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The Craft Beer Craze

The art of making average and unknown beer taste amazing.

The craft beer craze has been with us a while, at least in my family it’s been over 40yrs as I grew up with the smell of hops and malt extract and dads home brewing in the kitchen, always in the evening after mum had given him permission to use the kitchen bench under pain of death that it is returned to it’s original pristine state (to which Dad always failed to achieve but more importantly to mum was he made the effort to clean up after himself!). At the time not being of the age to truly appreciate the craftsmans touch of making one’s own amber liquid I am still struck by the time, effort and pride dad took in making his own beer and the steady process of fermenting in the hot water cupboard followed by being bottled and stored in crates in the dark recesses of the garage with the tops date marked in permenant marker and finally the joy weeks later of watching his mates sample a drop with all the style of mad scientists holding their pots up to the light and discussing the sedimentation and colour and seeing their nods of appreciation and acceptance that this was indeed a good home brew.

Job done….on to the next batch

That in essence underpins the art of making average and unknown beer taste amazing. This one is not rocket science, in fact it’s logical and underpins the whole reason why we enjoy a beer (and play rugby) Mates!!!

We could go on for hours on the ingredients and the care and the magic touches a brewer does to produce their craft beer but if you don’t have mates to share a drink with, in my humble opinion, it is just another beer and probably quite an average one at that too.

Lets put it to the test, Think of your favourite drink, now put yourself at home with no-one around and imagine taking a drink. Tastes alright? It’s good but somethings definitely missing Now do it again but this time imagine yourself out with some good mates, the banter is flowing, everyone is having a good time, look around at the faces and the atmosphere, take a virtual sip…..Booooom, there it is, the magic ingredient, the holy grail, the reason we all hate shopping.

This being the my first attempt at writing for The Baboon I was infact struggling with how to kick off my first article and I incidentally met up with a couple of good mates from the Rugby club at our local craft beer place the other night in an impromptu gathering after work (the good Beer Company, Savour World, 1 Kent Ridge https://www.savourworld.com/good-beer- company/)

I had a couple of great little beers that night, they were nice, but what made it for me was in reflection not the beer but the company, the atmosphere my friends created that allowed me to elevate that beer experience to something personal and fulfilling that not only did the brewers product proud but also gave me a chance to truly appreciate good people in my life and the way they are the magic ingredient needed for enjoying beer.

I have had some shitty cheap beer on a wet Saturday night sitting in a garage in west Auckland with a tape player, a guitar and half a rugby team….what makes that so special I can recall it with clarity 25yrs on is Mates.

I have spent time in Antarctica surrounded by amazing scenery and amazing experiences but one of the best experience of that deployment was drinking shitty Bud lite in the Erabus Bar in McMurdo station with US servicemen I had just worked 14 days straight with on 12hr rotating shifts. Two weeks prior we were unknowns from 2 different armed forces, two weeks later mates enjoying a great evening with some pretty average beer in my opinion.

I recently went back to NZ for a 2 week break at the beach house with the family, my brother and I made a point of buying a range of NZ craft beer to sample. Where did we enjoy it, on the deck or on the beach watching the sunset?….no way, we sat in the half completed cabana out the back of the house with my dad and 3yr old son sitting on an eclectic collection of stools and chairs having spent the afternoon cleaning the yard and doing odd jobs. Boooom the magic ingredient elevated those beers to legend status.

If like me you enjoy a cheeky beer and you sometimes feel a bit lost with all the hoopla around what makes a craft beers taste amazing, don’t despair but simply take a moment to look around, raise the glass to your lips and appreciate the magic ingredients we sometimes take for granted in the beer drinking experience.

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