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October 8, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Best Of 2007

It is traditional at this stage of the Salient life cycle for columnists to look back over the year and try to make some pithy observations about the global trends and developments in whatever topic they were supposed to be writing about for all that time.

On somber reflection, that seemed like an awful lot of work, so I simply banged out the first ever Salient Beer Awards. After reviewing this year’s columns and unprecedented levels of correspondence (nearly six letters to the editor, still some 1100 fewer than the enigmatic Potato Zoo alone), here are the winners.

Best beers of 2007

Epic Mayhem – looks good, tastes great but I’d better have another just to be sure.
Emerson’s Pilsner – simple yet lovely, just like the brewer.
Tuatara IPA – local, traditional, well-made and, above all, delicious.

Worst beers of 2007

Mash Energy Lager – a runaway winner, this “beer” is like Michael Jackson running a daycare centre, because it is wrong on so many levels.
Mash Lemon and Lime – second only because the Energy Lager is even worse.
Loaded Hog Draught – I would not wash Nick Kelly with this beer.

Best Wellington bars for beer

The Malthouse – the self-proclaimed “Handsome Scotsman” Colin has the biggest and best range.
Bodega – a Wellington beer institution for a reason.
Bar Edward – this Newtown bar stocks such fine ales that I have been known to brave public transport to get there.

Best bar snacks

Chicken wings – one kilo of marinated goodness at the Southern Cross
Fish goujons – proper beer batter and fresh fish from The Malthouse
BBQ platter – a carnivorous fantasy at Hope Brothers.

Best beer places off the beaten track

The Wassail Brauhaus – New Zealand’s only bed, breakfast and brewery in Taranaki.
The Mussel Inn – environmentally friendly yet marvelous micro-brewery in Golden Bay.
Lighthouse – the brewer’s stories alone justify a visit.

Best beer advertisements (may need YouTube)

The Magic Fridge – if only they put a fraction of that creativity into the actual beer.
Wear the Fox Hat – listen carefully, you may need to think about it.
The Very Big Ad – impossible not to laugh at the sheer ludicrous size of this Aussie offering.

Beers I wrote about too much this year

Flame – least deserving cult since Social Credit.
Mash – though it was the first ever beer review to mention Chuck Norris.
Budweiser – so many words on so little flavour.

Beers I should have written more about

Hallertau Stuntman – delightfully mental 10.5 per cent pale ale.
Invercargill Smokin’ Bishop – a very rare example of an indigenous smoked bock.
The Twisted Hop range of real ales from Christchurch.

Beer lessons for 2007

Always drink what the brewer is drinking.
Then try to remember that brewers can always drink more than you.
Finally, nobody wants to hear me sing.

The end of year is always a time of change. As the era of President Geoff drifts slowly to a close, the new junta of President Joel looms ominously on the horizon. However, assuming the university does not mistakenly award me a degree over summer, this humble beer column might be back next year.

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