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May 27, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Beer’d – Red, White and Beer

Greetings, beer fiends! This column comes to you from Melbourne. I’m here to attend Australia’s largest beer festival, the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular. But I’m not going to talk about Australian beer (that’s another column). You see, I arrived in Australia via two weeks in northern California, where I was in beer heaven.

Now I know a lot of you are thinking: American beer, really? A country famous for the most watery of lagers in the world? Yes, it’s true that the worst beer from America is among the worst in the world (that can be said of anywhere), but the opposite is just as true. The craft-beer revolution we have experienced in New Zealand over the last five years mirrors in many respects what’s been going on in the States for over two decades.

While there I enjoyed a colourful selection of beers from a staggering number of breweries, such as Rogue, Russian River, Lagunitas and 21st Amendment. The west coast of America is famous as a hop-growing region, and is the spiritual homeland of the modern hoppy pale ale and IPA. But don’t think that’s all they have to offer. Beer bars and breweries make and serve a dizzying array of styles (sours seem to be in vogue at the moment). The best beers from America are truly among the best in the world.

Now it may seem like I’m being a bit of a tease, telling you about beers from a country across an ocean, but sampling American brews in New Zealand is easier than you might think. Local beer bar Hashigo Zake (disclaimer—my former employer) is a distributor for several American breweries, such as Bear Republic, Green Flash, Rogue and Coronado. These beers can be found in beer bars throughout Wellington and New Zealand. I encourage you to seek these out. And yes I know, ‘drink local’ is a great ethos, but it never hurts to be a little international now and again.

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