The Beer Diary Podcast











November 2022
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On the 14th anniversary of the first entry in the original Beer Diary, George and I present a "holiday special" of sorts — a look back on what's changed, and what hasn't, since we last talked and since we first talked. We cover a little of the long arc of news, entry and exit from the subculture of beer (or anything else), the ageing of beer and of ourselves, and keeping things in balance in a peculiar world.

Direct download: BDP_2017_Christmas_Special.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:27am +13

This conversation was recorded on 17 September 2015 and is one of those 'lost episodes' we mentioned in s05e05. Two more to come shortly.

We sat down for a few beers 'on the record' with our friends Dave Wood and Denise Garland. Dave is the general manager of Wellington beer bar Hashigo Zake as well as the current President of SOBA (the Society of Beer Advocates) and Denise is a journalist — and both have long been key members of the beer community. They talk about the rapid evolution of the local scene, their introductions to it and their 'epiphany' beers, the simple pleasures of everday beers in their right place, and the joys of making your own homebrew. We also discuss the bar business, SOBA festivals, women-in-beer groups like Beerded Ladies and Pink Boots, lament the general lack of brown ales and have a few dated-but-foreboding words to say about company takeovers — Dave idly ponders a Ballast Point buyout that was just a few weeks in the future.

Direct download: BDP_s05e02.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:20pm +13

Damn these recurrent hiatuses. It happened again, as these things do. But we're back this week — rather fittingly, after the long weekend — with a little look at crowdfunding in the beer business, some reminiscences over my marvellous trip to the Mussel Inn, and looking forward to the Great Kiwi Beer Festival this very weekend, at which I'll be doing one of my little rambles. All that by way of bicycle bells and videogames, and accompanied by two rather strikingly different Beers Of The Week.

There are several sadly-long-neglected episodes in our proverbial back pocket, which I'll upload over the coming weeks. You — our listeners and our excellent guests — have our apologies, and also our welcome back.

Direct download: BDP_s05e05.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:35am +13

Recorded at Beervana 2014 and lost for a year on account of technical difficulties, this was our second "live" session, from the Saturday night. This time, we were joined by blogger and podcaster Luke Robertson (an ex-pat New Zealander living in Melbourne) and Denise Ratfield from the Pink Boots Society and Stone Brewery.

Direct download: BDP_s04e06.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:05am +13

Recorded last year in the seminar room at Beervana 2014, and waylaid since on account of technical difficulties. We were joined by Australian beer writer and founder of, Matt Kirkegaard, and Sean Burke of the Commons Brewery in Portland.

Direct download: BDP_s04e05.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:48am +13

And so the Beer Diary Podcast is back for a fifth season, and with our traditional delay in hitting 'publish', no less. Episodes should return to their usual non-super-sized format and a sharper turnaround in this back half of the year — but you all know what kind of paving projects are undertaken with good intentions. Here, we accidentally settle on a G-theme: we catch up about the end of my tenure at Garage Project, including some thoughts on how they make their interesting beers; the debut of GABS — Sydney Edition, which also makes us ponder trans-Tasman beer availability; and read a neat little piece in the Guardian on Gastrophysics which sets us wondering about experiments that really should be done at the beer awards.

Direct download: BDP_s05e01.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:34am +13

Back at last for a traditionally-belated — but moreso, at no extra charge! — 'Year in Review' episode, George and I called in a few guests to help ponder what 2014 meant to us in beer, since we were both extra-busy in everything else.  Now-recidivist Friends Of The Show Jono and Hadyn graciously took up the challenge and joined us in searching their memories for the year's highlights, disasters, themes and oddities — and they also threw in bonus musings on professional wrestling and the sociology of Palmerston North.

Direct download: BDP20s04e08.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:59am +13

Following straight on — after a quick re-play of the introduction, thanks to some clever editing by George — from last weekend's episode, we're delighted to present the second half of our Very Special podcast takeover on Women & Beer, by women, drinking beer. Megan, Beth, Hayley and Steph continue their conversation, covering topics as diverse as canned beer, food matching, 'extreme' beers, festivals, labeling and tastings — as well as discussing the potential need for (and nuances of) dedicated women's groups in the community, and the role of (and need for) overt feminism in the beer business.

