The ASB Premiership kicked off on Sunday and the big difference this season is that 28 games will be on Sky TV. This is fantastic, and one of the few things NZ football seem to have got right recently.
There are a couple of concerns, such as how a poorly performing side like WaiBOP United get 9 appearances on TV, while last seasons runners up Hawke's Bay United only get 3.
Also why take teams like Auckland City out of their boutique atmospheric ground, Kiwitea Street that feels packed with their usual 1000 or so fans and make them play in a 26000 seater stadium?
Still its on TV and anything must be better than TV3's attempts to cover the National League in the 1980's. When TV3 started, TVNZ had all the sports rights sewn up so they looked for other sports and decided they would show football's National League. Wellington United were playing at home against Manurewa or Papatoetoe. I remember turning up and there were no cameras at all to be seen (well except for the old lady in the stand who filmed all Diamonds games on a hand held cam-corder). The game started and Wellington scored after about 10 minutes.....then the camera crew arrived, the crew consisted of 3 one with the camera, one with the sound mic and the other carrying bags. As the game went on, the cameraman got bored with the action (or lack of it) on the field and started filming the crowd and got some very nice shots of us all cheering when the 2nd goal went in! Midway through the 2nd half all of a sudden a few expletives came from the camera crew (who were sited at the front of the stand) and when asked by someone what was up, we were informed that the tape had run out and they had forgotten to pack the extra one! And almost on cue Wellington United made it 3-0. As far as I'm aware TV3's first attempt to film local football was their last!
So with the games on TV, that means I can watch them and review them, but then that's not what I want this blog to be about, this is suppose to be about going to the games and the culture that surrounds football with a bit of history thrown in. With that in mind I have decided to combine 2 of my favourite things football and beer!
So when teams play each other I will try a beer from the area the team is from and the one I like the best will get 3 points. I have some rules such as the beer has to be the same style – there is no point comparing a Porter with a Lager.
So for the Super City Derby I have the following
Auckland City : Epic Armageddon IPA (6.66%)
IPA or India Pale Ale was originally brewed in the UK for transporting to India, extra hops were added so that the beer would survive. When the craft beer revolution came along, brewers in NZ took to the IPA style made it their own by adding even more hops. Epic set the standard, and as it is from Auckland and Auckland City are the team setting the standard in the National League it seemed an apt beer to start with (also I love IPA beers)
Waitakere United : Weezledog Hopster NZ IPA (6.7%)
For me this is a completely new beer, micro batch brewed at Black Sands Brewing company in Kelston. Which is in West Auckland so fits with Waitakere United.
The Game : Auckland City dominated the 1st half but Waitakere United had the best chance hitting the crossbar, in the 2nd half seemed even until Auckland scored from a set piece and then the floodgates opened and it ended up 4-0 to Auckland City – there's a much better report here
The beer – well if you don't like Hops, don't buy these beers! But I love hops and these hit you like a Auckland City counter attack. Epic's Armageddon is big on everything Hops, aroma, flavour. An extremely tasty beer that you just want to have another off. On the label it says its “The answer to everything” I'm inclined to agree.
Weezledog is very small operation, brewer Mark Jackman seems to do everything bar the accounts which his wife does, I selected it because 1- I hadn't seen it before and 2 - the label was a nice parody of a Hipster (Hopster geddit).
There was a time in NZ when any new beer was great because it was different, but now with so many breweries around there is always a bit of an apprehension trying new beers (especially when paying $9 a bottle) but I'm glad I tried this. It is not too dissimilar to Epic's Armageddon, nice and hoppy. The bottle I had was a tad yeasty but that probably reflects the different sizes of batches that each brewer is doing.
So if the battle of the beers was a football match I'd say it would be 2-1 to Epic, slightly closer than the 4-0 Auckland City defeated Waitakere United by!
Auckland City lead the Premiership and the Beer Cup after one game will it last - I'll do a preview soon - anyone with any tips on beers I should try etc please comment or let me know