Beer writing, 1993 style

By BeertownNZ Tue, 01 Dec 2015 National

Here’s one I prepared earlier:

Real ale in Porirua

This article was published in November 1993 in City Voice, a now-defunct community newspaper from Wellington.  

I worked for City Voice, first as an intern during journo school, then as a journalist and subeditor. This article, on Porirua brewery Anchor, was my firstest ever piece of beer writing. It's so old I didn't have a copy, and it took me a couple of hours in the National Library to uncover this piece of history.

Some points to note:

  • Jameson says Anchor started brewing in 1985, which would place it right back in deepest darkest prehistory for independent brewing in New Zealand. Terry McCashin famously broke the brewing duopoly in 1981 at Mac’s. Mike's, our oldest craft brewery still in operation today, wasn’t established until 1989.
  • There were five "mini-breweries" in Wellington, and dummy didn't name them in his article, did he. I wish I had...
  • This is probably where I first learnt about different yeast types, their effect on the beer, and lager vs ales.
  • Adding sugar to beer “contributes to diabetes, hyperactivity and violence”.
  • Blotto Beer – “full bodied, very strong, demanding patience and respect” – was 8% alcohol. I seem to remember everything Anchor made was brewed to about 8%, and most were then cut back to 4%. Blotto was simply the full-strength version of Eureka.
  • Could you call a beer 'Blotto’ today?
  • Jameson left Anchor and New Zealand shortly after this article was published. He was an inventive eccentric and was convinced he had discovered a cure for AIDS. He closed Anchor to move to Switzerland and raise capital from pharmaceutical companies to develop his cure. I haven’t heard of him since.
  • Finally, and in my defence, beer writing has got a lot better since 1993. And so has craft brewing. We’ve all learnt a lot and learned it together.
By BeertownNZ Tue, 01 Dec 2015 National