Staff Profiles in Courage: From the home of the West Coast IPA to the home of the WCIPA Challenge
Friday, 08 March 2019 15:00

This week we meet another new face in the Malthouse Class of ’19 – Corrina McAtee.

Corrina’s from South Bay, Los Angeles, right in the heart of the West Coast IPA scene. Five weeks ago she arrived in Wellington and took up a job in the WCIPA Challenge’s home at the Malthouse.

Corrina brings years of beer experience with her, having worked in Arrowtown’s craft beer oasis, the Fork & Tap.

“I’ve been in New Zealand for about four and a half years. I went to Queenstown because I knew I’d find secure bar work and because I’m a snow boarder. I knew I wanted to stay in New Zealand as soon as I got here.

“I absolutely loved Queenstown. Being from southern California the temperature in the wintertime was a little bit of an adjustment to be honest, but for the most part it was beautiful. Arrowtown is such a cool spot. I lived in Queenstown and commuted for 20 minutes with spectacular views. Fork and Tap is such a good little spot to get accustomed to all the different ways New Zealand does beer compared to California.

“I started out drinking quite an interesting wheat beer as I think most early beer drinkers start doing in California. (MillerCoors) Blue Moon Witbier. I can’t drink it now.

“My dad and my brother are big IPA fans and I didn’t want to be the little sister left behind so I’d drink big IPAs and kind of pretend I knew what I was tasting. Now I get to go back home and tell them a thing or two about New Zealand IPAs. The area I’m from is called South Bay. It used to have a lot of big factories that have closed, so a lot of that space has been taken over by craft breweries and there’s a booming scene over there.

“I honestly enjoy New Zealand’s take on West Coast IPAs more than the West Coast version. New Zealand-grown hops really makes that style shine in a dynamic way. It seems like in California everyone is emulating each other and using the same hops. I find them a bit one dimensional – they’re piney, resiny and you’ve got those notes down, but if we were to have a line-up of taps pouring California big-hop juggernauts I’d be struggling to tell them apart.

“I find that New Zealand hops are so dynamic and different from each other that you get a lot of different ways to portray a West Coast IPA and make it exciting. I’ve also noticed that the ABV tends to be a little bit higher here so brewers are not being as tame with it. Hands down I enjoy New Zealand hops more than I enjoy California hops.

“And the brewers over there feel the same way. Whenever I go home and visit a brewer it’s, ‘Did you bring us any hops? Where’s the Riwaka?’ The fame of New Zealand hops certainly reaches the other side of the Pacific and it’s an enviable position to be where I am right now. The men in my family are all big beer drinkers and I want them to come over here and try what I’ve been drinking.

“You know, I didn’t realise how much I actually do appreciate Deep Creek until we had the tap takeover last week. I really enjoy their hazy IPAs. Tuatara’s really good as well, you can’t fault them. And Epic Armageddon is the Thinking Beer - at the end of a shift I’ll definitely have an Armageddon while I think about what I’m going to have after that. Most times I just have another Armageddon! ParrotDog’s Colin and Keith are fantastic as well and every time I see them come on here – because I know our locals and I know our staff – I know if I don’t grab a pint now it will be gone.”

Apart from being a typical Wellington Hop Head, Corrina enjoys sours and is looking forward to Sourfest. After five weeks in Wellington she’s found a home and plans to invest in home brewing gear.

“I used to come up every year for Beervana, so my thinking was, ‘Where do I like drinking when I’m up here? Malthouse is long-standing establishment so they probably aren’t looking for staff but I’ll go in anyway’, and it was the right time right place. And ever since I’ve been coming to work and going home to Kelburn. Until yesterday I still hadn’t been to the end of Courtenay Place. Now we’re moving into Mount Victoria so I’ll have time to look around.”

Don’t forget – Sourfest 2019 is booked in, stating Friday 5 April and showcasing sours from all over the world plus brand new releases, one-off specials and much, much more.

Pucker your kisser and squint those eyes!


Martin Craig

Guest Malthouse Blogger