Despite these staggering figures, Colin is able to keep sourcing new and unusual beers.

This can require some effort and considerable personal research but he does it all willingly.  In a first for the bar, Malthouse is about to launch its very own beer.  Now, alert patrons will have noticed that there are no fermenters in the lounge and Robert’s favourite stool has not been replaced by maturation tanks.  How then can Malthouse make a beer?

Two words – contract brewing.  It is all the rage these days.  Colin designed the beer based on fond memories of a favoured Scottish ale and then handed the concept over to Steve Nally at Invercargill Brewery * to make it a reality.  The brew is finished and the resulting beer is called Malthouse Stingo, which will be arriving at Malthouse late next week.

“The Froth Blowers Manual” helpfully describes Yorkshire Stingo as “the name of a celebrated brew of beer, also of a famous tavern in Yorkshire.  Stingo may refer to several varieties of strong ale.”  It is an old word, fashionable in the eighteenth century as slang for strong beer.  However, its origins are even more ancient with records of a seventeenth century song lustily extolling the virtues of Stingo.  Like most songs of that era **, it does tend to go on a bit so here are the two best verses:

Stingo, or, Oil of Barley, or, A Cup of Old Stingo

There’s a lusty liquor which good fellows use to take
It is distill’d with nard most rich, and water of the lake
Of hop a little quantity, and barm to it they bring too
Being barrell’d up, they call’t a cup of dainty good old stingo

‘Twill make a parson not to flinch, though he seen wondrous holy
And for to kiss a pretty wench, and think it is no folly
‘Twill make him learn for to decline the verb that’s called mingo
‘Twill make his nose like copper shine, if his head be lin’d with stingo.

This was described as “a pleasant song for the maltworm in your life.”  For modern readers, the “Froth Blowers Manual” also usefully defines maltworm as “an Elizabethan synonym for a heavy beer drinker.”  I think I might put that on my new business card.

Stingo is also the name of a main character in both “Sophie’s Choice” and “Fifi and the Flowertots” but Colin swears neither of them were the inspiration for this beer.  He was inspired only by the strong northern beers of his youth.  I have no idea what Mingo means.

Brewer Steve Nally explains that Colin supplied with a recipe for a Scottish style ale and said “can you follow that?”  While Steve couldn’t source all of the exact ingredients, he did agree to make a New Zealand version of the recipe.  In terms of hops, he used NZ Goldings, NZ Fuggles and Pacific Gem hops.  Yeastie Boy Stu McKinlay gave him a “bit of help” with the malts with the final grist comprised of NZ Pale Ale, Caramalt, Pale Crystal, Pale Chocolate and Wheat Malt.  The result is a lightly hopped, malt-driven ale.

The recipe is based on the old Scottish 80 Shilling style.  Steve conducted a live tasting over the phone and came up with the following description of Malthouse Stingo (4.6%): “It is golden copper (off-red) in colour.  The aroma is light, sweet and grainy.  You are hit more by malt character – it’s quite rich.  Hops are there but very subdued.  It has a malty, soft, nice dry finish.  There is good bead, bit of lace on the glass – plenty of malt character there.  Very, very drinkable drop with that ‘I could have two more pints of this’ feeling.”

It is not a style Steve has made before but he describes it as “quite a cool beer to make.  One of the cool things about contract brewing is that I’m making beers I have never made and would never have made.”  In this case, he has made 12 kegs of Stingo exclusively for Malthouse.

Things are gearing up for the 3rd Annual West Coast IPA Challenge on Saturday 17 July from 3pm.  As should be remarkably evident from the Malthouse Twitter feed, Colin is getting quiet excited about the Challenge and has been counting down the number of sleeps to the big event for quite some time.  It is currently eleven sleeps for the record.

In the Challenge, Epic Armageddon will go head-to-head with Hallertau Maximus in a battle for brewing bragging rights.  Transient brewer Luke Nicholas will be making a rare appearance in New Zealand.  The air will be filled with heady scent of hops and the amelodic screech of air guitars.  There will be a full preview of this big event next week.

* The Invercargill Brewery is appropriately close to the Tuatara Lodge in Invercargill
** And most early albums by Genesis.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


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