During that time, a number of small yet still interesting story have broken but there was simply not time to cover or they weren’t quite big enough for a whole post.  So, in the spirit of bloggers around the world, here is a selection of those stories presented as a series of observations in no particular order.

Age verification:  I do a lot of research for my beer columns and, contrary to popular belief, not all of it involves drinking pints at Malthouse with the Handsome Yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor Colin Mallon Esq.  Granted, much of it does but there are also hours spent poring through websites, magazines and even real-life books.

One thing that has started to bug me is the age verification rigmarole required for a seemingly increasing number of beer sites, both international and domestic.  Most global brands require you tick a few boxes or enter a birthday, as do local big boys DB, Monteith’s, Mac’s but interestingly not Lion.  DB wanted confirmation that I was of legal age to drink, Mac’s wanted a birthday and happily accepted 1January 1900, while Monteith’s engine wouldn’t accept that ridiculous date but did immediately admit me with a nominal birth date of 1 January 1901. *

The whole mechanism struck me as particularly pointless.  However, having the legal ability of your common or garden variety hedgehog, I consulted a technologically savvy brewer whose website, like most craft breweries, has no such age requirement.  He was not prepared to be named but said it had never been issue for his company and the verification requirement seemed redundant. 

He thought maybe businesses put it on in case their parent company operated in a country which required such mechanisms, or that they were scared of young people seeing their site, getting intoxicated and having someone sue them.  However, he made the fair point that if young people really want to see pictures of beer on the internet, they are pretty likely to be able to find them.  Or they could just lie to the age verifier.  I hope that is not illegal…

New word:  Legendary American Beer Writer Jay R Brooks recently provided me with a new beer word but I have been completely unable to use it in context.  The word is “capernoited” and it is an adjective meaning “slight intoxicated or tipsy.”  As responsible beer writers, we simply cannot encourage that sort of behaviour though on reflection it probably would have fitted nicely into the previous paragraph.

Those trousers:  Next, I wanted to talk about Yeastie Boy Stu McKinlay’s trousers.  Partly this is because Stu’s Trousers = Hits **, partly because part of the interview I did with him for the Here Be Monsters post had to get cut because of space limitations.  It is a story which deserves to be told to an adoring public.

I asked the most hard-nosed question of my beer scribe career: “Mr McKinlay, can you justify those trousers?” 

It was a bit of a leap of faith given it was a phone interview but it turns out he was wearing the green ones.  In reply, Stu acknowledged that he was probably unable to financially justify his colourful collection of pants but maintained that they were fun to wear, a good talking point and meant he was able to talk to people about something other than beer. ***

Russians crack down on beer:  Up until recently, the Russian Government basically encouraged people to drink beer on the grounds it was more responsible and, frankly, safer than vodka.  Boot-leg vodka is particularly dangerous, selling for around $3 for a half-litre bottle and killing 35,000 a year.  However, as part of a recent crackdown on drinking in general, the Government is looking to ban outdoor beer sales, boost beer taxes and prohibit airport beer sales. ****  A number of news sources quoted a Russian construction worker who summed the mood of many declaring defiantly “The Russian man will always drink.  Russians don’t surrender.”

Twitter Rankings:  If you are at all interested in the future of the human race, the ten most popular people on Twitter make rather depressing reading.  They include singers (Lady Gaga 1, Britney Spears 2, Taylor Swift 8, Katy Perry 10), talk show hosts (Ellen DeGeneres 6, Oprah Winfrey 9), people who are famous for no apparent reason (Ashton Kutcher 3, Kim Kardashian 7), the President of the United States (Barack Obama 5) and living proof that teenager girls run the modern world economy (Justin Bieber 4).

While no beer related Tweets are likely to approach Lady Gaga’s incredible 6,824,464 followers, it is interesting to look at some other rankings:

@williamshatner (William Shatner):    376,226
@johnkeypm (John Key):            13,791
@EpicBeer (Luke Nicholas):        6,535
@phil_Goff (Phil Goff):            2,161
@malthouse (Colin Mallon):        820
@rodneyhide (Rodney Hide):        143

Finally, before anyone complains, the title of this post was of course totally inspired by Cameron Slater’s ***** Random Impertinent Questions and that inspiration should be acknowledged with a knowing tip of the glass.

* That wasn’t the worst.  The Cooper’s website accepted 1 January 1700 as a valid date of birth.
** Rumour has it he checks Google for references to “Stu’s Trousers” on a daily basis.
*** Sample conversations include “Good lord, what happened to your pants?”, “How long have you been colour-blind?”, “Are those made in man sizes?” and so on.
**** Probably lucky Sir Geoffrey Palmer did not check the Russian drinking laws when he was writing his Law Commission report.  They might have given him even more ideas…
* Far, far better known these days as the blogger Whale Oil.   And no, I’m thankfully not the Neil Miller he rails against on his site.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


News Item – Craft Beer Sales – http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/4006731/Beer-drinkers-turn-to-small-producers
Here Be Monsters Malthouse Blog – http://www.themalthouse.co.nz/index.php/blog/143-here-be-monsters-hop-monsters
Revamped Yeastie Boys Website – http://www.yeastieboys.co.nz/yeastory.html
The Russians are Coming – http://drunkard.com/blog/?p=50
Malthouse on Twitter – http://twitter.com/malthouse
Malthouse Facebook Group – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wellington/Malthouse/7084276173
Real Beer – http://www.realbeer.co.nz
Beer and Brewer Magazine – http://www.beerandbrewer.com/