I think that despite our beer tastes becoming more sophisticated, in New Zealand we still expect a high pissed-ness to dollar ratio. One result is that certain styles of craft beer end up being much stronger here than they ever were traditionally. Not helping in this regard is that we probably pay about a 1/3+ more for a pint of decent beer in NZ than you would in central London.
The high cost of good beer in NZ was what drove me to (or rather back to) home brewing. I had dabbled in it as a student back in the late 1980s but the results of my kit-and-kilo brewing ranged from crap to unremarkable. Returning to the craft two decades on armed with the internet, higher quality ingredients and access to well-stocked home-brew shops, I was surprised to find how easy it was to produce a damn fine pint for a fraction of the cost one would pay at an on / off license.
I really admire the work that some commercial craft brewers are doing, but the price we have to pay in this country for a good quality pint of beer once everyone has taken their cut can be eye-watering. Beervana appears to be in the same club; $45 a ticket to attend a five-hour session and the beer is $6 - $8 per 250mls glass on top of that. Those sorts of prices may be being used by organisers as some sort of anti-munter mechanism, but Dramfest costs only $59 per session with over 250 single malts and blends to try at no additional cost.
so I can use my own honey from my own honey bees as the sugar
You have to be careful when using honey in brews; too much and it can taste pretty horrible. I learnt my lesson in this regard when I made a true ginger ale (i.e. an ale using root ginger instead hops) and used far more honey than the recipe called for (it's honey so it's got to taste good right?). The problem is once the yeast has gobbled up all the sugar in the honey, what's left can make the brew quite sour. You just have to use it in moderation.
I can’t say I’ve ever had a lager I’d call “nice” (although some are good for lagers). Like a good pilsener, though. And stout.
Lagers are funny things for the home brewer. For what is probably the most popular style of beer in the world and which lacks much in the way of taste (decently hopped Pilseners exempted) they are actually quite difficult to make well. Also, for a style of beer best drunk in hot weather, you can only really make them in winter (unless you have a way of chilling down your fermenter) and then you have to "lager" it for weeks on end (conditioning at a low temperature of around 4 - 6 c) before bottling / kegging.
Stouts on the other hand are great for the home-brewer; you can use just one hop and simply boil the hell out of it without having to worry about the timing of additions. Here's a great Chocolate Milk Stout recipe if anyone wants to try it. It's a partial-mash so is a good first step for those who want to move up from "kit and a kilo" brewing but not as complicated as doing a full-mash.
Chocolate Milk Stout
1 x 1.7kg tin Black Rock dark liquid malt extract
1 x 1.7kg tin Black Rock light liquid malt extract
100g good quality Dutch cocoa powder
200g of Black Patent grain crushed
250g of English Chocolate grain crushed
70 grams of Fuggles hops
1 packet good quality English ale yeast (e.g. Safale S-04)
Any decent home-brew shop should have all of this.
1) Heat 10 litres of water in a 15 litre stock-pot to 70 c degrees. Add the crushed patent and chocolate malt grains in a grain bag or muslin. Hold the 70c temperature for 25 minutes.
2) Remove the grain bag and bring the pot to a boil.
3) When boiling, add the 70 grams fuggles hops, malt extracts and lactose. Boil for 90 minutes. Apologize to your other-half for the smell enveloping the house.
4) Add the cocoa powder 10 minutes before the end of the boil.
5) At the end of 90 minutes cool the pot in an bath of water. Pour into sanitised fermenter and top up with cold water to 23 L.
7) When temperature is down to c.20 c, sprinkle over yeast and ferment at 18 - 20c for as long as it takes (normally about 7 - 10 days or so)
8) Bottle or keg as usual when the specific gravity has been stable for 48 hours.
OK to drink after a couple of weeks in the bottle but longer is better.
That will give you 23 litres of damn fine stout for about $50 worth of ingredients
If you have some basic D.I.Y skills and have half-decent access to your roof cavity and basement, you can still save hundreds of dollars installing your own insulation. I did both our ceiling and underfloor and calculated I saved over $1000 (even with the EECA subsidy taken into account) for what was a couple of weekends of work. It also means that you can choose the insulation type that suits you best rather than whatever system an particular professional installer is tied to (which for them tends to be a cover-everything blanket / wrap type system as they are the fastest to install using largely unskilled labor). For instance I installed "GreenStuf" between joists underfloor rather than a wrap system as wraps can make access to plumbing and wiring a complete PITA if you need to get to them.
Here’s a listing in the Listener for the very first screening of the first episode in NZ;
Friday 30th August 1985 on TV One followed by a five-minute news catch-up and then Gary McCormick hosting “12 O’Clock Rock” (which IIRC was generally pretty crap). Though I have a lot of respect for Rik Mayall’s subsequent work, nothing quite captured the Zeitgeist as much as The Young Ones did; it was the perfect show for the times.
I also have Rick to thank for introducing me as a teenager to Trotsky who I had never heard of until then. It sent me first to Encyclopedia Britannica and then to the history books to find out more (but I knew enough about 1930’s history to find Alexei Sayle’s Mussolini impersonations hilarious).
Sean Plunket gave over virtually his entire show on Radio Live this morning to the passing of Mayall; it made for a great nostalgic radio show.
I was worried about her voice, but it’s definitely back in good shape.
The Daily Telegraph’s reviewer called her Shepherd’s Bush Empire show the night before “mesmerising” and compared her to a young Kate Bush.
The Independent went for “malignantly powerful”
Meanwhile, back in little old N'zild, Stuff seize upon a mildly negative review from the Guardian and use it to splash "**Board by Lorde**; 'A little monotonous'" as the main feature on the front page of their website. She is obviously getting far too big for her boots for New Zealand's biggest news website who feel it's time for them to get out the great Kiwi clobbering machine and cut that tall poppy down to size.
Just to note a missing decimal point in an otherwise moving and poignant reply from Hebe; the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra was allocated $1.25 million from the recovery fund, not $125 million.
Excellent feature on this very subject on yesterday's Media Watch programme from RNZ
My favorite “Indian” while living in London was this great vegetarian place. We frequented it often in part because of the all-you-can-eat Sunday buffets (which I note now cost a very modest £6.95 which is only a couple of quid more than it was 20 years ago). Also I tended to hang with Brits rather than Kiwis and just about every young (aged say 18 – 25) middle-class English woman I knew was vegetarian (though in many cases the healthy element of the diet seemed to be countered by the constant consumption of mars-bars and jaffa cakes...)
Those memories also have reminded me of this wonderful satire of English curry culture. An oldie but a goodie…
Here's another Monks track that caught my interest from the West German TV pop show "Beat Beat Beat" in 1966 . It's not so much the music but the introduction by the show's host as he effortlessly jumps between English and German (probably to cater for the large number of allied troops stationed in West Germany at the time). I do have another language up my sleeve (Hungarian) but I'm still envious at the ease at which Germans seem to be able to pick up multiple languages (the Dutch are a similar).
German TV pop shows playing music which goes out on a limb seems to be as old as television broadcasting itself. Here are The Monks from 1965. They were a group of American GI's based in Germany who got together to form a band and then stayed on in after they were discharged and developed a bit of a cult following in that country. I can't imagine that they would have produced this kind of music or had much of a following had they returned to the United States which speaks volumes about the openness to experimentation that was prevalent in Germany at the time. A big influence on The White Stripes apparently...