Every year, the Society of Beer Advocates (SOBA) rolls out its red carpet for a week-long celebration of all things craft beer. It's appropriately called Auckland Beer Week, and this year it's taking place across the city's finest craft establishments from 22 June to 1 July in the lead up to epic beer festival The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS). The festivities officially kick off with the Double Launch Party which promises a rambunctious night of craft beer from across the globe between Vultures Lane and Lumsden Freehouse. Elsewhere, there's South Indian feasts, a festival to discover new and interesting concoctions and the ultimate hangover breakfast. Cheers to that.
FOOD AND BEER PAIRINGS
There's nothing like hoeing into a bowl of salty chips with a pint of lager. Though the food and beer pairings at Auckland Beer Week will step things up a notch. Newmarket's Lumsden Freehouse will prove how well fresh and briny oysters go down with a pint of dark beer; Kingsland's Flight 605 will host an evening of new releases with beer-marinated chicken wings; every day of the week Sylvia Park's Hawker & Roll will craft a hawker roll to match something from the Garage Project lineup; and Vultures' Lane will showcase a roster of pies to be downed with brews from 8 Wired, Sawmill and McLeod's.
SOUTH INDIAN STREET SNACKS AND CURRY FEASTS
Good news, this one also involves eating. The combination of crisp beer and spicy curry is big on the agenda with two events dedicated to the match made in heaven. K' Road eatery Satya Chai Lounge will be the place to indulge in multi-course South Indian feasts with matched beverages. On Tuesday 26 June four hop-forward IPAs from Epic will accompany Satya's finest street snacks (think dahi puri and Manchurian dumplings) across two sessions (6-8pm, 8-10pm). The next day it will be Northland's McLeod's supplying the goods to accompany a proper curry feast. Satya and Behemoth have also linked up to create the beer equivalent of a mango lassi — it will be available for one night alongside complementary curried lamb sausages.
A big trend with Beer Week 2018 is tap takeovers where bars leave their beloved dispensers in the hands of the brewers themselves. This year, Brothers Beer City Works Depot will be taken over by Adelaide brewery Pirate Life, Northcote's The Beer Spot will hand its taps over to Waikanae's North End Brewing, Newmarket's The Lumsden will host a trio of breweries from Hamilton, and Nelson Street's Brewers Co-Op will round off the first weekend with an appearance from hardcore Scottish brewers, BrewDog.
THE MAIN EVENT: THE GREAT AUSTRALASIAN BEER SPECTAPULAR
Annual beer and cider festival GABS is the event on everyone's lips. Happening on 30 June at ASB Showgrounds, the festival is a breeding ground for interesting new brews — previous events have seen brewers experiment with everything from marshmallows to cold brew coffee and snails. This year is set to be no different with more than 90 unique beers and ciders being brewed especially for the event and a further 300 concoctions up for the tasting. Also on offer: a delectable street food lineup, a beer-themed mini golf course, silent disco, panel discussions and masterclasses. SOBA is generously running a free bus service to and from the event. Get involved.
EIGHT FLIGHTS OVER EIGHT NIGHTS
Garage Project's Kingsland headquarters will celebrate its first appearance at Auckland Beer Week by serving eight different tasting flights with paired finger foods. Held across eight nights, each theme will feature either a style of beer (Sours: Delivering Zingers), an opportunity to learn about certain facets of brewing (Yeast: Wonderful and Wild or Hops: A Nelson Sauvin Showcase) and even direct comparisons between beers (Vertical Tasting, Two Batches, Side by Side) so there are opportunities to find an event that suits your personal taste.
Auckland Beer Week 2018 will be held across Auckland from 22 June to 1 July. For more information, visit soba.org.nz.