“No need for an Apocalypse, can’t we all just find some Common Grounds”
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 08:55

So, Donald Trump is the President of the United States

 (POTUS). Not many saw that coming. In an earlier politically astute Malthouse blog I did sketch out how this scenario might be possible (“The Shy Donald Effect” – people won’t tell pollsters they are voting for the D) but, at the last minute, to my shame I hedged my bets and predicted Hilary Clinton would win. 


In my defence, by every single rule of political campaigning, she should have. Me, I should have stuck to my guns and then I would have been one of about four on-line pundits globally to predict what actually happened.

What actually happened is still a matter of heated debate and occasional riots. Trump is a polarising figure but still has over 40% support consistently across a myriad of polls, and he comprehensively won the Electoral College (a voting system that has been in force since 1804) in a democratic election.

Now, I do not like Trump despite the fact that he is a member of the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame. I do not like his anti-free trade stance – but the fact that his rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) means left-wing activist/academic Jane Kelsey now has to support Mr Trump on this issue gives me some perverse pleasure. She will doubtless find a loophole. [1]

On one side we have the anti-Trump brigade proclaiming everything he does or is expected or is predicted to do as “Nazism” and/or “Fascism”. Those people need to read some history and reflect on what Nazis and Fascists (and Communists) actually inflicted on the world. On the other side we have commentators using the term “Trump Derangement Syndrome” to dismiss and indeed condemn all criticism of the fledgling President.

They have a point – at times. Headlines attacking Trump because one of his business associates from 20 years ago allegedly commited a crime is over the top. Conversely, POTUS claiming there were terrorist attacks in Sweden and Sweden is all like “this is news to us” then refusing to back down is not going to get a gold medal in Presidency-nosity.

The quote in the title is from the weakest of sources – me. Mainly because I could not find anyone famous that said it. However, it still reflects the tension in the modern society – build some common ground or just watch the world burn...

The conciliatory end of the invented quotation is literally about sitting down and sorting out the world’s problems over a cup of coffee. Personally, I like to fix global issues over a pint of beer, but this beer lets you do both at the same time. [2] From a highly-rated brewery in beautiful Huddersfield comes Magic Rock Common Grounds Porter (5.4%).

It is made with 7 different malts and 7 different types of coffee from (their) local roaster Dark Words. Now, that is a lot of coffee and it is added at 3 distinct points during the brew. Coffee experts (of which I am not one) frequently claim to be able to taste the qualities of the individual coffees. Who would be able to better judge this claim than Wellingtonians? After all, they live and sip in the city that boasts more coffee shops per capita than New York. [3]

Putting aside that debate, Common Grounds is a smooth and rich porter, with notes of fresh coffee, cocoa, espresso, vanilla, nuts, toffee, damson, and much more. It is yet another Magic Rock beer which is ranked in the 90s by reviewers on RateBeer.

On the other side of the equation, it should be no surprise to see Luke Nicholas “The Impish Brewer” smiling mischievously. After all, this is the man who has already brought the beer world an Epic amount of Thunder, Mayhem, Stone Hammers, Armageddon, the Gods of War and a plague of Hop Zombies. [4]

The ante continues to be raised with Epic Apocalypse (6.8%) which is officially a Black IPA but gives a little nod to the alternative Cascadian IPA with the tap colours inspired by the flag of the want-to-be nation of Cascadia. This secessionist movement in western America has probably been boosted by the election of President Trump.  

It is strong and uses similar (but not the same) hops as Armageddon, but in roughly the same quantities. The result is a full bodied black ale, with chocolate, coffee, caramel, citrus and pine all playing together surprisingly nicely (given the name).

So it is already a big beer but Malthouse wanted to make it “HUUUUUGE!” [5] Their solution was to pour Apocalypse through the Modus Hopperandus stuffed full of Habernero chillies.

