Great day yesterday taking the HEF to Parliament. Was quite a start to the day, it turned out my taxi driver was an ex Khmer Rouge child soldier. Fascinating but quite a conversation killer - what do you talk about? I dropped my bags at the Bolton (which incidently had an excellent selection of NZ craft beers!) and went to observe Question Time in the house. I've figured out how it works. You ask a question that isn't a question so your opponent is totally unprepared for the question you're going to pop out as a supplementary!
As fascinating as this was, I left after about 40 minutes to begin a mini solo pub-crawl. Started at the Malthouse for a Three Boys Oyster Stout on the Handpump. Its an oldie but a goodie and when you come from a beer desert its very much appreciated. Managed an argument with Roger from the bar (a patron) about the merits of the Monk's Habit on Tap. I said "Its delicious!" to which he maligned "But its not Monk's Habit!". Got to love the passion.
I made my way to Hashigo Zake for a Rouge Russian Imperial Stout and for good measure back to the Malthouse for an Hopwired IPA. Suitably fortified I made my way to Parliament for my maiden address to caucus.
I may have overstated the significance of the address. Nonetheless, we were eating Pies and drinking the HEF in the caucus room and I did make a short speech plugging the virtues of Rotorua's great pies, made by the Lam family, and New Zealand craft beer. We had a good turnout of famous new and old MP's. Roger Douglas, the statesman, drinking the HEF. Can't work out what I feel about that! Still wish I'd taken a picture. Simon Bridges, David Bennett, Melissa Lee, Michael Woodhouse, Maurice Williamson ... Maybe we've convinced a few of the lawmakers of the virtues of craft beer.
Next there was the option of listening to the debate over the smacking legislation or going to the Backbencher to watch the live TV7 pub debate, "Back Benches". We chose the Pub. A quiet Hoprocker later (is it just me or is that beer getting better and better?) we were back to the Parliamentary Billiard room for more HEF washed down with KFC as a bit of a do for the 2008 Parliamentary inductees. This was a great session where I can't believe how candid the politicians were considering there were two members of the media there. Luke Valentine from Classic Hits and Neil Miller, an occasional visitor to The Malthouse. I particularly enjoyed the nerve of Mr Miller successfully executing a jumpshot on the Parliamentary felt.
Two pieces of KFC, three HEFs, and goodness knows how much gossip later, it was all over and time to go home. Fortunately what goes on tour stays on tour.
I'd like to thank Todd McClay for his hospitality and drive to promote two successful businesses from his electorate. Thanks to all of those who came to try our wares - you helped make a great evening. A big thanks also to Luke Valentine from Classic Hits for driving from Rotorua to cover this event.
As a parting question to the house: There were 100 pies and 120 beers for 50 people. There were three left of each at the end of the night. Who ate all the pies?