BEERVANA 2010 – A Beginners Guide

, posted: 5-Aug-2010 09:55

Beervana is the one time of the year that you can visit a single location in New Zealand and try the largest range of New Zealand brewed beers in one place. On offer there will be over 160 different beers from all around the country.

The benefits of this are you get the freshest beer from nearly every brewery in NZ, you get to discover many small breweries you may not have heard of and even less likely to visit them in their remote, far away locations.

You also get to meet the people that made the beers. Pretty much every stand has the actual brewer there, so you have a chance to meet them and find out the interesting stories behind the beers and the brewer and what drives and inspires them.

There is a downside. You can’t physically get around to every stand and try every beer on offer. So as a professional in this area of sampling beer, I will outline some strategies so you can make the most of your visit to Beervana.

Dates: Friday 27th & Saturday 28th August 2010
Sessions: There are four sessions, two each day. 12-4pm & 5-9pm
Beers: 160+
Breweries: 35+
Price: $30 (includes, glass & one free beer)
- (bring cash with you for additional beers, miss the queues at the cash machine)
- (pricing per sample vary by brewery and alcohol strength)
- (gold coins will speed transaction time)
Samples: Full taste 200ml & ½ sample 100ml

Depending on how much you like crowds and how long you want to talk to your favorite brewers then the session time is important. (This might not be relevant if all sessions sell out) Generally the afternoon sessions are more relax and less of the festive & celebrator mood the evening sessions have, therefore if you are interested in engaging in conversation with brewers the afternoon is best.

If you are there to taste as many different new beers as you can (as you should be because this isn’t really the place to be if you are just coming to drink your favorite beer brand you drink every day), then you would be best advised to just go for the half serve size. This means you will be able to try nearly twice as many different beers. In a session it would be reasonable to budget on being able to try possibly up to 30 x 100ml tastes.

4 hours x 60 minutes = 240 minutes
30 x 100ml = 3000ml or 3 litres (that is actually a lot of beer)
240 minutes / 30 samples = 1 sample per 8 minutes

You have 4 hours in a session to check out a huge number of beers, more beers than is physically able to be served to you in this amount of time. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TRY THEM ALL (160+ different beers)

Some might think that 30 samples in 4 hours isn’t many but you need to factor in the delays at the popular stands (oh yeah, they will all be popular, its beer), plus you will want to spend some time with friends socializing and discussing the beers that you are trying.

Since you are probably only going to be able to taste 30 out of 160 beers you are going to want to think about how to do this in a way that isn’t random, and has you trying beers you don’t like that much.

BY STYLE – this is possibly a good way to do it if you have a favorite beer style or two. Example, head to every brewery and just try there IPA’s, this way you can see if there are other breweries making your favorite style of beer. You might find some new favorite beers.

BY BREWERY – pick out some breweries that you will try all their beers. This could be done by breweries “you are never likely to visit (geographically)” OR “you have never heard or tried their beers before”

BY AWARDS – on Thursday evening 26th August the BrewNZ Beer Awards results are announced, so that you will then be able to take the results and walk around the venue and try all the trophy winning beers. Many of the award winning brewers will display there trophies on there stands.

BY FESTIVE BREW – every year for the BrewNZ Beer Awards there is a category for brewers to make a new beer for the first time, and made to a theme. 2010 the theme is “Let’s Go Native”. Many of these beers will only ever be available at Beervana and the few days following this event.

You can learn about beer beyond just tasting it. There are multiple seminars each session talking about beer and food, and cheese, and chocolate and even sensory evaluation. There are a range of experts presenting, you have a chance to taste beer and food together, as well as heard about the fascinating world of beer, including a special guest speaker Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head Brewery in the US.

- pick a session
- go for the half sample
- have a strategy (brewery, style, award winners, festive brew)
- bring cash, preferable gold coins, for fast transactions

The bottom line though, this is a chance for you to try beers you haven’t tried, a chance to learn from the people that make it and have a good time with your friends while learning the diversity of styles and flavours that beer has.

Want to stay up with what is going on follow @BeervanaNZ on Twitter, and become friends on Facebook.

Luke Nicholas

(Luke is owner/brewer of Epic Brewing Company, owner/webmaster of as well as international beer judge at the World Beer Cup. Having attending many beer festivals, including Beervana Luke realized may people missed out on optimizing their experience due to not enough information.)

Other related posts:
Orcon + Epic = Free Beer (This Thursday 6pm)
Internet + Beer = Awesome
The Malthouse Epic Tap Takeover

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