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Shambeerla at Beervana | Aug 31, 2010 12:01

There are worse ways to spend your Saturday than drinking beer with friends. A few hundred friends. And to also have the chance to talk to the people who made the beer you're drinking is pretty cool too. It's like walking through an art gallery with the artists.

My beertinery ran like this: Yeastie Boys' Punkadiddle; Three Boys' Pineapple Lump Porter; Cock and Bull's Kumera Kawapeto; Emerson's Billy T Witt; Epic and Dogfish Head's Portamarillo; Epic's Barrel-Aged Stout; Renaissance's MPA; and a Yeastie Boys' Her Majesty 2010.

All of those were medal winners, some were trophy winners, none were bad.

Epic Water

Samuel Flynn Scott at Beervana 2010

My favourite, if I am forced to choose one, was Emerson's Billy T Witt (their festive brew made with kumara and kawakwa with a hint of pikopiko). It was made with almost the exact same ingredients as Cock and Bull's Kumera Kawapito (also in the festive brew category) except C&B added horopito instead of pikopiko and brewed a cloudy Hefe while Emerson's was a Belgian style. C&B's beer with its fizz and acidity caused me to describe it as being "like Dispirin", though I meant it nicely. Emerson's brew seemed to have a more rounded flavour and suited my taste buds perfectly. When Jed (he of the wonderful photos) mentioned to Richard Emerson of the small difference in the two beers' ingredients, Richard was surprised and said "but horopito stops the fermentation process!" Like I said, I love brewers.

I was also incredibly keen on the Punkadiddle. It is one of a growing range of so-called "session beers", beers with low alcohol levels so you can have one over lunch without falling asleep at your desk in the afternoon. Punkadiddle, which was only 3.7%, had a nice flavour to it, not too bitter, and felt like a beer I could easily drink all day without later waking up somewhere strange and without pants. It also received high praise from other brewers some of whom texted Stu (half of the Yeastie Boys) to say they were drinking it and it "was stunning". "Three separate messages praising the drinkability of my beer, from three of the brewers I respect the most, are better than any medal or trophy".

Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head

I also got to sit down with Sam Calagione (that's him above and yes he is wearing a Slow boat Records t-shirt), founder and President of Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware. A real character, Sam built the brewery with the help of friends, and in one case, stolen empty kegs. He's now fronting a new show for the Discovery Channel on craft beer and brewing around the world (called Brewed), and is a big part of the reason why he was in New Zealand.

Audio to go here soon!

I also talked briefly to Dave Bernard of Tuatara about an upcoming project that you'll learn about soon enough. Oooo mystery… actually it's not a mystery at all if you've spoken to me in the last month or so.

Now your job is go out and find these great beers (yes Tui is on the list again as Best NZ Draught) and drink them.

Søren Eriksen From 8 Wired

Sneaky Imp

Andy Deuchars From Renaissance

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It's fun to skate at the YMCA | Aug 20, 2010 15:46

Auckland's Pirate City are rocking the city this weekend. Normally this post would be all "hey, get along and see them!" except they don't need your fucking pity.

The new venue is the YMCA on the corner of Pitt St and Grey's Ave, handy walking distance to K Rd, is already close to sold out. The last tweet I saw had it at 100 door tickets left. This going to be a big bout. And the skaters are happy to be in town. No more skating around in the suburbs.

The fans are pretty stoked too. But what makes you a derby fan, and why do people get so passionate about it after only a few bouts.

Kaiya Irvine, a Dead Wreckoning supporter, says that she loves "the eclectic mix of people that it brings together – and the girls are hot! I tell [people who don't 'get' derby] they need to come and see for themselves how talented, athletic and amazing these women are. And once you get someone along to watch their first bout, they are hooked."

Kelly Barbeler is a massive fan of Wreckoning skater Scheisse Minnelli, "because she manages to make kicking some serious derby ass look easy, and her antics keep things interesting (looking cool as a cucumber as she glides around the rink, dancing her heart out, and passing the opposing team" (However it was Scheisse who asked the questions for me so there may be some survey bias here).

Neither Kelly nor Kaiya would care if their favourite skaters changed teams, they would still follow them.

So why do people enjoy Roller Derby? Don't ask stupid questions. Why do people like any sport? They want to see amazing feats of athleticism performed by people who, given time and training and support, could be them.

But here's the other thing, no one watches derby alone.

MC Mic Riot said that when he first went to derby, he didn't quite know what to expect and didn't know anyone. But the community of the sport in undeniable, and he found himself easily fitting in as a member of another small sport that people don't always take seriously: wrestling.

While some sports fans are strikingly elitist in their attempts to explain how little you really know about the sport; derby fans fall over themselves to help you understand and get you up to play so you can all yell along together. And that's what I like about roller derby.

Pirate City's 2010: A Skate Odyssey.
21st August
There's roughly 100 tickets left for doorsales. No Punching.

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