The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Last night I sat down and drank a glass of my very own home-brewed IPA (India Pale Ale). It wasn’t my finest work (I’d rate it alongside/just under Tui in palatability) but it was mine, I made it and I enjoyed making it.

I’ve made better beer. In fact I’ve even made one that I thought decent enough to inflict upon people other than close friends. I entered said beer in the Home Brew Comp at Beervana, which kicks off this Friday (22 August). Now I doubt it’s a winning beer that’s going to blow the judges minds BUT it’s a pretty damn tasty Oat Stout!

I like a lot of things about beer. Brewing it, learning about it, the variation in ingredients, the stories behind specific beer origins and of course tasting it. I can get involved with all of these things in one way or another over the two days that Beervana runs and this is why I love it so.

Homer Simpson dreaming of himself prancing around a tanker spouting beer like a fountain

I appreciate the sentiment but abhor the wastage of beer.

Beervana is now into its 13th year and this year is set to be its best and biggest yet!


  • the New Zealand meeting of the Pink Boots Society, who are an awesome organisation who are “Empowering women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education”;
  • three award winning brewers flying out from ‘Big Wellington’ otherwise know as Portland as part of the inaugural “Beervana Exchange
  • the media brew competition is sure to be grand with 19 brewers teamed up with beer-loving journalists to make a Spring themed beer which can contain any yeast, any liquid, any grain and any hops but must also contain one intrinsically or native New Zealand ingredient.
  • a new Beervana App where you can log and rate the beers you sample during your session at Westpac Stadium
Screengrab of Beervana App lo

Be warned: You may encounter spam as a result of installing this app

  • two live recordings of the Beer Diary Podcast on Friday and Saturday evening
  • 4 home brewing masterclass sessions with NZ brewers
  • A ridiculous number of cool beer and food matching sessions
  • and let’s not forget the 60+ breweries and 250+ beers that will be on show.

There is far too much on offer to possibly hope to experience it all, never mind the fact that you’d be spending over $600 on tasting every beer and your liver would murder you in your sleep if you put it through such torture.


With so much on offer you are practically guaranteed a great time. You’ll have the opportunity to taste fantastic beers from NZ, Australia, UK & America and apply the Buffalo Theory as you wander about  expanding your knowledge on all things good about beer.


And not as a result of the Cooking with Ice: Liquid Nitrogen demo.

Yes this middle of the night post is a direct result of WOAP weekend eyes-bigger-than-stomach issues.  I somehow managed to have three events this first weekend, and to squeeze in a burger as well (plus observe others squeezing in more).

So to the burgers first since you can still get your choppers around those:

  • The Ti Kouka Double Beef Burger –  a beef double-down with buns (unlike the Duke Carvell’s Double Down pure a’la’KFC being tackled by a work colleague – report to come).  TK’s rated as very very good, with Shep’s usual touch of magic.
  • Burger JimmyThe Jimmy’s Bee Piggy (pictured) – delicious on all fronts and not too meaty for the non-double-downers. Also very very good, other than the boring shoestring fries (and kinda cool among the theatre ambience).
  • The Spruce Goose’s Bait and Tarragon – the burger version of a whitebait sandwich.  Rated as good with impressive doorstop fries.

And to the events:

  • Friday evening’s Butcher, Baker and Candlestick Maker – a classy evening market among the BMW’s of Boomrock’s suppliers (Mojo, Bordeaux, Zany Zeus, Olivo, Ora King Salmon presented several delicious ways by guest chef Glen Taylor of Taylors on Jackson, Harringtons, Tuatara, Carello del Gelato, to name just a few).  A good reminder of the importance of suppliers and the wonderful ones we have locally.
  • Nitro cookingSaturday evening’s Cooking with Ice: Liquid Nitrogen demo – The most fun ever in a kitchen.  Lots of smoke, bubbling liquids, OMG stories and even some hands on creating. The swan song being a tiramisu showcasing all the techniques from the evening.  And these folks are Wellington-based with more events in the planning (keep your ear out for something at the Malaghan Institute or contact Caitlin at Caitlin Le Harivel).
  • Sunday evening’s Hannahs Laneway Banquet – simply stunning.  Setting, decoration, food, ambience, logistical coordination, smoothness of delivery, weather.  The four ‘courses’ were really four series of dishes, hence the exploding stomachs (Laneway donut treesorry K, I just have to show the donut tree finale!), collaborated by the wonderful artisans from the lane (Leed Street Bakery with the TK folks’ magic touch again, Wellington Chocolate Factory, Pomodoro Pizza, Goldings Dive Bar, Wellington Chocolate Factory, Fix and Fogg peanut butter, Six Barrel Soda, Red Rabbit Roastery, and the Catering Studio soon-to-be-the-new-Egmont-Street-Eatery behind WCF – check out progress here).  And again, keep your ear to the ground as there were whispers circulating about a summer re-run…

