I’d like to say there’s an inspirational, uplifting story to how I came to organise The Auckland Bar Hop. That I was out on the town and an overwhelming pride in my current home town rose up within me, giving me the desire to organise the most amazing bar crawl ever.

But, in reality the Hop was born from a moment of intense irritation. At the end of last year, on the Yeastie Boys’ blog, Stu introduced Sam’s Golden Pints with the comment: ‘Living in the craft beer desert that is our largest city, Sam’s picks for the Golden Pints were never going to be quite as easy.’ Now, I know it was tongue-in-cheek.* But it really irked me. Auckland is not a beer desert. Sure, we’re not the tropical jungle that Wellington is, or the productive farmland of Nelson, but there’s certainly beer here. We’ve got freehouses, brewpubs and breweries. We’ve got an active homebrew scene, with formal and informal competitions. Hell, we’ve even got beer geeks. Lots of ’em.

But these are all just words, words I’ve been saying for a while. So, in the spirit of ‘show, don’t tell’, I decided to organise a self-guided bar crawl, The Auckland Bar Hop, on April 21.  It’ll kick off at Galbraith’s Ale House at 2pm, where Hoppers can pick up their guidebook and indulge in some of the best cask ale in the country. Then there’ll be a shuttle bus running to town and back to take Hoppers down into the CBD, where they can explore Auckland craft beer scene, through bars as different from each other as Corner Bar and SkySport Grill. And after we’re all done exploring, there’s an after party at the Brewery Britomart, with more great craft beer, a bit of a feed, and a chance to compare notes.

The cost is $12 per person – this gets you the Hop booklet with small discounts at selected bars, a ride into town, entry into the event at the Brewery Britomart (with food) and a great afternoon out with like-minded people.

So, if you’d like to come along and support Auckland’s craft beer scene, purchase your ticket here – and get ready for an adventure!

* And it then went on to say 2012 is looking better. But that gets in the way of my story.