Direct download: BDP_s04e04.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:16pm +13

For a Very Special episode, George and I relinquish the microphone entirely to four of our friends. We'd wanted to dedicate an episode entirely to 'Women & Beer' for some time and eventually realised that we were sufficiently blessed for potential guests — and also sufficiently lacking in personal experience, for obvious reasons — that a takeover episode made all kinds of sense.

Our replacements are, in order of introduction: Megan Whelan (journalist and producer for The Wireless), Beth Brash (blogger at Eat & Greet), Hayley Adams (bartender at Golding's Free Dive and project coordinator for the Safer Bars Alliance) and Steph Coutts (SOBA stalwart and founder of Craft Beer College — and thereby occasionally my boss). They discuss their own beer epiphanies and preferences, run-ins with lamentable marketing and experiences as part of the beer community — good and bad, grating and brilliant. Here, with my traditional apologies for the delay in posting it, is part one; part two will follow shortly.

Direct download: BDP_s04e03.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:04pm +13

An episode with no beer. Well, none were consumed — out of a vague nod to Dry July, but more a result of us both being in losing phases of the age-old battle of Monkey v Microbe. We ponder Dry July, as a charitable enterprise (we're unconvinced) and (much better) a way for people to test and/or manage their relationship with one of humanity's favourite drugs. We drink some worthwhile non-beers, and I have a little ramble on the social history of tea and coffee and whatnot. And an episode this time of year wouldn't be complete without a looking-forward toward the beer awards and Beervana.

Direct download: BDP_s04e02.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42pm +13

Back at last for a fourth season — which promises to include several Very Special Epsiodes, but more on those in due course — George and I quickly re-tell our Origin Story for new listeners, return briefly to the topic of our first-ever show (so-called "grey market" imports), before catching up on the beer festivals that happened while we were on hiatus. I also rave about keeping a Beer Diary (since it turns out I've been doing so for a decade), and we finally formalise what it means to be a 'Friend Of The Show'.

Direct download: s04e01.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:27pm +13

It's time again, at last, for our Year in Review: a look back at 2013, a pondering of its best beers and beer-related-things, and contemplation of what kind of 'theme' the year developed as it went. Our traditionally unhurried approach to these things (we've recorded all these episodes in March) met a few additional delays this year, but here we are. Plans are already underway for some Very Special Episodes in season four, but first let's wrap up our third year — and thank you all for coming along for the rambles.

Direct download: s03e09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:11pm +13

For our first recording of 2014 and the penultimate episode of Season 3, George and I sat down for a post-holiday catch up over two beers he'd brought back from his travels and one we'd been meaning to share for a while. Somehow, we also talked about Canada a lot. We offer our traditional recommendations and observations — and also take the chance to make a more-explicit-than-usual call for listener feedback (and suggestions for Year In Review gong-winners), backed-up by a sincere offer of a bribe in beer form...

Direct download: s03e08.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:43pm +13

B.O.T.W. #4 in s03e07 (with Jono Galuszka) was a (non-boycott-breaking) Moa Sour Blanc. It prompted a predictable little side-ramble into their current situation. We've excised it from the main episode and present it here as a DVD Extra / after-credits scene. I allude a few times to a work-in-progress catch-up with post-IPO Moa, and I'll try to get that done a.s.a.p.. (Meanwhile, I still really miss the Imperial Stout.)

Direct download: s03e07_Bonus.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:42pm +13

Just before the holidays — so apologies for the delay but, you know, holidays — George and I sat down for a ramble with Jono Galuszka, journalist, beer-and-music nerd, former bartender and barista, and occasional drummer. We discuss the many and varied joys of homebrewing, the at-last semi-reliable appearances of good beer in unexpected places, and (inevitably) a bunch of music. We had a venue change for this episode, so the background dog-shuffles have been replaced with regular overhead airplanes.

