Friday, July 4, 2008

Those Krazy Kiwis

Australians have long shared something of a begrudgingly happy relationship with our neighbours from across the Tasman, New Zealand. At times strained and often based upon varying senses of inferiority and perceived bias, we have managed, nonetheless, to remain civil.

Our respective nations have enjoyed a fierce rivalry on the sporting field and on the fields of battle our combined heroics have seen our soldiers pull the brass out of the poo on more than one occasion. We even share our music stars and celebrities. By the way, NZ, you can come back and collect Russell Crowe and Derryn Hinch whenever you’re ready.

One area in which the Kiwis and the Aussies are in complete agreement beer. Brewin’ it and drinkin’ it. In recent years we have been able to sample more and more of the craft brews that our sheep-shaggin’, er, shearin’ mates have been enjoying on their own for far too long. Two of the Professors’ personal favourites and ones which can usually be found in the beer crisper are Mac’s and Monteith’s.
Monteith’s have been pumping out some fair old beers since 1868 and their Pilsner is among the best I’ve sampled. They put out a terrific series of seasonal beers proving that sometimes a brewer can take a bit of a hit in making a really decent beer which must surely be hard to turn a profit on and this is worthy of a beer lover’s praise. And their Radler is NOT to be blamed for the sudden dam-burst of marketing men’s ‘wet dream beers’ which are little short of a collection of thin pissy lagers spiked with lemon or lime essence designed to attract chicks and poofters to beer. Monteith’s have had their authentic version out for quite a while, they use real juice and the style is based on real beer made in Bavaria in the 1920’s. So there. Monteith’s also has a retail and distribution arm in Australia, Drinkworks, who I assume are responsible for the ease of access to these hidden treasures we now have.

Mac’s was founded in 1981 and has been a leader in the NZ craft brew field winnin

g many medals at international as well as New Zealand beer festivals. I have had the Hop Rocker, the All Malt Lager and the Sassy Red and have been more than a bit impressed. Great flavour, easy drinking and beautifully balanced – and they still have ring pull tabs!! More on this next week. The Hop Rocker and Sassy Red took out Champion Lager and Ale titles respectively at this year’s Australian International Beer Awards.

Mac’s was bought out by Lion Nathan in 1999 and was kept on as a craft brewing unit until May this year when the brewery was closed and it’s operations were shifted to the parent company plants in Wellington and Christchurch. On a positive note, the reason given was the fact that the small brewery could not keep up with demand.

So ‘BRAVO!!’ to our Kiwi mates on their contribution to the quest to get real, well crafted preservative-free beers out into the market. Bravo!! We will accept your marvellous beers every day of the week ... But,

... seriously, what’s with the televisual shit from across the ditch that our networks are dishing up? Enough!!! Stop it!!! Now!!!!! I know it is the fault of our own short-sighted and lazy TV execs that they find it more rewarding to simply import the cheapest and crappiest shows from overseas rather than getting off their fat jacksies and making something decent and entertaining but someone is actually making this shite.

It began, innocently enough with Motorway Patrol, a show in which Auckland highway police compete to see who can be the biggest knob-jockey while attempting to identify New Zealand’s fattest Maori towing the most dangerous load in a trailer with a busted arse or the Kiwi teenager with the lowest suspension and matching IQ. Quite a funny show. Until we realised it was all real.

Then there was the show called City Beat about pretend police who spend the night in the city investigating vomit and catching the kids who belong to the Maoris with the dodgy trailers in the other show until the real police come along only to let them go again to cause more bourbon-fuelled mayhem. More funny stuff. Then it just started getting silly. How many similar shows do you Kiwis produce? Do you actually watch any of them? Do you just send them over to us as a payback for the ‘underarm’ cricket incident in 1982?

We can’t turn our TVs on today without seeing another rivetingly action-packed explosion of boring mediocrity. Police 10/7 (pronounced Pleez Tin-Sivin) is another cop show where police only have interesting things happen between tin a.m. and sivin et night. And by interesting, I mean NOT. An argument over a parking space is not interesting. The drunk punching a parking meter because it wouldn’t give him a beer was a little humorous.

The latest wave of carp is ‘Diddly Surf’ about lifesavers on a beach where ‘drama’ is a bloke hiding in the sand dunes with binoculars, and ‘Rinters’ which is a show about that fat Maori bloke from Motorway Patrol who doesn’t pay his rent but we never see him because by the time the real estate ‘rent cop’ finally gets round there, Big Bro’ has packed all his gear into a dodgy trailer with a busted arse and pussed off. Hopefully Constables Trivva and Ewen will neb hum on the brudge before he causes anymore hevuck. Ay.

Don’t quite know how this post got so sidetracked from a celebration of New Zealand beer to a requiem for Australian TV at the hands of the Kiwi telly makers! Day three of 21 alone with the little Pilsner girls, I guess.

Prof. Pilsner
P.S. Day 4 of 21 with the little Pilsners and all is well. Today we played with blocks and then a puzzle and then we had lunch and played some more and then had dinner and then I had some beer. Mmmmmmm, beer.

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