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February 25, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Salient Beer Column

“Beer” and “university” go together as naturally as “essay” and “leaving it to the last minute.”

Every issue, this column will provide a guide to the wonderful world of beers from around Wellington and around the world. As this unfailingly humble beer column enters its second year, there is a quiet determination around our opulent offices to address complaints raised by the lonely voices of dissent in 2007.

There were accusations that all the fan mail was written by my immediate family. This will continue. It was argued that this column was constantly disrespectful towards Flame Beer – the semi-official religion of the Hutt Valley. This will also continue. Finally, and perhaps validly, some of the beers reviewed were considered a bit pricey. Some of them did indeed cost over a dollar.

Students vary wildly in their budgeting abilities from minute to minute. A student on Wednesday may compare seven brands of two-minute noodles to obtain a net saving of 11 cents. On Friday, the same student will happily blow fifteen bucks on an execrable Miller Genuine Draft or a pink cocktail with a little umbrella.

The first weeks of university are often a blur of parties and drinks, Orientation and disorientation. These are the days when you think your liver is bulletproof and your student loan will last forever. The following two mainstream beers combine value with a bit of flavor and may help people ensure they have enough money left for books.

It is enduring mystery why DB Export Dry (4%) remains the poor cousin to Export Gold when it is a demonstrably better beer. Pouring a deep gold, it boasts a firmness of body and a tingle of hop bitterness at the finish that Export Gold can only aspire to. Equally mysterious but far more welcome is the tendency of retailers to put this criminally underrated beer on some pretty spectacular specials.

Despite the faux-German name and styling, Haagen Gold (5%) is brewed nowhere more exotic or threatening than Auckland. Like Jesse Ryder, this beer has taken a big step up this year and delivered on its undoubted potential. A product of Independent Breweries, Haagen Gold is crisp, clean and refreshing. It is a regular visitor to my fridge though length of stay is usually quite short. Law students and lecturers (all avid readers) may wish to splash out a little extra for the stronger and more prestigious Haagen Premium Gold.

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