Direct download: s03e07_-_JG.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:32pm +13

George and I recently had the pleasure of sitting down — for a record number of Beers Of The Week, amidst all the banter — with Stu McKinlay, notorious pants-wearer, and one half (give or take) of the Yeastie Boys. We crash-tested whether fresh is best, sampled some ill-fated beers from the Great Drought era, and heard the origin story for several individual beers and for the unique operation itself — before turning to industry-wide issues like collegiality in the beer business and the culture of consuming alcohol.

Direct download: s03e06_-_Stu_McKinlay.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:44pm +13

Requiring more We Do Not Here Represent Our Day Jobs than usual, George and I recently had a little ramble about a few potentially-controversial topics in the Beer Business: the ongoing shitfight-with-a-side-order-of-handwringing that is the Licensing Laws Debate, and the continuing evolution of the nation's most-senior beer festival, Beervana. My apologies — again!; you are an understanding lot — for the delay in posting, though there is something appropriate about getting my Afterthoughts out on the eve of the next (much littler) festival.

There are plenty of contentious little angles in both topics, and I find myself taking unusually-middle-ground-ish positions on each to which I might have to return in fuller detail some day, but here — off the cuff, in good company, and over a few beers — are some initial thoughts, at least...

Direct download: s03e05_-_Law_and_Beervana.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:46am +13

And we're back. Though we're not quite as back as we intended. This happens to us, sometimes. George has been abnormally busy, post-holiday — though often with new-puppy-related duties about which he's not remotely about to complain — and I was diverted, in the actual around-Beervana-itself days, by ingloriously falling off my bike. But at last, we're back. Much (though by no means all) of the conversation was looking-ahead to events now past, but we're presenting them here mostly unvarnished and uncorrected so you can test how prescient and/or very-very-wrong we were. More generally, we ponder beer in cans (and drink one) and the burgeoning (but still finding-its-feet) world of the beer documentary.

Direct download: s03e04_-_Pre-Beervana_Hostful.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:24pm +13

Catching up for the first time in a while, and not long after a now-notorious kerfuffle over the 'Death From Above' beer put out by Garage Project (site of my day job, if you haven't already noticed), my fellow red-bearded beer writer Hadyn Green and I were about to have a ramble about potentially-offensive beer names when George leapt in and suggested / insisted we save it for a podcast episode. And here's the result.

Direct download: s03e03_-_Hadyn_Green.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:48am +13

George and I ventured out to the wilds of Newlands (which isn't very far at all, to be fair), and sat down with Aidan and Nikki of the freshly-launched Baylands Brewery, a fully-fledged commerical brewery on a tiny-tiny scale in their garage. We talk about the process of turning a hobby into a business, how it all nearly fell apart, and taste a couple of their beers — before moving on to the traditional round-up of news and recommendations.

Direct download: s03e02_-_Bayland_Brewery.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:01pm +13

Back with unusual promptness — which is hopefully a good omen — George and I sat down on Friday for a few beers and a somewhat-supersized season opener for another round of the podcast. We try a couple of new-ish releases, and one bottle that'd been sitting around waiting for the right occasion. And, unusually, one of our Beers of the Week turns out to be something of a dud, or at least a disappointment. Conversation turns variously to good and bad advice on glassware and temperature, the wealth of new developments in the local scene, and (inevitably, it seems) the origin-fudging that I complained about last time.

Direct download: s03e01_-_A_very_Good_Friday.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:07pm +13

Determined to start a 'Year in Review' tradition, we ponder the year from our beery perspective. I give my recommendations for blog and website of the year, and George and I ponder our Beers of the Year -- and our particular Glasses of Beer of the Year. We also, without looking at year others' notes, have a stab at summing up 2012 as 'Year of the x' and wind up landing on rather-similar themes.

Direct download: s02e09_-_2012_Year_in_Review.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:35pm +13

Catching up and determined to get back to the regular casting of pod, George and I sat down and — rather accidentally — wound up talking about the recent and surprising news of the sale of local darlings Emerson's — the craft beer gateway for both of us — to Lion; we happened not to've spoken to each other about it before hitting 'record'. Surprisingly, I found myself in the middle of the "debate", such as their was, and a little put out by nonsense on each side.

