I had a rather unlucky beer weekend, which raised some beer etiquette questions.

It started out well, with a couple of beers at Andrew Andrew, then off to a dinner party. As the host was serving Thai curry and is fond of good beer, I picked up some Emerson’s Bookbinder and Epic Pale Ale to take with me. Upon arrival though, one of the other guests gave me some of his dad’s homebrew, while my beers were stashed in the fridge. The homebrew raised my first question: should I give an honest opinion of someone’s dad’s homebrew? In this circumstance, definitely not. At a share-and-share-alike homebrew evening, where constructive criticism is encouraged, then yes, but at a dinner party, it much more polite to accept and listen to the stories of his dad’s homebrew adventures (that were much more interesting than the beer). The next question was brought up by my needing to leave early-ish given that I was about to fall asleep mid-sentence. I’d only had one of my beers, did etiquette require I leave the rest in the fridge? In this circumstance, yes. They had been a gift for throwing the dinner, and while I was sad to leave them behind, I knew the host would appreciate them.

Saturday saw me in The Mulberry Bar & Restaurant in Mt Eden Village. As I was sober driver, I was allowed one beer and I wanted it to be a good one. The tap selection was dire, but I spotted a ray of light in the fridge – Little Creatures Pale Ale. After paying $11 though, I was disappointed. I’ve had Little Creatures Pale Ale before and thoroughly enjoyed it, but this bottle had no aroma at all and very little taste. It may have been old, I doubt the turn-over was high. Which raises my third question – should I complain? In this circumstance, I think not. To complain about their sole craft beer would be counter-productive. In this case too, it’s not best to complain to the lady serving the beer – she probably doesn’t care. Their website does have an email address though and I have emailed them to ask if they could stock more craft beer.

Sunday night provided the biggest beer disappointment and two hardest questions. With a beer buddy coming over for dinner, I went to New World Victoria Park for a couple of different styles from one of my favourite brewers. The first bottle didn’t seem quite right; not bad necessarily, but not up to their usual standard. The second beer  definitely not right – it gushed upon opening. Actually, fountained may be a better word – the spray covered me, the counter top and bits of the floor (apparently it was hilarious). Once I’d poured the remaining beer into the glass, it smelt and tasted sour and we decided it was probably infected in some way. Now this dilemma asked two questions – should I complain about the quality of the beer? And if so, who to? I rather not complain about the beer, which is why I haven’t named it here. I’ve had beers from this brewery many times before and haven’t had a problem with them, so i think these two were anomalies. If I was to complain, who would it be to – the supermarket or the brewery? If I had brought a mouldy loaf of bread, I would complain to the supermarket. Should beer be any different? I think so. If the beer had been altered at the supermarket, the cap damaged or similar, I would complain to them. But I think it would be more productive to let the brewer know, because I’m not after compensation, I’m more interested in letting them know so they can sort out any future problems and I can continue to purchase good quality beer in the future.

So that was my weekend – various unfortunate beers and ponderous questions. Here’s hoping next weekend the beer is better and the questions simpler.

This post was bought to you today by Dux Brewing Co. Sou’Wester.

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