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September 8, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Beer and Politics – Wellington Central

Politics and beer go together like VUWSA and financial mismanagement. With the general election approaching, it seemed timely to put the genuinely tough questions to the candidates standing for Wellington Central. This column is not distracted by peripheral issues like tax cuts, mysterious trusts or secret agendas. No, the key issue is what beer the candidates like and where they like to drink it.

First to reply was Don Franks from the Workers Party. He said “most capitalist beer tastes like shit so I regularly brew a nice full bodied live yeast 7% draught in my kitchen. Since the Bistro bar shut down, my favourite Wellington bar is the Bus Stop Tavern in Newtown – small, dark, quiet and relaxing.”

Stephen Franks from National was next, expressing a fondness for “meeting friends for a Sassy Red at Mac’s Brewery on the walk home, though St John’s is better for the evening sun. I rate watching a rugby game at the Sports Café with their steak sandwich and an Export Gold but after exploring the new Temperance I must try it for a game.”

As a “fairly equal opportunity beer drinker,” Grant Robertson (Labour) took a true politician’s interpretation of ‘two sentences’ and provided ten. In edited highlights, he “can recommend the excellent Emerson’s Oatmeal Stout from Dunedin. Full, rich, almost a meal in a glass! For something a bit lighter, and with summer in mind, a Corona with a wedge of lime or lemon is high on my list.”

He said the bar selection was tough but he can’t go past the Matterhorn. “My experience with the venue began when I first moved to Wellington and had the odd toasted sandwich and milkshake there, with the girls from Vivian St passing through. Now it is a great venue for drinking and dining – superb range and brilliantly trained staff. Best place to take visitors to Wellington.”

From the Libertarianz seat at the bar, Bernard Darnton opined “the best Wellington bars are the Malthouse for beer and the Matterhorn for spirits. Dunedin’s best bar is the Robbie Burns where my wedding photo is on the wall behind the bar. Best local beers are Epic, Sassy Red and Emerson’s Bookbinder while the best Aussie beer is Little Creatures.”

The Alliance candidate, Richard Wallis, is direct and to the point. His favourite beer is “Tui. Nothing else need be said I think,” and his favourite pub is Rosie O’Grady’s.

Vaughan Smith (United Future) said “one of my favourite widely distributed beers is Mac’s Sassy Red although I always enjoy trying the beers that Emerson’s produce, especially their seasonal releases. I’m a big fan of Mighty Mighty if I’m feeling in the mood, although Bodega is also doing an excellent job at hosting some live gigs as of late.”

ACT Wellington Central candidate Heather Roy concedes “I’m more likely to be found with a glass of Riesling but on a hot summer’s day I’m quite partial to Steinlager Pure. I enjoy going to the Malthouse on Courtenay Place – it has a relaxed atmosphere and is a great place to meet friends after work.”

The final word goes to Sue Kedgley from the Greens. She believes that “Pink Elephant beer made in Marlborough is a good local beer” and although “I don’t frequent bars, I have occasionally dropped into Hummingbird on Courtenay Place which seems to hum along and serve good wine.”

So, if I was voting based on beer choice, it would be a Libertarian- United Future coalition. If my vote depended on bar choice, it would be Act-Libertarian. This suggests it might still be better to base voting decisions on policy.

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