Beervana kicks off on Friday with four sessions over two days and there’s a LOT of beer related activities on before then. The Road to Beervana began on Sunday and there are events taking place in bars all over the city and even further afield in Auckland and Christchurch.

I’m not going to attempt to tell you about everything that’s on offer and I’ll assume you will use both the Beervana and Road to Beervana websites to find all the info you need to have a quality beer filled week. What I will do is give you my picks and tips on what to do, try and see.

Today/Wednesday 10th August

Vicky from House of Dumplings will be serving up fresh hot dumplings and pairing them up with the brews of Black Dog at 19 Blair Street. You’ll get to drink the beer at its source as part of Doghouse Dumplings from 5-9pm.

If you head along to Little Beer Quarter (6 Edward Street) OR Crumpet (109 Manners Street) from 3pm for A little Bit of Crumpet you’ll get to try a variant of 8 Wired’s Hippy Berliner with crumpets to complement the brew.

And if you’re more interested in the things that aren’t in the centre of the city head to One Fat Bird (162 Karori Road) for a Wellington Beer first: a British Craft Beer Tap Takeover. You’ll even be able to talk to an ex-brewer from Brewdog (makers of Tactical Nuclear Penguin – the strongest beer in the world)

Thursday 11th August

Everyone knows that craft beer isn’t cheap swill. BUT if you finish up work and head along to Library (53 Courtenay Place) at 6pm for Cheers to Cheese you can try North End Brewery beers and cheese from around New Zealand for free!

ParrotDog have teamed up with Adelaide brewers Pirate Life and the team at Serial Grillers to put on PirateDog a pop-up bar and burger joint in what will eventually be ParrotDog’s ‘old’ brewery at 29 Vivian Street as they kick off their Equity Crowdfunding campaign today so they can open a bigger and better brewery and bar in Lyall Bay.

If it’s not the drinking specifically that appeals then perhaps The Great Beer Debate at 6:30pm at BATS Theatre (1 Kent Terrace) is more your cup of tea. The international panel will be discussing the importance and relevance of who owns the brewery and who controls the supply. It’s sure to be a blast with Megan Whelan and Phil Cook hosting, two passionately well-spoken, beer loving folk.

Beer is a serious business, worthy of protest and debate!

Friday and Saturday – The Main Event: Beervana (Tickets)

With around 60 bars and 300 beers it’s an overwhelming prospect working out how get the most out of your entry fee.

My recommendations for Beervana:

  • Work out a plan before heading to the stadium. Do you want to taste particular styles, or particular breweries? Perhaps you want to look at the map and work out a plan with a high number of beers in relation to steps taken – Beervana has taken over the entire stadium!
  • Get a preloaded wristband so that you can avoid the queues and have a beer in hand while others are still lining up to load $$ onto their bands.
  • Try something new! There’s so much new beer available it’d be foolish to try beers you can have any old time. You may even find a new favourite that you’ll be able to have in the comfort of your own home at a later date!
  • Drink lots of water. While the servings are small it’s worth remembering that you can be trying a LOT of beer in a five hour session
  • Most important of all: BE NICE! If you’re nice to the volunteer staff and your fellow beer drinking pals, they’ll be nice to you, there’ll be smiles and everyone will have a great time.

Exciting Beervana Events/Spots:

“The Think Tank” (aisle 28) – a 20 tap, specialty bar that is this year dedicated to showcase sour beers. While sours aren’t for everyone they are certainly on the up – there’s more sour beers than ciders this year – so it’s worth giving one a try!

United Colours of IPA (aisle 11) – women like and brew beer! Revolutionary idea, I know! Every beer available here is an IPA of some description and has been specially brewed for Beervana by some of the wonderful women we have working in the beer industry. 

Free walking tours (the guide, not the beer) are a GREAT way to get around the stadium, try a bunch and learn a lot! My two picks are:

The Basics (aisle 32 @ 14:30pm/21:30pm depending on your session)

‘Really new to beer, or thinking about starting home brewing yourself? We’ll talk you through the basics – hops, malt, yeast and water – demonstrate how the process works and sample some beer which show off why each element is important.’

The Visitors ( aisle 23 @ 11:30am/18:30pm depending on your session)

‘If you’ve only ever sampled the delights of the New Zealand beer scene, expand your palate as we check out who’s come from overseas. What’s going on over in Oregon, and why is it fast becoming beer paradise? We’ll stop buy some of the stands from over the ditch, and find out what their beer industry is doing different from ours, and compare some brews.’

Sunday 14th August

As the Road to Beervana has been traversed it’s time for the Road to Recovery. Head along to Bebemos (88 Riddiford Street) in Newtown and try some Pale Ale shandies, an all day breakfast menu AND the music will be playing at a reasonable, Sunday morning level.

Go forth, imbibe, take care of those around you and have a wonderful time!