Direct download: s02e08_-_Emersons_Sale.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:56pm +13

Debreifing after another -- of many -- busy periods in the local beer business, George and I sit down to drink, and talk about, the "Wellington in a Pint" series before also turning our attention to Beervana. We ponder the upsides and niggling downsides of both, while working our way through an incredibly-varied four-pack of beers.

Direct download: s02e07_-_Wellington_Pint_and_Beervana.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:42pm +13

We sit down with Steph and Jonny of Craft Beer College, a newly(ish)-formed outfit who run educational beer tastings. We talk beer-enthusiast origin stories, the joys of volunteering at beer festivals, and consumer education.

Direct download: s02e06_-_Craft_Beer_College.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:43pm +13

An experimental broadcast 'from the field', with reportage from Malthouse's fifth-annual West Coast IPA Challenge and from SOBA's Matariki / Winter Ales Festival.

Direct download: s02e05_-_WCIPA_and_WF.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:27pm +13

There was a flurry of New Day Job productivity here, but the ramp-up to Beervana evidently derailed that somewhat. It's an awesome time of year to be a beer geek, and I've got a brilliantly-enjoyable new gig in the beer business, but my best writing hours have always been from midnight to four — it's probably genetic, for all I know — and I just haven't found the time. That should begin to swing back, on the far side of this weekend.

So, with apologies for the delay, we here present an unintentionally-apt reintroduction and recap podcast episode, with less of a Topic For Discussion and more just two guys sitting down over a few beers. George and I hadn't caught up for a while, and now — collectively — we haven't seen you lot in some time, either. But nevermind that; welcome back and hello again. In his travels, George picked up a seriously neat new little recording gizmo, and it here makes its début. One immediate effect is that we suddenly go all stereo. We kind of like the effect, but if it drives you all mad — or just annoys some statistically-significant subset of you — we can smoosh it back to mono. We'll also soon première some on-location footage that the New Gizmo gave us the opportunity to record, out and about. Feedback is always welcome — but even moreso when we go changing things a little.

Direct download: s02e04_Recap.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:32pm +13

George and I ventued into the (not really) wilds of Upper Hutt to have a chat with Jo Wood (of Liberty Brewing) and Mike Nielsen (of Tuatara); two homebrewers turned professional brewers (in very different capacities) who still love to get together on a weekend and knock up a random batch of something. We talk about how they got in to brewing, how they 'monetised' it for themselves, their favourites and the recurring pains in their respective asses.

We do apologise for the difficulty you might have in hearing us all (well, not me; I'm loud), but we are definitely lacking a bit of Jo Volume and there are intermittent glass-on-the-table thumps. Our on-the-road setup is still fairly rudimentary and George had to do the editing quickly before heading away on holiday (though he's hoping to grab some nicer gear while overseas). Demand-dependent, we might have another crack at the audio when he gets back; let me know how you get on. Cheers!

Direct download: s02e03_Joe_and_Mike.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:27pm +13

This one got a little lost in the post-post-production pipe (i.e., it was my fault, not George's), but here we are back for episode 2. In which I ramble about Australia, since I'd recently been there and was soon going back (for beery and non-beery reasons), we celebrate the return of fresh-hop beers, celebrate new employment opportunities (both mine and someone else's), offer a few recommendations -- and a word of warning.

Direct download: s02e02_Australia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:17pm +13

Back for a second 'season' -- are more-or-less arbitrary division, but we watch a fair amount of (good) TV and can't help but think of things like that -- George and I sat down a little while ago to talk about collaboration in craft beer.

We recorded this a while ago -- as becomes obvious once or twice from the conversation -- but the same things keeping me from blogging Diary entries got in the way of uploading it. My apologies for that, but I'm pleased to report that George already has s02e02 edited and ready to go; I should find time to upload it while I'm in Melbourne -- the topic, ironically, is "Australia" -- or very shortly after I get back.

Direct download: s02e01_Colab_Beer.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:43pm +13

Hardly rushing in to things, we here present our 2011 Year in Review, recorded mid-February and published in the first few days of March. The Oscars for 2011 releases only happened this week, after all, and we don't have their kind of budget — or Billy Crystal. Instead, we took vague inspiration from the "Golden Pints" lists that popped up around New Year's, and take the chance to look back on the year past to pick out some themes and some favourites.

