[1], but occasionally there is something a little more profound.  Today it is a quotation about the nature of writing by Nathalie Sarraute.

I am aware that beer blog readers – and indeed beer blog writers – may not be immediately familiar with the works of Mademoiselle Sarraute, a Russian-born French lawyer turned writer.  Her writing career spanned nearly six decades even though most critics found her work “difficult” because she abandoned many literary conventions, like plot.    

The quotation which caught my imagination was when she wrote “The act of writing is a kind of catharsis, a liberation, but I never really concerned myself with that.  I write because it interests me.”  There are two aspects of that thought which appeal to me.  First, I loathe reading boring prose and consequently endeavour not to write it. [2] It is my belief that the average reader should never be left wondering what point a writer was trying to make. Second, catharsis is good for the soul and using writing to “liberate” previously unknown information certainly appears to work. [3]

On that basis, I am using today’s post to make a shocking announcement: “I really like very hoppy beers.” [4]

I am aware that I have successfully hidden this fact from my loyal readers for many years but I can no longer pretend to prefer the gentle nuttiness of a 3.2% English Mild flavoured with organic hedgerow cranberries over the bitter brutality of a 7% American hop bomb.

At this point, I apologise to readers for this long-running and staggeringly effective deception.  Some of you might have stopped reading by now while others may be vomiting with rage.  In all likelihood, you are probably just casually flicking between this page, Facebook and TradeMe like most Kiwi internet users. 

Now that this startling admission has been made, I feel liberated to profess my genuine enthusiasm for the 5th Annual Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge – truly the hoppiest time of the year.  It takes place at Malthouse from 4pm on Friday 13 July 2012 with a record field of entries.  Here is the list as it currently stands:

The Impish Brewer Luke Nicholas, one of the instigators of the Challenge, is promising a return to his original recipe with Epic Armageddon Old School.  Fellow competition founder Steve Plowman will be taking the opposite approach with a new beer called Hallertau Bro’jolais.  

Looking to defend their 2011 title, Moa have produced the souped-up Moa 7 Hopped.  In a calculated bid to increase their odds of winning, Liberty Brewing Company and the Yeastie Boys have teamed up again and are thought to be entering both the Liberty/Yeastie Boys Motueka Raven and Liberty/Yeastie Boys Yakima Raven IPAs

Fresh from the delightful madness that was May Day 10.5% Double APA, the boys from Tuatara are entering Tuatara Double Trouble.  No strangers to heavy hopping, Renaissance have their Renaissance San Diego Pale Ale which certainly sounds the business. 

Garage Project will be entering for the first time with their offering, Super Angry Peaches.  Fellow debutant Dion Page is entering his Black Dog APA produced just round the corner on Blair Street.

From the thriving metropolis of Urenui, Ron Trigg and his team are entering mike’s Single American Pale Ale.  Personally, I would have preferred it was called mike’s Commando APA but I guess you have to know the back story for that one to really work.  Lovable cockney rogue Martin Townshend’s has drawn inspiration from the pride of Hamilton, beer lover Greig McGill, with a second iteration of Townshend Blitzgreig. [5]

Harrington’s Brewery will be joining the party with Carl Harrington indicating they will be entering an as-yet-unnamed brew.  Rotorua’s own Croucher Brewing Company do have a name for their offering, it will be the intriguing Croucher Cascade Patriot

In sad news, ParrotDog have had to pull out.  In good news, this is because they are too busy brewing in their brand new premises on Vivian Street.  The three Matts have already put down four beers and I can’t wait to taste them.  Malthouse hope to host a special ParrotDog beer or two later in the year with details, as always, as they come to hand. 


In additrion to this years main event, Malthouse will be doing sneak previews of some of the entries on Thursday night next week (12th July). Each beer will be released for 30 minutes at some point from 5pm onwards. The twist is, the beer will only be known by it’s entry number until it has had its turn and the next beer is pouring! So, come along and you be the judge.

See you at the Challenge.  May the best hop win.

[1] Still one more than Kristen Stewart of Twilight infamy. 

[2] The actual results may be mixed.  Some days I worry Stephen King was thinking of me when he penned “I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.”

[3] Sarraute lived to be 99 with her last book published just a year before her death.  Age however must have taken a toll on her features as she was played on Broadway by the leathery Glenn Close.

[4] This literary convention is known as the “swerve” or “a ludicrous amount of irony”. 

[5] If anyone else in Hamilton figures out to use Twitter, they may discover Greig is currently doing both Dry July and a low-carbohydrate diet.  If that happens, he will be driven out of town by a mob wielding pitchforks and burning torches, as is their tradition.



Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


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