He hath returned, and he is grumpy

How's it going? It's been a few weeks but I'm finally back from my trip of walking on glaciers, racing alongside dolphins, bleeding profusely on rental cars, yadda yadda. But, before you all get excited and expect photos from me I'm gonna make you wait and read this gripe first. I'm still sorting and labelling photos so I'll leave you with this. Beer in NZ pisses me off.

First off, the quality of the beer is piss. I know, it's not actually urine (unlike Coors Light), but it still tastes nasty. Granted, I drink the brew with the lowest possible numerator in the price tag, but I still expect something drinkable. After you have a Speights, Lion Red, or Double Brown you feel like you should throw up to clear the taste out of your throat, but you don't cause that would mean having to drink two more beers to make up for the lost alcohol.

Bringing up point number 2 (actually number 4, but I'm rearranging to suit my on-the-fly transitional sentences); the beer is not only bad but weak. All the beers are 4%. It's like I'm living in Utah or something (no offense Fisher). Any beer actually having greater than 4% is highly advertised as being 5.2%! or something like that, but then of course costs twice as much for some reason.

Point #3: beer is expensive here. Back in Indiana I could get a 6pack of Falls City for $2.99, and Rite Aid is always good for an avg cost of 50cents/beer in LA, but out here you have to try hard to find a deal for $1/beer. Most stores don't have 30packs and the ones that do often charge upwards of $40. Now, the NZ dollar is weak compared to the US, but it is no longer a 2:1 ratio, in fact, the NZ dollar is rising steadily and quickly and is currently around 74cents US. Beers in bars are also a little on the pricy side. Down in Dunedin (a college drinking town akin to Chico), you could get lucky and find beers for $2 or the equivalent in pitcher-sized brews, but in Auckland you are lucky if you can find a beer for $4.50 and usually they are $6 or $7. The picture above is when we stopped in Nelson the night before we took the ferry across to the north island. We got what is called a Barmaid (that's the manufacturer's label). It's 3L (also available in 2L but c'mon) and it has a little tap on it and you pour your own mugs at your table then you can take back the cylinder to refill it at the bar. But still, even in this quantity and in a town outside of Auckland we only averaged about $3/beer, not to mention we got a lot of foam. It's just hard to find real cheap beer, but the good thing is quality doesn't raise the price proportionally to the already high prices.

Issue #4: lack of price range disparity in bars. Ok, so I just mentioned that this is a good thing, but hold on. So you have to pay $5.50 for crap beer, or you can pay $7 for the best Guinness outside of Dublin (something to do with the water here). That might make you happy, but just a minute, that's like getting excited b/c a double whopper only costs $1 more than a regular whopper. We need to look at the bigger picture and realize that the regular whopper is way over priced to start with. $7 for a good Guinnes might be a somewhat acceptable price in a bar in a big city, but that doesn't justify buying one if you just want to get a little tipsy on low funds. What I want is the cheap beer cheap and the good beer pricy; create social stratums w/in the bar scenes, the way it was meant to be. A chick should be able to see a guy drinking Chimay and think, 'ooh, he's got class and money,' but how can she do that when the guy drinking Piss Ale is only spending $1.50 less per beer and probably spending more overall cause he's trying to get pissed? I need my 15cent beer nights, my $1 specials at happy hour, and my 'this beer fell off the truck and has been here for three months, lets sell it cheap tonight' specials.

Lastly, and fifthly, -this should make all of you raise up arms against these fascist overseas brewers- the beer here comes in cans smaller than the US. Just like soda (another wallet gouger here), the beer in cans & bottles is only 330mL. A quick translation of that figure in the head tells the layperson that these beer cans are only 11.1586274 US fluid ounces. A traveshamockery you say? well I concur. If I'm going to pay $2/beer then I want to suffer through 12 full fluid ounces of that liquid hell, just like my forefathers did before me.

Summation: They win, I still buy the beer.


Fisher said...

Hahaha, that sounds terrible. I actually have the unusual position of being able to find better alcohol here in Utah :) Contrary to popular belief you CAN get normal grade beer in Utah. The grocery stores & gas stations can only sell 3.8% or less, but the state-run liquor stores can sell anything they want, including full grade beer. Oddly enough, while they try and charge a premium to stop people from drinking as much, a 6pack of Sierra Nevada costs less here ($5.95) than it did at Raley's in Loomis ($6.99). Go Figure :)

Jonathan Hawkins said...

they had those huge beers in colombia also they are good but the beer sometimes gets warm i would recommend you bring clint to make sure that doesnt happen