game proved widely popular with high levels of consumption required by criteria such as “drink every time Nick Kelly harks back to the glory days of his presidency” and every time “Lindsay Perigo refers to Ayn Rand.” There are still no recorded instances of people having to imbibe because of an “awkward silence at a Debating Society meeting.”

The review of Flame (5.2 per cent) – “Easy to carry, hard to drink, has a smell familiar to students who have set their couches on fire” – prompted unprecedented levels of correspondence (two letters). The same column had the best beer joke that no one got when Resch’s Real Bitter (4 per cent) was described as “unintentionally onomatopoeic.”

There was much mockery of Budweiser (“there is so much rice in Bud that it is hard to know if you have bought a six pack or sushi box”) and the whole Mash range. The scathing Mash review remains my most influential work with lines like “Mash Golden Lager (5 percent) is broadly in a style the Germans might call “das sehr preiswerteste Bier“, which translates as “the very cheapest beer”, “Mash Citrus Lager (5 percent) has the nose of a budget dishwashing liquid but does not taste quite so good” and Mash Energy Lager (5 per cent) “certainly gives your gag reflex a good workout” quoted back at me frequently.

“Hopefully,” I wrote, “Mash beer will be like Geoffrey Palmer’s stint as Prime Minister – a brief, terrible period of our history which is quickly forgotten”.

The final word for 2007 – the Mash range has been discontinued.

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