[1] – but the Rugby World Cup quarter finalists have been found.   Twenty teams started the tournament and these have been whittled down to just eight – New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, England, Wales, Ireland, France and Argentina.  The quarter final match-ups this weekend have panned out as all the highly-paid rugby pundits predicted – except that everyone is playing a different team than expected. 

The stunning Irish upset over Australia and France’s baffling lack of fortitude has turned the draw on its head.  One of the main effects is that only one of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa has a shot of getting into the final.  That said, barring a huge upset by Argentina over the All Blacks, it will be a Southern Hemisphere team against a Northern Hemisphere team in the big game on October 23.

Off the field, all the visiting teams (apart from Quade Cooper) have appeared to enjoy their time around the country and the support they have received from locals and fans of other nations.  Certainly, I doubt the American team has ever received such vocal support as they did at the Wellington Regional Stadium when they were – coincidentally I am sure – playing the Wallabies.

There are two final games in Wellington before the tournament essentially shifts to Auckland for the remainder.  The Rugby World Cup website lists these games as Ireland v Wales (Saturday 6pm – Wellington), England v France (Saturday 8:30pm – Auckland), South Africa v Australia (Sunday 6pm – Wellington) and New Zealand v Argentina (Sunday 8:30pm – Auckland).  The games in Wellington are likely to be the most competitive of the quarter with the Wales/Ireland clash a potential classic.

In unrelated news, Malthouse will be showing all international rugby matches this weekend on the big screens at 48 Courtenay Place.  There will be a larger outdoor area to provide extra capacity on what should be a big weekend in town.  Additionally, the standard Friday Feast (free bar snacks and nibbles from 5pm) will also run on Saturday and Sunday from 8pm.

There will be two new beers on tap, one from Australia (whose team made the quarter finals) and one from Scotland (who were cruelly denied by England surprising everyone by actually running the ball once). [2]

Sunday’s Release is the Antipodean offering, True South New World Pilsner (4.8%) from Black Rock, Victoria.  True South has been brewing in Melbourne’s southeast, reportedly a stone’s throw from the water [3], since 2009.  It is a traditional Czech style lager with a generous helping of floral Nelson Sauvin hops. 

One of the brewery’s most popular offerings, it is a pale straw beer with lively carbonation, a grassy slightly resinous nose, gentle fruit notes in the middle and some crisp bitterness.  It is a pleasant, subtle beer.

Before that, we have Saturday’s Release which is anything but subtle.  It is BrewDog Hardcore IPA (9.2%) from a very high-profile and at times highly controversial Scottish brewery.  They revel in their maverick reputation with their official Facebook page saying “Infamous?  Unpredictable?  Single-handedly responsible for the downfall of western civilisation?  You just might have heard of us…”

Founded by two 24-year olds in 2007, BrewDog quickly gained publicity for their antics and love of making very strong beers, and accolades for the quality of their products.  They have been denounced on the floor of the Scottish Parliament [4] and recently had the bar they had booked at the Great British Beer Festival cancelled by the far more traditional Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).  They also created Equity for Punks, an online IPO (initial public offering) to let members of the public buy shares in the brewery to fund growth.

Hardcore IPA makes extensive use of American hops – both in the boil and through dry hopping.  The nose is pungent and heavy with bittersweet hops – stonefruit, grapefruit and pine needles.  It has a medium body but tonnes of berry sweetness and fruit salad notes before an extended hop bite.  Most drinkers would find it is hard to argue with the official brewery description of Hardcore IPA as an “extreme beer rollercoaster for freaks, gypsies and international chess superstars.”

I love it.  I guess I had better work on my chess game.

[1] Though some would doubtless claim it has felt like much longer.
[2] As a Scot, I do tire of the “Scotland The Brave” tag sometimes.  Just occasionally I would like it to be “Scotland The Team That Thrashed England by 50 Points And Made Johnny Wilkinson Cry.”
[3] If this measurement was based on my throwing ability, the brewery would be dangerously close to the ocean.
[4] Mainly for making Tokyo*, an admittedly 18.2% beer which sells for over $30 a bottle.  Parliament’s attention may be better directed at the infamous Buckfast Wine – 15% alcohol, more caffeine than Red Bull and linked to up to 40% of crime in Scotland.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


True South – http://truesouth.com.au/true-south-beer
BrewDog – http://www.brewdog.com
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Malthouse Facebook Group – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wellington/Malthouse/7084276173
Real Beer – http://www.realbeer.co.nz 
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