Mayhem at Brew NZ

MAYHEM was the word at this year’s Brew NZ. On the positive side, the Epic Brewing Company’s Mayhem pale ale was named the best Festive Brew (produced specially for Brew NZ) at the NZ Beer Awards. This was a delicious ale, with an aroma of ganja and a resiny flavour. Smooth and tasty, it is a worthy mate of Epic’s standard pale ale, which was Supreme Champion of this year’s NZ International Beer Awards . But not all the mayhem was positive. A pint of festive brew (not the advertised one, but "Publicans Pale Ale") served at Bodega tasted a little like a sweet wheat beer – it seems the keg had been changed but the lines were not flushed out, and there were two types of beer in the glass. Not a great look for a beer festival. (The wheat beer in question, Tuatara’s Heffe, won at silver medal at the Beer Awards.) The Renaissance Marlborough Pale Ale, saved the day somewhat, with huge grassy and resiny hop characters making it interesting More mayhem ensued as bars on the Brew NZ list failed to have the Festive Brews promised. On Thursday, Bodega was down one advertised brew, the Matterhorn didn’t have theirs, the Tasting Room (twice) didn’t have theirs, and the Mac’s brewery bar wanted to charge for a sample. If I was a tourist coming to Wellington for the beer festival, I’d be livid. I hope such tourists found Shed 5, where a tasty Limburg India Pale Ale was on offer. Or Scopa, which was full of people drinking pints of Emerson’s "Anniversary" 1812 IPA, a sure sign they had enjoyed the free sample. The "Anniversary" 1812 was aged in oak casks, and to see many people trying such an innovative beer – even in a wine bar – was to see what Brew NZ is all about. But the fest best was The Malthouse. It had samples of Stuntman Imperial India Pale Ale, the beer mysteriously unavailable at the Matterhorn. And it had Epic Mayhem, the best Festive Brew. Plus it offered samples of a selection of other boutique beer that had not been advertised. There were happy patrons sipping samples and buying pints, and beer was the winner on the day. Cheers. Aaron Watson - Capital Times For all the medals the NZ Beer Awards, see

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