appeared on a celebrity episode of the inexplicably popular Kiwi version of the trite game show “Wheel of Fortune”.  While no one remembers the performance of his alleged co-celebrities actor Andy Anderson and Fair Go reporter Rosalie Nelson, David Tua entered popular folklore by uttering three famous words.  Asked by host Philip Leishman for a consonant, Tua appeared to request an “O for Awesome”. 

Or did he?  Some have argued that he really asked for “O for Olsen” – said to be a reference to Olsen Filipaina who was a high profile rugby league player of the day.  That version of events is certainly listed on Tua’s current Wikipedia profile.  Of course, neither O nor A is, or has ever been, a consonant so his request was immediately disqualified.  Undeterred, he later requested a P when asked for a vowel and debuted a previously unknown linguistic construct called a “constonant”, all in the same show. [1]

Having watched the video (link below) several times it certainly sounds like he said “O for Awesome” though others have drawn different conclusions.  From the brief glimpse of the question board, it looks like the answer was “Arthur’s Pass” so A would have been very useful, O much less so.  In any case, the phrase entered the New Zealand vocabulary and is a uniquely Kiwi turn of phrase.

Or is it?  The authoritative chronicler of hip slang – the website Urban Dictionary – notes “The term ‘O for Awesome!’ has become a positive expression of excitement meaning ‘fantastic’ or ‘cool’ used by people of many backgrounds throughout the world, with most people unaware of the origins of this term of expression.” [2] 770,000 Google hits for O for Awesome seem to support claims the phrase has gone global.  In fact, it is such a famous New Zealand export that Australia is shortly expected to claim they totally invented it first.

O for Awesome is also the inspiration for one of the country’s latest collaboration beers and one of the longest beer names in recent New Zealand history: 8 Wired/Renaissance/Nøgne Ø – Ø for awesome (9% 75 IBU).  This New Zealand/Norwegian mash up is – according to the brewers – “loosely based on a mix of our three flagship beers: Stonecutter Scotch Ale, Hopwired IPA and Batch #100.”  One contributor to the always interesting RateBeer site likened it to a train smash of three good beers which actually worked.

Soren Erikson of 8Wired described the ingredients as “New Zealand grown ale malt: Pale, wheat and chocolate.  Hops were 90% NZ: Pacific Jade, Motueka and Chinook, mixed with a pinch of American Columbus.   Yeast: Wyeast 1272 American Ale II.  The NZ hops are big and fruity while the Columbus brings a more savoury herbal hit.  The malt profile can best be described as ‘fat’.”

This Imperial Amber Ale is a stunner.  Pouring almost deep red, there is an off-white head under a veritable tropical fruit salad miasma.  The nose also has hints of chocolate and toffee lurking sweetly under the fruit.  In the glass there is more juicy fruit, a lash of dark chocolate and a late but huge hop hit.  Launched in February, this beer is an early contender for beer of the year and will shortly be on tap at Malthouse. 

Joining it will be Green Flash Le Freak (9.2%).  San Diego’s Green Flash is one of the best breweries I have ever visited.  It smells as delicious as angels cooking bacon.  They describe Le Freak as “a modern ale created by converging two beer styles, Belgian Trippel and American Imperial IPA.  The use of two yeast strains further marries the styles and American hops give the beer its modern flare.” [3]

While it is greatly beloved by the RateBeer crowd (and many other highly qualified beer geeks), I’m torn.  They have taken two beer styles which I very much enjoy individually but I am yet to be convinced they mesh together nicely.  To use a film analogy, I liked Alien, Aliens, Predator and Predator 2 but Aliens versus Predator was a train wreck of epic proportions – I am talking Ashton Kutcher bad. 

Can Green Flash even make a brew Ashton Kutcher bad?  It is also on tap soon and is undoubtedly a fascinating beer which polarises drinkers globally.  There is only way to make up your own mind.  Try it.

In researching these posts, I usually find out something unexpected using the miracle that is the Interwebs.  David Tua is actually related to the famous wrestling Anoa’i family. 

Members of that clan include Afa and Sika (The Wild Samoans), Rosey and Jamal (Three Minute Warning and Jamal would subsequently be repackaged as the Samoan Bulldozer Umaga), the current tag team of Jimmy and Jay Uso, and recent Hall of Famer the late Yokozuna. [4]

[1] Wheel of Fortune would never be as interesting again, as evidenced by the fact that Lana Coc-Croft is the show’s most famous alumni.

[2] Be very, very careful what you look up on this site.

[3] Don’t write the beer descriptions after too many 9.2% beers…

[4] This massive athlete wrestled as a Japanese sumo wrestler which reportedly took some explaining to the younger members of his family in his native Samoa.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


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