Seasoned drinkers of Hopinator chilli beers will tell you that these types of beer are usually fieriest at the start before mellowing to more of a lingering, loving heat. In this instance, they are quite right. The difference can be pronounced over just a few days. The only way to find out for sure is to check.

Next up is a beer I have wanted to talk about for a long time. I got one by complete chance (bumped into the brewers in a pub) and procured several more on purpose (gave a staff member some of my hard-earned money for it). It is Birkenhead – Ninkasi Beautiful Trouble IPA (7%). To explain, Birkenhead is an up-and-coming Auckland based Brewing Company run by Steve Simms and Brad Boult who both hold the modest job title of Beer Baron. Their Kauri Double IPA is excellent and – shameless plug – appears in the current issue of Cuisine magazine.

Ninkasi is a legendary American craft brewery based in Eugene, Oregon. Their first beer was modestly called Total Domination IPA. I can still remember my first sip of it – beer was that good. It was also far from my last sip of a Ninkasi beer. This brewery is so cool that if your spell-checker does not recognise “Ninkasi” then the first suggestion is “Ninjas” and everyone knows that ninjas rule!

So, it made sense for them to collaborate. [6] They each share a commitment to quality beer, love making hoppy pale ales and are confident in their use of nomenclature. Together they have produced Beautiful Trouble and it delivers beauty (citrus, orange, grass, caramel, bitterness) and trouble (it is dangerously drinkable for 7% if you enjoy aggressively hopped beers). The only aspect I do not enjoy is that even just writing about Beautiful Trouble makes me want one immediately but my office (sensibly) contains none. [7]

It is almost like the promotional material for Liberty Hoptical Illusion IIPA (8%) was designed to make me march into Malthouse, tip the contents of my wallet on the bar and announce “take whatever you think is fair for this beer.” Here are two highlights from the blurb:

We jammed unconventional amounts of Simcoe, Sauvin, Mosaic and Columbus into every facet of the beer making process. We sourced a rare yeast strain from the East Coast of the USA.”

There we have it – some of my favourite hops, lots of them, dry-hopping and more, and a new yeast strain to befriend. Early reports indicate it is surprisingly balanced, certainly hop-forward and easy drinking for the style. It is on my to-do list. [8]

In their bustling brewery in Waikanae, the team at North End have combined oats, caramelised rye and chocolate wheat malt, a quirky grain bill. They then add their trademark fruity English yeast and some sparkling Pacific Jade and New Zealand Willamette hops. The end product is North End Iron Sands (6%), a complex but smooth Oat Rye Stout showcasing espresso, seriously dark chocolate, hazelnut, orange peel and raspberry, and it’s on handpull?!

All beers will pouring this week from Thursday.


Next time, we drink to the demise of Provisional Tax – because f*** you Provisional Tax. [9]


[1] Predicated on Ms Kelsey being opposed to free trade and not just right wing Governments making free trade agreements.

[2] That has to be positive for personal productivity and world peace.

[3] I keep seeing this comment pop up in local and international media but I am not sure it is true. When the phrase was coined by a former Mayor it most certainly was not – it was “aspirational”. Someone get My Favourite Economist Eric Crampton to do the maths!

[4] It is rumoured that “Thunder and Mayhem” are nicknames for Chuck Norris’ legs. My email request for confirmation was roundhouse kicked straight off the Internet.

[5] I hope Mr Trump does not trademark this like he tried to with “You’re Fired.” Hundreds of mediocre comedians would be out of work instantly.

[6] First time for Birkenhead. Ninkasi has a LOT more experience in the collaboration field.

[7] At least, none for very long and only for research purposes,

[8] I have promoted it above about 176 other items on my to-do-list so it might actually get done.

[9] If you run a real business, you know.


Cheers


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


Links

Magic Rock Brewery – https://www.magicrockbrewing.com/about/

Epic Brewing Company – www.epicbeer.com

Birkenhead Brewing Company - http://www.birkenheadbrewingcompany.com/

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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