Ciderhouse: Cider – now with added earthquakes
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 14:07

In the previous blog, I described last week as “an inauspicious week for humanity.” Subsequent events were to demonstrate this was a gargantuan understatement –

 Donald Trump was elected President and central New Zealand was hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake and subsequently approximately 1,459 aftershocks (as at 7pm on Tuesday). Quickly, the All Blacks loss to Ireland in rugby transformed into the feel good story of the week.

The strong and long earthquake struck around midnight on Sunday, causing two confirmed fatalities, widespread damage and several tsunamis. Given the late hour, people were frantically texting and messaging loved ones. I was impressed that the networks seemed to hold up well under an intense barrage of heartfelt messages. It provided a lot of people with solace in the darkness. That definitely included me.

Hardest hit was the town of Kaikoura – a scenic coastal township which just weeks ago was feeding British beer writer Melissa Cole the biggest crayfish she had ever seen. Now it is still largely without power and sewage. Helicopters and ships are being sent with supplies as road access remains dicey. Kia Kaha Kaikoura. [1]

Wellington took a major jolt – smashing windows, trashing offices and knocking items off shelves. People were immediately advised not to visit the central city unless absolutely necessary, and a number of buildings have been closed for days while repairs and checks are made. Some will not reopen for weeks. In breaking news, my street is now cordoned off as there is a major risk of a large building collapsing. I only heard about it through Facebook and a text from my mum...

I live and work in the central city – in the same apartment in fact – so I remained put. There was no damage to my place. A few things fell off the shelves, but books, empty beer cans and rubber ducks are unsurprisingly durable. [2]

Malthouse survived virtually unscathed with the sole casualty being a broken bottle of red wine. . Others were harder hit – Fork & Brewer had bottles and displays down but is open now, one central bottle store has on-going utility access issues, and a new Thorndon eatery is still trying to get the Imperial Stout out of the floor (it is much worse than red wine apparently). Best wishes to all businesses and organisations getting back on their feet as soon as (safely) possible.

Just a few days earlier, Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States by a comfortable margin. It was one of the biggest political upsets of all times and virtually none of the professional journalists, pollsters or pundits picked it. I did – kind of – in last week’s post. Sadly, at the last minute I hedged my bets on the final results, but the election did play out pretty much exactly like the scenario I outlined:

“For me, it all comes down to how voters really react to Donald Trump... if the secrecy of the booth prompts them to think “finally, I can say what I really feel and stick it to the establishment” then Trump sneaks home. I call this latter phenomenon the “The Shy Donald Effect” – similar to the Shy Tory Effect in the British election. People were simply not telling pollsters their true intentions.”

No one else is calling it the “Shy Donald Effect”. Literally. A Google search on that exact term reveals exactly one hit which was last week’s “From the White House to the Ciderhouse” blog post. It is quite exceptional to find a Google search with only a single result.

This spectacular failure at becoming a viral political commentator does lead me on to Ciderhouse, which in many ways is further deserved punishment for me. Malthouse Becomes Ciderhouse is an annual event where cider, always available at Malty, steps into the spotlight of the Ciderhouse celebrations. It starts at noon this Friday (18 November 2016) and runs through to 23 November though some ciders may sell out before then.

There will be an array of New Zealand ciders on tap, and plenty more in the stylish fridges. Moments after the last blog was posted, the official list of Ciderhouse ciders went up on Facebook. Here is the confirmed selection with my expert comments in italics:

Sprig and Fern Brewery Berry Cider Didn’t this used to have a cool nickname?
Good George Brewing Drop Hop –
Actually, I really like this cider. If I absolutely had to take fermented apple juice onto my desert island, it would be this one
Good George Doris Plum –
I was plum surprised
Zeffer Cider Company Single Orchard Heritage –
Heard good things about this from people who know a lot more about cider than me [3]
Zeffer Cider Apple Crumble –
Apparently really does taste like apple crumble, if you like that sort of thing
Peckham's Cider Adrian's Blend –
Made with “a hint of quince...”
Peckham's Cider Keeved –
An ancient fermentation technique apparently
Three Wise Birds Cider Bach Life –
Granny Smith apples for life
Three Wise Birds Gone Bush
Another hopped cider – I may have to give it a try.

Before Ciderhouse, Malthouse will be hosting a tap takeover of beers from Canberra from 5:30pm on Thursday 17 November.

Here is the list of Canberra craft beers coming on at Malthouse from Thursday. There are no expert notes or even “expert” notes as I am woefully in the dark about the burgeoning Canberra scene. It is a situation I hope to remedy shortly – starting with beer and bacon.

Bentspoke Crankshaft Orange – American IPA (5.6%)

Bentspoke Decent 16 - Imperial Stout (16.2%) - The brewer notes “our Birthday beer for 2016, a 16.2% Imperial Stout. Need I say more?” [4]

Bentspoke Barley Griffin - An easy drinking Australian Pale Ale with a subtle hop aroma (4.0%)

Bentspoke Puss in Boots – Sour Ale (4.6%)

Pact Mount Tennent - American Style Pale Ale (5.2%)

Pact 100 Acres - Americo-English IPA (6.0%)

Pact L Yeah – Pale Lager (5.7%) [5]

Pact Tennent’s Peak – Imperial IPA (8.0%)

Capital Coast Ale – Californian Common Lager (4.4%) 

Capital Trail Ale – American Pale Ale (4.7%)

Capital First Tracks Stout – Coffee Oatmeal Stout (6.0%)

Capital White Cockatoo – IPA Collaboration with Grifter Brewery (6.5%)

Zierholz German Pils – German Style Pilsner (5.0%)

Zierholz Hopmeister – English Style Pale Ale (5.0%)

Zierholz Hefeweizen – German Style Wheat Beer (5.0%)

Wig & Pen Velvet Cream Stout – Irish Dry Stout (6.7%)

Wig & Pen Sequoia – American Amber Ale (6.6%)

Wig & Pen King of the North – Imperial Brown Ale (7.1%)

Later in the month there will be beers aplenty from Pirate Life, another Australian brewery making a lot of waves. More details of them – and I have begun my painstaking research already – in coming blogs.

Next time, we drink to the brave emergency services and first responders around the country and around the world. You run into situations that most of us would just want to run away from. Thank you all.

[1] For our international readers, “Kia Kaha” roughly translates from Maori as “stay strong.”

[2] The only book to fall was “The Secret of Inner Strength – My Story” by Chuck Norris. I know this will not end well for the offending earthquake because I have seen all of Mr Norris’ movies (even the one with the terrible 1980s robot...)

[3] Alert students of this blog’s history (this is issue 383) will know that the list of people who know more about cider than me is extremely extensive. Probably easier to list those who know less...

[4] I must confess that when I first read the Canberra beer list I presumed a 16.2% Imperial Stout. Need I say more?” was a tasting note from Ciaran the ebullient, bewhiskered and au fait Malthouse Unit Manager. It was an understandable mistake.

[5] That unusual name looked very familiar and it was confirmed in the brewing notes – “According to Urban Dictionary, “L Yeah” is derived from “In the name of hell, Yes!” This saying expresses either great joy or agreement with either a speaker or an ongoing situation. It has been made popular by the WWE’s “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.” I am familiar with his cannon of work. It should be noted that Mr Texas Rattlesnake Austin is now involved in making Broken Skull IPA in collaboration with El Segundo Brewing in California.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


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