From 7pm, the eight hopstars * will mill around the bar, pints in hand, to chat with customers who can ask the brewers absolutely anything.  Of course, there is no guarantee the brewer will actually answer the question but they will share insights into beer, brewing, branding and how to market a product when you choose to spend most of your money on making good beer

The line-up includes Stu McKinlay (recent star on the front page of the Dominion Post), Luke Nicholas (regular on the cover of Impish Zymurgical Gazette), Kelly Ryan (lauded on Pete Brown’s beer blog), Carl Vasta (Mr October – Shorts and Stubbies Monthly), Mike Neilson (future stint on Shortland Street), Steve Plowman (inspiration for Nude Brewer Dot Com), Daryl Sweeney (gardening columnist for the Westport Bugle) and Dion Page (featured performer at an upcoming baby Tuatara’s birthday drinks).  All brewers will have at least one of their beers on tap.

Let us take a look at each hopstar in turn:

Carl Vasta from Tuatara Brewery – The usual range of Tuatara will be on tap with the addition of Tuatara Helles.  According to Tuatara Sales Manager Will, next week is apparently the birthday of the entire Helles style.  In accordance with tradition, he will be sifting around Malthouse on Monday 21 March at random times giving away free pints to deserving punters.

Mike Neilson from Tuatara Brewery – Mike continues down the road to recovery faster than expected.  He will be answering all the tricky technical questions which Carl wants to avoid.

Luke Nicholas from Epic Brewing CompanyThe Impish Brewer ** will have his Epic Pale Ale, Epic Mayhem (making its first Malthouse appearance of the new season), and NZ Craft Beer TV Mash Up on tap.  NZCBTV Mash Up is the country’s largest collaborative brew with 44 brewers involved in the creation of a 6% hoppy pale ale.  This will be the first keg tapped and it will initially be on handpull.

Kelly Ryan from Epic Brewing Company – He is a deeply talented brewer with the official job title of “Epic Custodian.”  While this may sound menial, it is a big step from “Epic Janitor” which his job title last week.

Steve Plowman from Hallertau Brewbar – Known to the rest of the world for obvious reasons as “Nature Boy” or the “Nude Brewer”, this proud citizen of Riverhead will present two kegs of the National Homebrew Champion beer which he brewed commercially.  The winning beer was Dale Holland’s Belgian Pale Ale.

Stu McKinlay from Yeastie Boys – One half of the Yeastie Experience, Stu always makes a fashion statement at these events.  Malthouse spies have learned that Stu is having a new pair of trousers *** crafted by team of colour blind tailors in Ulan Bator who are working around the clock.  Details are scare but we are assured the pants will not be a colour which has ever appeared in nature before, except perhaps as a warning to predators.  Yeastie Boys latest offering Blondie: Rapture – a sessionable summer ale – will be on tap.

Daryl Sweeney from West Coast Brewing – Venturing off the Coast, Daryl will be accompanied by a keg or two of West Coast’s new limited release beer.  Brewery head Paddy Sweeney is typically forthright saying it is “called a Marzen and has been maturing in our tanks for 6 months.  At 6.5% the locals are calling it Kick Arse Beer.  It has a great taste and it’s disappearing.”

Dion Page formerly from Tuatara Brewing – Noted home-brewer and ex-commercial brewer, Dion will have his beer expert hat on when he co-hosts the big beer and food tasting event at Zealandia on 24 March. **** This event is to mark the second birthday of the first Tuatara born at the Sanctuary.

Over the last week, I have been trying to find out the gender of this lucky baby Tuatara but to no avail.  In desperation, I will resort to the only form of research less reputable than Wikipedia – an internet competition.  Here is the question:

What gender is the 2 year-old Tuatara baby at Zealandia?  The options are:

a) Male
b) Female
c) Michael Laws
d) You cannot tell until a Tuatara is older.

Answers should be sent to  The first correct answer which provides a verifiable source wins a free pint of Tuatara and a funky Tuatara t-shirt

* A new word created by Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor which may actually catch on.
** A new phrase created by me which has definitely caught on.
*** Colin wanted a “Donald where’s your troosers” reference here but I refused.
**** The relevant link is listed below.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


West Coast Brewing –
Tuatara Brewing –
Epic Brewing Company –
The world famous Imp – 
Hallertau Brewbar –
Yeastie Boys –
West Coast Brewing –
Tuatara Tasting at Zealandia –

Malthouse on Twitter –
Malthouse Facebook Group –

Real Beer – 
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