Bring on the rest of week one.


What you put on the plate is up to you…

Wellington on a Plate starts today, hurray! You will no doubt be hearing more from us on this subject, so let’s kick off our coverage with an event that caters to every palate and every dietary requirement. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?

Wellington Plates is an exhibition of ceramic tableware served up as hot mains by 12 potters (including my mum), complimented by a side of delectable paintings and 2D work by home grown artists. Works are for sale, so you can step up your plating game at home.

The exhibition opens tomorrow (Saturday August 16) and runs until Tuesday August 26, on the first floor of the Saint James Theatre.

Stop by sometime and make your dining table more interesting.

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It’s true i get excited by books, and every year i get excited by the Annual DCM Bookfair,  which lucky for my excitement meter (which dipped a bit post film festival) is on this weekend. At The DCM Bookfair you’ll find over 90,000 books Books, Magazine, Comics, Graphic Novels,  jigsaw-puzzles, games, DVDs, CDs, Vinyl Records, Stamps ….

TSB Bank Arena, Queen’s Wharf,

Saturday August 16th from 9am till 4pm
Sunday August 16th from 9am till 4pm

DCM Bookfair 2014 - Poster

The great thing about shopping at DCM Bookfair is that you shop, you spend money and ALL that money go directly into help the most vulnerable people in out City.

Each week DCM works with some 150 people, supporting them to make dramatic changes in their lives. Most of these meet the New Zealand definition of homelessness or are at risk of homelessness, so DCM works with them to find housing, access their correct benefit entitlements, manage their money, and connect with family and a range of
health and other services.

So when you buy a book, or in my case many books you are making a difference in the world, making our city a better place. When you buy something at DCM Bookfair you are helping them reach their longterm goal in ending homelessness in our city.

Not into books and things? Well you can still support DCM, either by donating to the food bank, or maybe think about making a cash donation. You can do so online at givealittle.


More posts…

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Let There Be Light

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Review: A view from the bridge

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Eddie and his wife Beatrice live with Beatrice’s dead-sister’s daughter, Catherine in Brooklyn, New York. Beatrice’s two cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, are coming into the country (illegally) to stay with them in order to earn money to send back to Italy.  Catherine and Rodolpho get on really well. Eddie is suspicious of Rodolpho’s motives. Is he […]

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Hats off…

by Heather C July 16, 2014

To Logan Brown (2 hats), Ortega Fish Shack, The Larder, Charley Noble and Taylors on Jackson (1 hat each) – Logan Brown being the only non-Auckland restaurant to be awarded 2 hats in 2014 (rating alongside Baduzzi and The Grill by Sean Connolly, and just one point below Masu and Kazuya). Well done Wellington! Now what’s […]

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New Zealand International Film Festival 2014

by Sue Tyler July 14, 2014

It’s less than 2 weeks till The Wellington round of the New Zealand International Film Festival Typical Wellington behaviour at this time often includes – Courtenay Place place being full during daylight hours – people taking no lunch breaks to allow for an extra long lunch break to catch a film – taking a day off work […]

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Something wonderful at The Dowse

by Sue Tyler July 9, 2014

Emma from Emma Makes kindly visited and revisited  - Wunderrūma: New Zealand Jewellery  exhibition at The Dowse  for us. Each time I return to Wunderrūma: New Zealand Jewellery I find something new I want to own. It began at the opening with Emily Valentine’s Kingfisher Brooch (2013). “Is that a bird?” said the friend I was […]

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