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Review: RB Rooms

On Saturday I made the rather bad decision to go to the Black Caps versus South Africa game at Eden Park. It was cold, we lost and the most interesting thing that happened was a fat man in a Waikato shirt and a Queen Liz mask ran up and down every aisle of the stadium. And, of course, there was no decent beer.

Luckily the day was not a complete loss. Martin Bridges, Auckland SOBA organiser and general haver of great ideas, suggested meeting at Sandringham’s The RB (Rugby Buildings) for some pre-match bevies. It was a great idea and I would freely and enthusiastically recommend a trip to The RB. The building itself is delightful – it has the air of someone trying to convert their house to a bar and getting most of the way there, then decided they’d rather just chill out – which gives it a nice, relaxed atmosphere. Downstairs there are small tables and a comfortable couch next to the small bar. Upstairs it’s sort of been knocked through, so the rooms are almost open plan and there’s another small bar. (One of the upstairs tables has a particularly good feature – you can see the Eden Park noticeboard, and check if the cricket is going ahead).

The staff were relaxed and friendly. They joked, they were informative and they didn’t take offence when I said I didn’t drink Moa. Their knowledge of the beer was more customer-based than knowledge-based (as in, they know so-and-so normally drinks that particular beer), but this was quite nice – it just added to the neighbourhood local feeling they have going on.

The food was amazing. The roasted vege salad was fresh and full of flavour, and as much as I enjoyed it, I was still jealous of my friends’ choices – a massive sausage roll and golden fish pies – particularly when they told me how delicious it was. To go with the tasty food, they also have tasty beers. There’s the full range of Moa beers, if you’re that way inclined, but even better they have five Yeastie Boys beers in bottle and a couple of Epics. I chose the Hud-a-wa as my pre-match beer and was blown away. I’m not sure whether it was a new batch or perhaps fresh is not best, but this Hud-a-wa tasted amazing – slightly sweet, but balanced and moreish. Then, for my it’s-still-raining beer I had a PKB, which was chocolately goodness in a glass. (I think I’ll put ‘drink more Yeastie Boys’ on my to-do list).

If you’re after a pre-, post- or during match beer, I heartily recommend The RB. It’ll buoy you up if you’re (quite rightly) worried about the Black Caps losing, or soothe away the pain when they (inevitably) lose. I also assume it’d be wonderful for other (more cheerful) sporting events, or even just as an event in itself.

Porter Night

Boxing Day bought a new set of beers – the porters. I was thoroughly looking forward to porter night – I love porters and the line-up was three of my favourites – Harrington’s Wobbly Boot, Moa Noir, and 8 Wired’s The Big Smoke. We decided for the sake of symmetry we should have a forth player and luckily Dad found a bottle of Invercargill Brewery’s Pitch in a cupboard (a stout, rather than a porter, but it was a rather casual tasting.)

Despite my big hopes, the night started out badly. I was an idiot and had brushed my teeth while Dad was setting up, as I forgotten to do so that morning. Really bad idea – the first few sips were not nice. Then Dad somehow managed to choke on his first sip. Then there was the problem of temperature (see following blog). After our false start though, we settled down to our tastings.

Harrington Wobbly Boot (Christchurch)
The head disappeared rather quickly, causing Dad to remark that it looked like a glass of coke. Although it didn’t have a lot of initial flavour, I found it had a lovely after taste. Dad disagreed, finding it bland and thinking it should have been colder.

Moa Noir (Blenheim)
The Noir, like many other Moa beers, is difficult to pour as it froths rather a lot (my sister in hospo verifies is not just my incompetence at pouring a beer, but the Moa). I’ll forgive it though, because it is lovely to drink, a bit hoppier and bitter than the Woobly Boot, while still maintaining a lovely malty after taste.

8 Wired The Big Smoke (Blenheim)
The Big Smoke is just that – big and smoky. Dad claimed it smelt better than it tasted, which I strongly disagreed with. I loved the taste, the smoke and the hops and the complexities. Dad said if I liked it all that much I could have the rest of the bottle and should go to Bamburg, home of smoked beers. I accepted said bottle and put Bamburg on the to-do list.

Invercargill Brewery Pitch Black (Invercargill)
Pitch Black had a strong Marmite smell (yeasty?) which, to me, is not a bad thing. I was disappointed with the speed at which the after taste disappeared though.

So what did we learn from our porter night? First and foremost, it wasn’t really a porter night – Wobbly Boot is a porter ale, Noir is a dark larger, and Pitch Black is a stout. This wasn’t a flaw though – it simply taught us more about darker beers. Second, summer is not a good time to hold a porter night – it’s simply too hot. Again not a bad thing – we’ve decided we’ll have to organise a mid-winter porter tasting!

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