Our resident beverage expert matches craft beers to 3 different destinations
Food and Drink

Our resident beverage expert matches craft beers to 3 different destinations

Montage of beer bottles on orange background

Any know-it-all can match beverages with food. This know-it-all, Tom Lynch, matches craft beverages to social occasions.

Falcon APA by Parrotdog beer on white background

Falcon APA Parrotdog

We’ll start with an easy one: what to drink when you’ll be with a crowd that’s a little more mainstream in their choice of beverage. Possibly you’ve been tricked into attending a barbecue with Cheryl from work, or have run out of excuses not to watch your local sports team with Nigel from your high school 4th XV.

In this scenario, I’d go with Falcon APA by Wellington label Parrotdog. It’s at the lighter end of the American pale ale spectrum, so if any eurolager drinkers try it, they won’t freak out, but it still has the bright, clean, full flavours we’re accustomed to from the American hops varietals. APAs are often described as fruity, so you may have to explain to Nige that this is, in fact, a good thing. (As an aside, why do so many of the American hops start with C? Cascade, Citra and Chinook are some that spring to mind. Are they are trying to trick us into thinking they’re from Canada? Even plant species want to distance themselves from the disaster that is the 21st-century US.)

Tuatara Iti beer on white background

Tuatara Iti

Secondly, we’ll try a set-up that requires a little more subtlety. What should you drink when you run into an ex? After hiding behind a pot plant, my choice is to go with the low-alcohol Iti from Tuatara. I know, I know, Tuatara sold out to the Dutch and some of you will say they aren’t a real craft brewery, but some of you don’t have any exes, so this entire section doesn’t apply.

Iti may be light in alcohol but it has a full ale flavour with a touch of malty bitterness that belies its 3.3% ABV. Ordering a low-strength beer is a good way to show that you have a car and not a drinking problem. If you happen to be living in said car, you should frame that as a sign of your dedication to free living and the open road, not your poor career choices. You can show your knowledge of te reo here too by mentioning that “iti” means “small”. Be careful, though, as your past paramour may have done the second set of night classes.

Garage Project DFA beer on white background

Garage Project DFA

I’ve saved Garage Project for a third social situation that’s tragically becoming all too common: dinner with a denier. We all have that one friend or relative who has somehow managed to get the “real” story on Covid, vaccines, moon landings, 1080, 9/11 or 5G, and bangs on about it 24/7. My choice of ale when going into this troublesome milieu is Garage Project’s DFA. With its massive amount of hops and the controversial addition of Vietnamese mint, mango, chilli and lime, this is a beer that should be gross but somehow everything is so well balanced that it works.

As well as being delicious, DFA clocks in at 7.5%, so it’s ideal for numbing you to the rantings of your acquaintance. It’s available in a 330ml can or 600ml bottle; I suggest going for the big bot, maybe two. Just for a laugh, halfway through the second bottle, you can ask if they know the real reason Garage Project had to change the full name of this beer from Death From Above to Demus Favorem Amori. That’s Latin for “We choose to stand for love,” which is surely something we can all agree on. Especially the love of beer.

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