Of course you don’t! Why would you?? Who the hell am I anyway?
Well, hello I suppose. I am Dave! A fairly regular dude who enjoys the odd crafty. Not Just any old crap, but the good stuff, craft beers of all smells, styles and tastes. (except perhaps the mad percentage barley wines…I have yet to be convinced) So what the hell is this? I hear you ask , and rightly so. Well, let’s see if I can explain;
As the title suggests I have a small history of beers tasted over 5 or so years and over that time have had the fortune to touch upon some excellent Craft Beer scenes in places around the world, like Vancouver (unbelievable!) , Seoul, Osaka and Denver. My current locale is Wellington, New Zealand, the Craft Beer Capitalof the country and possibly the windiest city on the world. I also play the bagpipes – the significance of my passion for this instrument and the production of this blog will become evident here and over time.
But, I also love eating and cooking! I cant really narrow that down to be fair, but I have just recently started curing and smoking my own bacon which I am ludicrously excited about. So lets just say there might be a bit of that thrown in too. A night of crafties and a dozen Salt & Pepper Chicken wings and you are on the way in to my heart…..a heart which could do with a few less of those delicious, fried nuggets of gold it must be said. At this point I would like to thank Jetts Fitness for ensuring that this blog can even begin.
I have been known to dabble in a spot of home brew so I do kind of, but not really know what I am talking about, sometimes. I still have to look lots of things up! Is it the bittering hop that goes in first, or is that mainly the flavour one? Damn it! I’m very much an amateur
Anyway, the few wee ales that have been turfed out have been pretty good. Sure, they are littered with basic errors, look like they could clean a drain and sometimes look like said effluent from said cleaned drain but hey, you can drink ’em!! None have been spit out bad and indeed one variation of an Amber Ale was quite exceptional, but due to my sincere inability to keep records, will likely never be repeated.
My poor record keeping is just one reason why this blog began, but enough with that. I am rambling already. Let us start at the beginning and I shall be as brief as possible:
It was roughly ten years ago, I was at work in Lambton Quay and a young software developer at our firm by the name of Dan Lord, yes, the very same…suggested a beer tasting evening as a social event one night. Sounded like good craic, so I went.
It literally changed my life.
I had no exposure to the world of a craft beer at this point. Here we had 21 beers to sample our way through and strict instructions on scoring each beer, not just one big score out of ten either, but for different categories!! What the hell was going on here?? What in the bloody name of hell was mouthfeel?? And there was not one beer I had remotely heard . (other than Macs Gold, in there as a control for the tastings I am sure)
Anyway, it was a magical evening – 21 beers can do that I suppose. And it was much like our beer tasting nights continue to be in 2019, the 21st beer being a lot like beer number 13. However, I do remember excitedly heading home with a head full of this amazing world of wonder, a world of flavour, of complexity, of the finest balance between Malt and Hop that was just waiting to be explored. I’m also fairly certain the original scoring sheet is still tucked away somewhere at the back of a cupboard, a hazy memory telling me one of the ‘La Chouffe’ beers came out on top, or perhaps it just had the most memorable label at the time.
This is where my love for a crafty was born. Now enter a love for travel and the mighty Untappd!
I then got introduced to something called Beervana (Remember when it was at the Michael Fowler Centre, ah such bliss) and then a few smartphones later I was on a mammoth overseas trip taking in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Laos, beforehand deciding that trying to search out some decent beers would be a reasonable idea. Knowing that it had opened up explorations of lil ol Noo Zeelund, I hoped that this might also take me off the beaten track a bit in amongst the usual touristy nonsense. So, after getting exceptionally giddy over the prospects for upcoming excellence in this Singapore Bar a few days prior, a ‘loose end’ was found after reaching closing time at the excellent Edo-Tokyo Museum.
A perfect opportunity to see if there was any decent bars close by. “Craft beer near me” was input to Google Maps, and less than 100 metres away was The Popeye Beer Club, only one of the most renowned beer bars in the city. I won’t dwell too long on this as I’m sure you get the point – but it was a glorious twist of fate.
Onto Osaka and ‘blown away’ is an understatement. The entire visit here was essentially planned around what bars might be good and it was a gold mine. The last night the discovery of the now sadly closed, KOPTA was discovered. This bar and night is possibly still my favourite travel experience of all time. The bar was basically someones kitchen, 8 or so seats around the centre table, appliances, cooking stove, fridges, taps all around and zero English on the menus. What can you do but boldly crack on, nod at the few curious locals and make the worldwide signal for “IPA”, which it turns out is just basically mouthing the letters IPA very slowly and hoping someone understands.
After feeling like the proverbial duck out of water plans were afoot to head off, however a conversation was soon struck with a friendly gentleman who simply loved NZ. A laugh was had and a pub crawl ensued. It was awesome! Needless to say the favour was repaid when he visited Wellington a few years later.
That was the moment that Craft Beer became the “Thing to Do”, rather than the number 1 tourist trap on Trip Advisor. It made it all the more exciting to go and see the big needle in Seoul knowing that a selection of bars selling decent beers with (hopefully) like minded people were close by. Go see ‘a thing’ then go and sink some excellent ales. If this approach had been utilised when booking then the smoke filled hovel “close to some things” in Seoul would have been avoided, and rather hitting up the area close to “Made in Pong Dang” , a little brewery that had only just opened would have been locked in.
It was on this trip that I really started embracing Untappd. Well, more accurately it was after this trip that I realised that I should have been documenting ALL OF MY BEERS AND LOCATIONS! I have certainly tried my best since then and have since registered the magical 1000+ unique check-ins…is that a lot?? Seems reasonable.
Now we come to Bagpipes, everybody’s favourite instrument! I play them professionally and have done for over 30 years. I have essentially circumnavigated the globe playing this instrument. And the pipe band world love a drink! Refer below scene from the Sunday after the World Pipe Band Championships 2018
Most recently this “hobby” of mine has taken over to Vancouver, BC as I play for this mob called Simon Fraser University Pipe Band.
Let it be known that having one of the greatest craft beer scenes in the world played only a small part in my decision to continue to spend a small fortune year on year to go play with this band. Spending nearly the entire summer over there leaves one with a bit of downtime for exploration…and explore I have. Vancouver is immense! It’s basically heaven for me but this story will be told in time.
It was then, this week, the 3rd week of 2019, that I was told in no uncertain terms to start writing about this sort of stuff ffs! I travel a lot, I love eating local, I’m occasionally witty and I love craft beer. I am also shocking at keeping records of things so maybe what you have read today is all that this blog will kind of maybe be about, if only to help me get better at recording memories! It is certainly going to be fluid…boom, and there it is, pun very much intended. Drop mic..
Does any of this make me qualified to run a beer blog?….probably not, I still really dont know my Goses from my Lambics, but i’ll try ’em and i’ll drink em again if I like it! And I am sure you will soon get used to my inane ramblings and excitable posts as I look forward to hitting beer number 1500.