Pacific Beer Expo Update
We're just three days from what we think is the highlight of the year for anyone who appreciates the same kind of beer that we do. A couple of days ago we announced the nearly final lineup for the Pacific Beer Expo on facebook and twitter. You can read that announcement here.
One particular beer didn't quite make Tuesday's announcement on account of the fact that we hadn't talked to its brewer for a week or two and it is not the kind of beer we want to bait people with then switch. It's an early preview from the extensive barrel ageing programme that 8 Wired is running. The particular beer we're serving on Sunday has the working title of Wild Feijoa. It's a strong pale ale brewed almost two years ago that has been sitting in a barrel with some feijoas.
We've also been slow to reveal details of what might be one of the most interesting beers at the event. But here goes... on a recent trip to Vietnam the Hashigo Zake delegation was given the chance to buy some authentic civet cat (or "weasel") coffee - coffee beans collected after passing through the digestive system of the coffee cherry-addicted civet cat. There were two varieties available - unwashed, unroasted free range beans, still in a form best described as actual cat poo. Fearing that NZ Customs might not look kindly on a random passenger flying in with a jar of cat poo, we plumped for the alternative - washed and roasted beans from farmed cats.
As sensible as this sounds, it seems that there is growing disquiet around the world about "farmed" - or perhaps "battery" - civet cat coffee. So unless and until we find a source of weasel coffee that's guaranteed to have been excreted humanely, we're viewing this exercise as a one-off.
Nevertheless, having transported our small packet of maybe-not-so-humanely farmed civet cat coffee we weren't going to waste it. We entrusted it with Garage Project who already have done great things with coffee-laced beer and they created a small batch of their gold medal winning Ca Phe Da. We believe that the result is New Zealand's first, commercial, civet cat coffee beer. And it might be the last for a while.
Did we mention that we've persuaded Ruth Pretty Catering to try and come up with foods to match the festival beers? We treated them to a taste of a few representative beers, including Ballast Point Victory at Sea and Southern Tier Crème Brûlée. Check out the menu they've come up with:
- Caramelised Chilli Almonds
- Rugelach with Apricot, Walnut and Chocolate
- Turkish Cheese Pastry
- Turmeric Chicken Satay with Caramelised Peanut Sauce and Flatbread
- Turmeric Vegetable Satay with Caramelised Peanut Sauce and Flatbread (v)
- Toasted Sandwich with Braised Beef Bavette, Swiss Cheese and Pickled Red Onion
- Toasted Sandwich with Mushrooms, Swiss Cheese and Pickled Red Onion (v)
- Mocha Crème Brûlée
With a new venue, a legendary caterer and a beer list that tops just about anything we've ever seen, this year's event is looking pretty exciting. But not everything automatically goes our way and there is one cloud on the horizon. We're hearing lots of grizzles about the booking fee that is imposed on anyone buying online. We aren't unsympathetic but ask supporters to save their complaints for now. The ticket agent comes with the venue. We either use them or hold the festival in a swamp.
We were given permission to sell a few tickets in our own right, which we duly did. Surprisingly we've just been allowed another allocation, so for a little while we are once again able to sell a few over the bar. Apart from those few tickets, any additional purchases have to be via the official ticket vendor and the relevant web page is here.
Music on Saturday
It may be a long weekend with a rugby final on one evening, a beer festival the next day and a day of rest to top it all off, but regular traditions remain unaffected. In other words, we will have live music, as usual, in the Lounge on Saturday night.
In fact Saturday sees the triumphant return from illness of Darren Watson and his Underground Blues Band. From 10pm with the customary non-existent cover charge.
New Release Tuesday
This one takes some explaining. It's one of the latest Moon Dog beers - kind of. We recently took delivery of Mummy Have A Bite, which is a calvados barrel aged amber ale. The brewery also filled a 20L keg for us with the base beer before it went into barrels. It has been referred to as "beer from fermenter #2" and "Toffee Apple Beer (without the apple)". So maybe we'll just go with Toffee Apple, even if it is meaningless without the correct context. (And context will be a few feet away in the form of bottled Mummy Have A Bite.)
Moon Dog Toffee Apple will be on tap from 5pm on Tuesday.
Labour Day Surcharge - Just Kidding
Do we need to keep making this point or have the advocates of public holiday surcharges crawled into a hole?