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August 24, 2010 | by  | in Online Only Opinion | [ssba]

How to get the best from Beervana

The biggest event on New Zealand’s beer calendar hits the capital this weekend—Beervana. Following the annual BeerNZ awards on Thursday night, Beervana is a showcase of the majority of New Zealand’s breweries and beers—the good, the bad, and the ugly. And while there’s plenty of choice, there are far too many beers on offer to have a crack at all of them.

There will be over 150 different beers on offer from at least 45 breweries, and not just limited to New Zealand’s own.

But with each session lasting only 4 hours, it’s probably best to approach Beervana with a strategy in mind.

Dave’s strategy: Beervana is the best opportunity of the year to try many brews which are otherwise unavailable in Wellington. As soon as I enter the venue, I scout out every stand and check out which beers are on offer. From there, I head to the more limited releases first—in case they run out. Following that, I like to visit the stands from micro breweries which are rarely seen in Wellington (Brew Moon, Arrow Brewing Co, Twisted Hop), and sample as many different styles as possible. To finish off the session, I seek out the bigger, hoppier brews. Imperial IPA’s with tongue-numbing bitterness are my favourite way to end an afternoon or evening of intense beer-ing.

Denise’s strategy: It’s always better to start with the lighter brews on offer—there’s no point in confusing your palate by downing some delicious, but heavy and sticky, imperial stouts and barley wines. Save those ones until last. To maximise your Beervana experience, order half tastings—it’ll mean you get to sample twice as many beers in the same time.

Water is your friend at this event. Kindly ask the stallholders to rinse your glass with water before each new beer, or fill your sample glass from a water stand and down it to refresh your palate (and help stave off a headache the next day).

Don’t be afraid to ask the brewers questions. They’re usually all too willing to brag about their beers, and you can never know too much about what you’re drinking.

Not to be missed:
– 8wired’s smoked kumara porter—only 50 litres made.
– Yeastie Boys’ stall—handpulled Punkadiddle, ‘nuff said.
– Emerson’s stall—last year’s champion brewery, and always has something special on offer.
– The education seminars—ranging from Beer and Cheese to Beer and Women.
– Hashigo Zake’s stall—a handsome column writer will be manning the stall during selected sessions.

The most important thing to remember is that Beervana runs on a cash-only basis, so hit up an ATM before you get in the door. No money, no beer!

Tickets are $30 from Ticketek including a glass and a free sample. Sessions run 12-4pm and 5-9pm this Friday and Saturday at the Wellington Town Hall.

See you there.

For a guide to Beervana that didn’t have to stick to a word limit check out this.

If you have any questions or comments about this week’s beers, you can email us at or


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