I stayed in Sydney the night before I went to the NZ Beervana festival in Wellington last weekend. I went out to the Rum Diaries in Bondi and had rum or two, not beer related perhaps but close enough
I had a glass of the best rum I have ever had which was a Captain Morgan Special Stock, this was the smoothest and silkiest drink with a very long lasting caramel or vanilla taste with strong chocolate flavours. The bouquet alone was worth the money, I have had a couple of rums in my time but I never knew one could taste like that. There where a couple of others I tried but I can’t recall the names, which came from various parts of South America but the other standout was a Cruzan 151 which was the strongest fieriest rum I have had.
I had a good time in Wellington and enjoyed quite a few beers I have never seen before – Both NZ beers as well as some European and American beers
Not only that but there are a decent pubs and in particular the Malt House which has to be one of the best I have been to. This pub featured a lot of the festival beers on tap among others, also the staff where terrific – very friendly and knowledgeable about their stock – one of the best pubs I have been in for a while and it gave the Moon and Sixpence in Perth and the Taphouse in Sydney a nudge.

The festival itself provided my with a few issues though I saw the ad for this in the Beer and Brewer magazine bought tickets online and researched it as far as possible on their site
I found on entering that every beer was to be charged for so it ran into quite an expense- it would have been nice if there had been a few drinks tokens on entering like other festivals I have been to do
You where given a tasting glass at the door – I went to the afternoon session on Friday and the evening session on Saturday and the glass I got on Friday was a 250ml glass on the Saturday a 200ml one. Now, far be it from me to say that was a bit dodgy seeing as the beers where charged at between three and five dollars for a full glass and between two to three dollars for what they called a tasting which was about half a glass. I think the Saturday session was a bit of a thin deal though
Occasionally you could talk them into a small amount for nothing though a couple of them wanted a dollar for what amounted to a squirt in the bottom of the glass – hardly enough to be called a taste and more often than not all froth
Not only that, it seemed that a lot of the stalls where caught un-prepared as some had no tasting notes, no information on their breweries and some never even had business cards
So I take the view – if they couldn’t be bothered – then I am not going to try and do their promotions for them. It wasn’t all a dead loss – once in then there where plenty of beers to try – some quite interesting and probably unlikely to be available here
I met the Beer and Brewer Boss there and had a bit of a natter. If I had some information earlier I could have planned better and gone to some of the talks.
I will have to be more alert next time I go to something like this

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