The Malthouse Blog
OzFest 2014: It is almost Aussie O’Clock at Malthouse
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 16:17

It is a well-established beer writing rule that you simply cannot write about Australian beer without fitting in at least one reference to a tube of Fosters, Paul Hogan

It is Tuatara O’Clock at Malthouse
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 15:14

After a hop fuelled August, things are slowly returning to normality here at Malthouse Blog HQ – or at least as normal as they ever are.

The biggest beer week of the year... again
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 12:33

Last week was simply huge at Malthouse and, as far as I can tell, every other craft beer venue in Wellington.

Follow the amber pint road to Beervana
Friday, 15 August 2014 11:37

For virtually an entire year I have always known next week was going to be big – the launch of Beervana party,

The Road to Beervana begins with a single step
Friday, 08 August 2014 16:43

In many ways, it seems like only three weeks since the 7th Annual Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge.

Celebrate like it is International Beer Day – oh wait, it is
Friday, 01 August 2014 11:56

Today is International Beer Day and I want to stress that this is a totally legitimate event.

You can tell because it has a website and surveys confirm that everything on the Internet is, in fact, true. The event was created in 2007 by some fine people in San Francisco to celebrate beer and the people who produce and provide it. 


IBD (as International Beer Day is known by award nominated beer writers like myself) has blossomed from a few friends at a San Fran (as San Francisco is known by edgy hipsters like myself) bar to hundreds of events around the world this year. I am proud to embrace this global phenomenon that I only heard about on Tuesday. The first Friday in August will always, from this day hence, be International Beer Day for me. [1]

The principles behind International Beer Day are sound. They include “Drink Good Beer with Good Friends” which is always solid advice. IDB also urges us to “Give the Gift of Beer” and I would certainly encourage people to give me a beers. To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, I like receiving free stuff. As the IDB website notes, it is “a well known fact that beer tastes better when someone else buys it for you.” [2]

Unsurprisingly, given the I in IBD stands for International, this day is an opportunity to “Enjoy Beers from Other Cultures.”  It has immediately prompted me to broaden my horizons. On reflection, it was clear that I have been drinking beers predominantly from First World countries (primarily New Zealand and America) with a smattering from the Second World (mainly Australia). Therefore, it is high time to try some beers brewed in the Third World. Consequently, I vow to drink a beer from Hamilton [3] 

The final pair of IBD principles are also dripping with hoppy wisdom. You should always “Thank Your Brewer.”  I’m so committed to this philosophy that soon I plan to pay homage to Richard Emerson and Father Chris O’Leary in Dunedin. [4]

Finally, International Beer Day is a reminder to “Thank Your Bartender.”  I firmly believe you can tell pretty much everything you need to know about a person by how they treat service staff – particularly if they think no one important is looking. So, this is an official thank you to all the persons around the world (and Hamilton) who make me beer or provide beer for me. I literally could not drink beer without you. [5]

Actually, I need to amend that. There is one bar staff person who I do not wish to thank this week and that is Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor of the Malthouse. [6] That is because he set me a near impossible challenge for this week’s blog. Clearly he felt that three weeks writing about IPAs and wittering on about greyhound racing was far too easy.

In this post, Colin is adamant that I have to talk about five beers at Malthouse as if they were hairstyles. [7] He even specified the styles – mullet, hipster side parting, buzz cut, pony tail and floppy fringe.  It has taken me all week to figure out but I’ve finally nailed it.

The mullet – the “business up front, party out the back” cut, “the calm before the storm” – is still beloved of bogans from Lower Hutt all the way to Upper Hutt.  Only one brewer truly embodies the True Way of the Bogan even though he now has a haircut and a real job. That is Joseph Wood from Liberty Brewing.  I therefore nominate his big juicy IPA Liberty Knife Party IPA as the beer my gentle readers should drink.  That means all the delicious bottlers of Liberty C!tra are left for me.

Time now for the hipster side parting otherwise known as the “I lived in Cuba Street before it was cool.”  Well, when you say “hipsters” and “beer” two images spring to my mind - Stu McKinlay’s trousers [8] and Garage Project Brewery in Aro Street. They (Garage Project, not Stu’s luminescent pants) make a wide range of beers, including approximately fourteen new styles each week, but the one I have drunk the most of over the years is their rather excellent Garage Project Pernicious Weed which is available in bottles. It should be noted that legendary Canadian beer scribe Stephen Beaumont considers this the best New Zealand beer name in existence.

Buzz cuts symbolise aggression so the nod had to go to the lunatics at BrewDog, an old friend of Malthouse. Punk IPA (on tap) is very “in your face” but nothing screams “over the top” like bottled Tokyo Imperial Stout, 18.2% of (responsible) madness.

Thanks to movies and reality, the pony tail will forever be associated with hippies. My favourite hippies are the good folks at the Mussel Inn in Golden Bay. They are still the only people who got me to use an eco-toilet and listen to folk music. Not at the same time obviously. In the Malthouse fridge is their crisp dry Golden Goose lager and famously distinctive Captain Cooker manuka beer. A pint of Captain Cooker is like head butting a sack full of Turkish Delight and gingernut biscuits. 

Finally, there is the floppy fringe, also known as the “flock of seagulls” or the “Honourable Peter Dunne.”  Only one figure in the brewing industry can pull off this problematic look and still have fan magazines written about him. [9] That man is Sam Possenniskie, the driving blow wave behind the Yeastie Boys. There are a number of Yeastie Boys brews available including the deliciously juicy Digital IPA, the always polarising “scotch and bacon or a hospital on fire” Rex Attitude and the dangerously approachable beer with a dubious back story, Hud-a-wa strong ale.

Dry July is over and, as I noted on social media, it was one of the roughest thirteen hours of my life.  While the news is today dominated by politicians getting on the wagon before the election, [10] Colin is taking the opposite track by putting up to a dozen of the West Coast IPA Challenge beers back on tap starting... now.

Next time, we drink to Epic Loves Bacon.  Mmmm... cryptic.

[1] I reserve the right to celebrate International Beer Day on a large number of other days as well.  Including tomorrow and probably the day after that.

[2] This “fact” is particularly popular amongst those of us of the Scottish persuasion.

[3] Happy 150th Birthday Hamilton – you didn’t think I’d forget a birthday shout out to the “City” of the “Future”?

[4] Well, technically they are paying... and doing all the actual work... but the thought is there.

[5] This is not hyperbole. My homebrew kit from Mangrove Jacks still sits unopened in the hallway...  mocking me, laughing at me, taunting me... 

[6] A worrying number of readers seem to think that I have some sort of man crush on Colin because of the Handsome part of his moniker.

[7] Everyone knows Colin used to be hairdresser right? Well, they do now. It is thought that Colin’s only current barbering clients are John Campbell and Jono Galuszka but fortunately it’s exactly the same hairstyle.

[8] No one is more concerned that this is the first thing I think of than me.

[9] Albeit fan magazines written by his business partner and his business partner’s wife.

[10] Thankfully not including Winston Peters or over one hundred hospitality establishments would be closed within days.


Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Beer and Brewer Magazine
Cuisine Magazine


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