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March 3, 2008 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Beer Nemeses

Beer is a noble and ancient beverage but that does not mean all pints are created equal.

For every heart-renderingly hoppy glass of Epic Pale Ale there is a tequila-infused, sour lemon abomination like Desperados lager. Each time I sup on an organic-but-still-tastes-great Emerson’s Pilsner there are probably six people in Aro Valley drinking Viking Lager which would be better used to clean their flats.

Despite being a lovable sort of chap, over the years I have accumulated a few Beer Nemeses (or “Enemies” for the commerce students reading). These are beers or bars which, through no fault of my own, seem to constantly vex me.

My first real Beer Nemesis was the lamentable range of Fruit Hopper beers. Many gentle readers will be too young to recall these beers (at least legally), but they were generic lagers mixed with what tasted very much like different flavours of Raro and then over-carbonated in a Soda Stream machine. Shortly after a press release went out extolling their strong sales, they were quietly taken off the market and possibly re-released as Lift Plus.

I thought that would be the end of it. However, last year there appeared the infamous range of MASH beers. Unsurprisingly, I was not enamoured with industrial grade lager mixed with caffeine, guarana, Food Acid 330 and flavourings. Thankfully, MASH was taken out the back and quietly shot. There was little lamenting.

There is one Nemesis that seems indestructible – Ginger Tom, from the otherwise excellent Dux de Lux in Christchurch. The Dux is the only bar in the world which makes me hop in a taxi and say “take me to the Arts Centre”. The Dux makes one of my favourite beers ever, the peerless Nor’wester Pale Ale. Somehow though, Ginger Tom spews forth from this same source. I can not even stand the smell of it. Honestly, I would rather be locked in the smallest tutorial room with the VUWSA President’s aromatic hat than sniff Ginger Tom. Worse, they have now bottled Ginger Tom so it can stalk me in Wellington.

A Beer Nemesis does not have to be a beer though. Arizona Bar gives me magical superpowers. If there are more than two people waiting at the bar, I become totally invisible to the staff. Standing forlornly while all around me are served demonstrates that some superpowers have a downside.

There is one Nemesis I never seem to elude. It is bigger, faster and meaner than all the others combined. It’s my bar tab.


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