Beervana, the nirvana of New Zealand beer enthusiasts lasted just over four hours for me. No, I didn’t pass out, I actually staggered home in a fairly orderly, non-drunken fashion. I had quenched my thirst and gained some insight into the state of craft beer brewing; and it’s in good health I tell you, a hoppy state of being.
The Thirstyboys lined up for Beervana with the rest of the beergeeks from about 11.20 am at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. The gates opened at 12.00pm so we had to amuse ourselves for a while counting the number of people with beards, sideys and anoraks. When the gates opened, we calmly walked in. picked up our glasses and beer tokens and proceeded to try four beers in the first half hour. We slowed down a wee bit after that but a sense of anticipation was definitely there. We noticed the Australia section was busy. Here is a photo of the crowds.
I joke, I joke…because much later we tried some excellent Aussie brews – the Mountain Goat Brewery: Gypsy & the Goat black peppery IPA was a favourite for three of the thirstyboys. The Garage Project stall was jammed with thirsty people, those guys got a fan club going…but in this first session other stalls like Macs and Stella Artois seemed to struggle to attract punters. The non-alc stall was quiet too.
However, throughout the afternoon there was a friendly, low key vibe if not a crowded buzz…perhaps in the evening session it would get a bit rowdier, once everyone escaped from work, and are feeling thirsty and hungry.
For our thirsty crew the best beers we tasted were:
Garage Project: Red Rocks Reserve tied with Mountain Goat Brewery: Gypsy & the Goat Black Peppery IPA 7.3% – Karorifryup
Emerson’s Brewery: Regional Best Bitter 4% – gingerbeardedman
8 Wired Brewing Co: Superconductor 8.0% – PJ
8 Wired Brewing Co: media brew – the Jesuit
Mountain Goat Brewery: Gypsy & the Goat black peppery IPA 7.3% – the draughtsman
Yeastie Boys: Gunnamatta Earl Grey IPA 6.5% – malice
Overall, from my point of view Beervana was well presented and organised. The Beervana guide was sharply designed, easy to find your way around and informative. There were over 200 beers on offer, and a great variety of quality food. The service was friendly, it was good. There was ample space and room to move, to sit down or stand up and drink beers and more beers. Though we did lose a few guys from time to time in the growing crowd.
I decided not to do a full review of Beervana. I think there will be plenty of beer-scribes who will provide expert commentary on what was on offer and the good and bad of the event. It was my first Beervana at the Westpac Stadium so I couldn’t make a comparison. However, just to add something different to the literature that will emerge around this event, I thought I’d give you an insight into the culture of beer geeks at Beervana 2012 through their t-shirts. I have added a few quotes I overheard during the afternoon…just to break up the images. Thanks to all those who agreed to be photographed, especially those who won’t remember.
“Going for the session beers from here on, in, is probably the way to go…”
“If you go down the other end and look at ciderguy…he is lonely.”
“That’s what separates the Thirstymen from the Thirstyboys…”
“Flatter than last year, bigger does not always equal better…”
“It has been excellent, I had a really good time and made numerous jokes at your expense, not all of them racist…don’t write that down!!”
“I wasn’t here…”