The constant pursuit of hoppiness
Wednesday, 27 August 2008 08:53

Blogging is apparently no long the exclusive domain of tubby guys in track pants posting their every waking thought from the comfort of their parent’s basement. In fact, web logging has become so thoroughly modern that even politicians, Te Papa and real journalists are doing it now. The good people at Pinnacle Life, for example, believe they have enough interesting observations about life insurance to fill “The Life Insurance Blog.” Therefore, it stands to reason that somewhere as funky and cool as the Malthouse should definitely have its own blog. And now it does.

This blog will be about the Malthouse and it will be about beer. There is plenty to write about because, right now, the Malthouse has 145 different beers on offer. Strangely however, the comments on this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of the Malthouse owners or managers because they are written by me – a beer writer and Malthouse regular. There is a rumour that Handsome Colin the Proprietor secretly calls me “his yacht fund” but his real nickname for me is almost certainly cheekier.

One of the many joys of the Malthouse is that it often hosts very rare beers on tap. That currently includes the first offering from newcomers the Yeastie Boys. Their Pot Kettle Black Porter is currently pouring and tasting great. The Yeastie Boys – Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie – are home-brewers living the dream and brewing commercially. PKB (as it is sensibly nicknamed) was made at the Invercargill Brewery under the watchful eye of brewer Steve “Huggy Bear” Nally.

Not only does PKB give Renaissance Stonecutter Stone Ale and the Mussel Inn Pale Whale Ale a run for their money in the “hard to pronounce properly after two pints stakes”, it is actually an intriguing beer. It is a heavily hopped New World porter with a fresh, citrus nose, a full body which mixes decadent chocolate malt with berry fruit notes followed by long, lingering finish.

From day one, the Malthouse has been one of the few bars to have the legendary Monk’s Habit on. This big, boisterous, outrageously good beer has been described as New Zealand’s most decadent pint and has twice been crowned Supreme Champion beer. You don’t count how many medals Monk’s Habit has won at beer awards, you it weigh them.

It is the flagship brew from the Cock and Bull in Auckland. Starting life as Belgian-style abbey ale, Monk’s has gradually morphed into an US-influenced Pale Ale. Many credit this change to the hop-heavy brewing style of the impish Luke Nicholas who was at the helm of the Cock and Bull for many years. It certainly is more American than monastic these days. The end product packs a punch and is filled with notes of grapefruit, orange and soft honey before an intense bitter finish.

There are rumours – sad rumours – that this fine beer may be harder to source in the near future. That seems to be a perfectly adequate reason to enjoy it now.

Finally, on Tuesday 28th October, the implausibly youthful Josh Scott will be offering beer tastings at the Malthouse starting at 5:30pm. Josh is the creative force behind Moa beer and will have samples of all the distinctive Moa beers including the new Belgian-style St Joseph’s and the Weka lager.

Cheers,

Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine

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