Lions Tour Beer & Lingo Guide
by Paul Waite
5 Jun 2005
It’s 1993, and I’m at Athletic Park, Wellington. Gavin Hastings’ Lions are pumped to the max as they line up for an All Black restart late in the second half. They lead the All Blacks by 20 points to 7, and Brian ‘Pitbull’ Moore takes his station on the touchline. An embittered kiwi biffs an unopened can of DB Export Gold onto the pitch and Moore, in typical fashion, snatches it up, rips the top off and tips half of it down his throat before casting it away with a snarl.
No surprises there. There was better beer to be had in the Capital on the 1993 Lions Tour, and 2005 is no different. Serious officianados will want to get down to The Malthouse, on Willis Street where they boast the largest range of beers on tap in NZ. The Tuatara Porter, Monteith’s Original, and Good Bastards Lager (bottled) will see you right. A meander downtown to Courtney Place will require a serious stop-over in Molly Malones, where a Guinness is called for, and for all of you who want a big screen to catch the action, the Wellington Sports Café a bit further on has it all. Touristy types might fancy an excursion up the coast on State Highway 1 to the excellent Rugby Museum in Palmerston North.
Now, as far as the local lingo goes, when the folks in Wellington talk about “The Caketin” they mean Westpac Trust Stadium. When you see it, you’ll know why. Down South in Christchurch we have “Jade Palace” a.k.a. Jade Stadium, and in Auckland there is Eden Park known throughout the land as, er, “Eden Park”. A few of the cunning linguists amongst you will also have picked up on our rugby terminology. “Footy” means rugby. A “first five-eighth” is a fly-half, and “second five-eighth” is an inside center. The phrase “hard yakka” isn’t a bloke who yells a lot – it’s the grinding, sweaty business of forwards trying to push each other a yard or two in a scrum or maul which is something close to the hearts of “The ‘Naki”, whom the Lions take on in New Plymouth on 8th June. Oh, and, finally, “A Lion” is usually a glass of Lion Red – no offence meant.
No trip to NZ is complete without encountering The Maori. The Lions have a very close encounter of the rugby kind at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on June 11th. Watch out for a scintillating haka before this one, and some very bruised bodies afterwards. The pubs nearest to Waikato Stadium are Cardiff Arms, Biddy Mulligans and The Fox & Hounds, all very handy and all in Victoria Street.
As you travel down into the Frozen South to take on doughty Southland, remember to pack the long-johns. Neither the weather, nor the footy teams take any prisoners down there. And don’t forget to sample some Bluff Oysters along with a few SODs (Speights Old Dark). Up in the comparatively balmy Christchurch you’ll find the rugby atmosphere electric. If you can, get tickets to Canterbury’s Ranfurly Shield defence on June 22nd. The RS is NZ’s oldest and most prized competition, and some challenges of the past make a Lions v All Blacks test seem a bit tame by comparison. After all the excitement, wind down at the Holy Grail Sports Bar located in Cathedral Square. This is NZ’s biggest sports bar, is decked out as a shrine to Canterbury and Crusaders rugby, and has TVs in the toilets so the bladder-challenged fan won’t miss anything apart from the bowl. If you get there too late and its jam-packed, then try the big screens just outside.
The Lions take on Auckland and the All Blacks at Eden Park at the end of the tour. Whilst in the City of Sails, make sure you visit Galbraith’s Alehouse on Mt. Eden Road. The Bellringers Bitter and Grafton Porter slip down very nicely indeed. The Dogs Bollix on Newton Road, might also provide an excellent photo opportunity for the kind of travel-pic which sums up the tour!
The whole of New Zealand is hanging out for this tour. The provincial players are filing their studs to points, and eating raw steaks for breakfast in preparation. All that’s expected of the Lions Fans is that they enjoy the footy, and have a blast!
Now that can’t be too hard, can it?by