"I'm a writer, a poet, a genius - I know it”: Beastie Boys and Yeastie Boys
Thursday, 14 July 2016 13:29

"I'm a writer, a poet, a genius - I know it”: Beastie Boys and Yeastie Boys

The title of this blog certainly sounds like something I would want to write about myself, but it is actually a real song lyric written by three men far more talented than me.

 [1] It is a line from “Car Thief” on the 1989 album “Paul’s Boutique” by Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "MCA" Yauch, and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz – better known as the hip-hop group Beastie Boys. It is also a rare example of a critically acclaimed and generally regarded as cool album in my record collection. [2]

Although the Beastie Boys’ earlier album “Licensed to Ill” was the second record I ever bought – after Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” 12-inch remix naturally – it is not the reason that this particularly immodest lyric headlines the Malthouse Blog #363. It is because the topic of this week’s post is the Yeastie Boys and:

a)    Their brewery name sounds quite a lot like Beastie Boys.

b)    They really like using song lyrics as beer names.

After an absence of close to a year, the Yeastie Boys are back on tap at Malthouse with six beers pouring this weekend. Referring to themselves modestly (and accurately) as “post modern craft beer cult heroes”, Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie burst onto the scene in 2009 with their flagship beer Pot Kettle Black (known to all as PKB).

Sam, who rocks the best fringe in craft beer, was based in Auckland, Stu McKinlay, five-time winner of the “outrageous trousers in brewing” award [3] lived in Wellington, and the beers were brewed in Invercargill by the most huggable man in world brewing history – Steve Nally of Invercargill Brewery.

This complicated arrangement turned out to be far too logical for Creative Director Stu and Director Creative Sam. [4] Consequently, they crowd funded a lot of money in a very short amount of time, Stu moved his family to Scotland so he could brew with fellow lunatics at BrewDog, he established European distribution deals despite the Brexit vote, Steve is still making the New Zealand beer and Sam appears to have been somewhat broken by a trip to Portugal and is now recovering in France. You know, just your absolutely standard run of the mill business model...

In reality, nothing is run of the mill about the Yeasties who have created a range of innovative, “off the grid” and “intergalactic” beers. [5] Now, a disclaimer – because everyone loves endless disclaimers – I have to take some of the credit and/or blame for Yeastie Boys flagship Pot Kettle Black (6%) which is now billed as a South Pacific Porter. Yeastie Boy Stu tells this story about its creation:

“Pot Kettle Black was one of those lightbulb moments that occurred following months of discussion with beer writer Neil Miller. I love malty beers and often think this hop craze thing has gone too far - pale hoppy beers fill every shelf around town, and everyone, everywhere, is talking about them. Neil is probably New Zealand’s most certifiable hophead.

Anyway, back to the PKB story, Neil and I spent a lot of time discussing the subtle, and not so subtle, intricacies of the debate around hop-fuelled pale ales versus marvellous malty monsters. It got me thinking about straddling the fence between us.

Although it started out in my head as a very robust American Brown Ale, I now think of Pot Kettle Black as an American-style Porter (or, perhaps, a ‘new world style’). Anchor Porter and Epic Porter were partial influences, though I always felt like both beers exhibit more black character than I wanted and that their hop character is too grassy/piney. They were hoppy porters, rather than porterish hoppy ales.”

While I feel Stu overstates my influence on the genesis of PKB, I will be forever grateful for him dubbing me “The Minister of Hops”, an illustrious title which now appears on my business cards. PKB is a wonderfully balanced beer with notes of chocolate, stone fruit, liquorice, toffee and cleansing hop bitterness.

Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta (6.5%) is a critically acclaimed “Tea Leaf IPA” but I personally cannot stand it. I don’t put beer in your cornflakes, don’t put tea in my beer. However, I am clearly in a minority on this issue because most people love the infusion of Earl Grey Blue Flower tea adding notes of tea and tannin over a fruity fat body and long bitter finish. It is named after a 2004 Paul Kelly song.

Conspiracy Theory – Yeastie Boys sometimes make beers just to enrage me. That is only explanation for taking my despised Gunnamatta and making a lower-alcohol version called Yeastie Boys Minimatta (4%). The weird thing is, I really like it. In Minimatta the tea flavour seems less intrusive and better integrated. This allows the other notes of peach, pine and spice to shine in a very responsible way.

The tasting notes for Yeastie Boys White Noise (4.4%) stress the “virtually non-existent hops” which would usually be a game breaker for me. Actually, this turned out to be another brew which made me wonder if the Yeastie Boys exist in the same universe as my presumptions because it is awesome and I don’t think it gets the beer geek love it deserves. Cloudy and pale, there are notes of orange, spice, lemon zest, warm bread, vanilla and coconut oil.

Stu describes Yeastie Boys Digital IPA (5.7%) as the “normal IPA” and he is almost using the term as a pejorative. I would like to retort that I drink more Digital IPA than all the other Yeastie beers combined precisely because it is beautifully made 57 IBU IPA with lashings of grapefruit, lemon zest, pine needles and freshly cut grass. Note to Yeastie Boys – it is not “normal” – it is “exceptional”.

The final beer in this post is the only one I have not sampled – which seems odd since it is likely the beer that I would probably adore the most. Yeastie Boys Chica Chica Boom Chic (7.9%) is a powerful IPA named after a Carmen Miranda song. This “I have not tasted it” situation needs to be remedied on an urgent basis.

Finally, here is a reminder that the 9th Annual Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge will be starting 2pm on Friday 29 July 2016. It features a huge (did someone say 25?) variety of West Coast India Pale Ales created by brewers around the country especially for this event. Each will be hoping to wow the panel of expert judges and win the coveted Golden Gumboots prize. I have seen the boots trophy so you know things are getting real. There will be more details next week.

 

Next time, we drink to those social media warriors who manage to doggedly remain offended on someone else’s behalf, even after the people actually involved have reached a positive resolution. I mean, folk just can’t be trusted to know if they are aggrieved unless it is on Twitter.

[1] This is a surprisingly long list.

[2] Why yes, I do have an extensive record collection even though I am not a DJ.

[3] The coveted Elijah Wood “Rock Lobster” Trophy. This is such an in-joke it is likely to collapse into a black hole.

[4] These are their actual job titles – I am not making this up.

[5] The last two descriptors are actually Beastie Boys song title making this rather clever in a hipster kind of way.

Cheers


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

Links

Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge Facebook Event - https://www.facebook.com/events/1762486550698939/

Malthouse Facebook - www.facebook.com/pages/Malthouse/7084276173

Malthouse Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/#!/beerlytweeting

 

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