Direct download: s01e09_Angry_Peaches_-_2011_review.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:41am +13

Inspired by the impending holidays -- impending, that is, when we recorded -- we have a little bit of a ramble about Strong Beer (partially also to balance the ledger after our Midstrength Beer episode). There are a lot of ways to be a strong beer, and equally-many reasons to enjoy one. And then there's a fair amount of silliness in the field, too. But the point remains: there's a beer for every occasion that might otherwise bring wine or whisky to the front of your mind.

Direct download: s01e08_-_Strong_Beer.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:59am +13

After a Garage Project beer at Hashigo, George and I ventured out to the quiet outer suburbs to join Kieran Haslett-Moore in his in-house pub, the Masons Arms. Over a few of his beers (accompanied by a platter of delicious things he'd largely also made himself), we talked about the many roads to being a satisfied beer geek, pondered the idiosyncrasies of the Wellington craft beer scene and the wider industry at large. Towards the end, we picked up on the topic George and I had talked about last time, and discussed a few weirdnesses of beer award shows.

Direct download: s01e07_-_The_Masons_Arms.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:19am +13

Recorded not-long after Beervana 2011, George and I sit down for some thoughts on beer awards and on the rights and wrongs (mostly the rights, it must be said) of the changes made for this year's festival. We're big fans of awards, but can't help but think there's plenty of room for improvement, for more clarity, and for, well, more.

Direct download: s01e06_-_8Wired_the_Sultan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:22am +13

For our first podcast 'on the road' (or at least 'out of the house'), we went to visit the Garage Project in Aro Valley. We sit down with Jos and Pete, have a few beers -- though none of their own, far-too-rare as they are -- and have a bit of a ramble about who they are, what they're planning / have done so far, and what has inspired them.

Direct download: ep5_Garage_Project.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41am +13

Back after an inadvertent hiatus, we share one of our favourite New Zealand beers -- Emerson's 'Bookbinder' -- and have a bit of a discussion about "midstrength" / "session" beer in general: the surprising variety available, its apparent return to 'vogue', the counterintuitive math of beer and booze, and that sort of thing.

Direct download: s01e04_-_Emersons_Bookbinder.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:15pm +13

As we recorded our third episode, the weather was making a turn for the cold. So we took the opportunity to have a little ramble about Winter Beers, seasonal offerings in general -- and to make a relatively-broad plea for more attention-to-situation in beer drinkers' habits. We offer up something of a taxonomy of winter options -- 1) light and restoring, 2) spicy and interesting, 3) huge and gloopy -- make myriad recommendations for worthy things to try, before touching on some Midstrength News and a bit of Beer News in general.

And then, as a special extra, we give George his first Rex Attitude, and record his unvarnished and honest reaction.

Direct download: s01e03_-_Stonecutter.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:33am +13

Back for a second round, we have a beer which George discovered purely from its advertising. Which leads to a discussion about beer marketing in general, the history, the good and the very very bad indeed. We touch on a few recent controversies and try to make some sense of them from each end -- George the marketing man, and Phil the beer nerd.

We also offer a few more recommendations for things-to-seek-out, and decide on our first recurring "segment".

Direct download: s01e02_-_Fat_Yak.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:26pm +13

The Beer Diary Podcast is us -- Phil Cook and George Langlands -- talking about beer, its various happenings and history. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, our conversations do skew towards the local craft beer scene, but also ramble their way around the world and into more-or-less related issues.

In this, the first episode, we make the obligatory introductions; enjoy an Emerson's Pilsner -- arguably the foundational and defining beer of a new local style; and discuss the occasionally-heated topic of unofficial / "Grey Market" imported beer.

We're aiming to be accessible, conversational and evangelical about good beer. Comments are not just welcome, they're encouraged, and can be made at the site of the actual Diary, or via Twitter.

Direct download: s01e01_-_Emersons_Pilsner.mp3.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:09am +13