One of my favourite Homer quotations occurred when Bart returned home from a Junior Camper’s meeting.  A gloating Homer asked “How was jerk practice, boy?  Did they teach you how to sing to trees and build crappy furniture out of useless wooden logs?”  He then proceeded to laugh uproariously until the wooden chair he was sitting on broke and his generously proportioned bottom hit the floor.  At that point, Homer memorably declared “D’oh!  Stupid poetic justice!”

That maxim sprung to mind today during the genesis of this post.  Over on Twitter, Stu McKinlay from Yeastie Boys (@yeastieboys) asked Kelly Ryan from Epic (@EpicBeerKel) if he was “comparing hoppy ales with rich malty ales again? ;-)” [1] As is the way on Twitter, I (@beerlytweeting) immediately leapt into someone else’s conversation to offer my unsolicited opinion which was “No comparison.  Hops win!  Hops win!  Hops win!” [2]

It was at that point I remembered the Handsome Yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor Colin’s edict that the topic of today’s blog would be dark winter beers.  Stupid poetic justice indeed.

So, the season has changed and the trend is towards darker, stronger and more warming beers for the winter.  Never one to ignore broad societal trends, Malthouse has an expanded range of crepuscular brews for winter.

First up is 8Wired i-Stout.  The award-winning brewer writes “Beware, this is a BIG beer.  Brimming with luscious roasted coffee and chocolate malt flavours which are balanced by a brisk bitterness and bold freshness from the hops.”  Soren recommends matching it with cigar, a dram of single malt whisky or ice-cream. [3]

Also available is the limited edition 8Wired Smoking Barrel.  This is his famous 8Wired Smoked Porter which has been oak barrel-aged for even more flavour and character.  The brewer’s description states “we’ve taken our best porter recipe and added a good measure of that Bamberg Rauchmalz (Beachwood smoked malt).  The smoke mingles beautifully with the rich, dark roasted chocolate flavours of the porter without being overpowering.  Trust us; it really isn’t as crazy as it sounds.”

Next up is the Yeastie Boys Hud-a-wa, an English strong ale with a uniquely Yeastie antipodean twist.  As is often the case with offerings from this post-modern brewing company, punters will be asking “what the heck does the name mean?”  For once, it is not some emo song lyric.  Instead it is a bold Scottish name. 

The Yeasties explain “Hud-a-wa’ is Scots for ‘hold the wall’ and was the nickname of one of our great-great-grandfathers.  He was a strong fella who once held up a wall while his workmates escaped from a collapsing mine.  He’d have approved of this strong amber ale: rich and restorative, yet with enough hop to keep you coming back for more.  As Hud-a-wa’ would have said: ‘Here’s tae us, wha’s like us, damn few, and they’re a’ deid… mairs the pity!’” 

This beer has another claim to fame – it is the first that I have ever seen to have the brewer recommend an appropriate colour for matching pants. [4] Stu also denies that the Yeasties make winter beers saying “we have three lovely winter ales. They are also lovely summer ales!”

From Christchurch, the iconic Three Boys Oyster Stout has made its welcome seasonal return.  I previously asked the brewer Ralph Bungard how he describes the beer to potential drinkers.  He noted that some people turn their nose up at the idea.  “They are expecting a slimy little oyster in the bottle.  It’s nothing like that but a fair whack of salt actually gets in there.  That provides the brininess, the sea-side-iness which gets the taste buds working.”

In the next few weeks, Belhaven Wee Heavy will be making a very rare appearance on tap in this country.  In a previous post entitled “Och aye the noo” I wrote “Wee Heavy (which translates as “little heavy”) is a joking reference to the generally high strength of this dark Scottish beer style.  It is a beer which is designed to be sipped, savoured and fully respected.  This dark mahogany brew throws a healthy khaki head.  The nose is malty with hints of dark fruits and nuts.  A full-bodied beer, Wee Heavy is complex with lashings of fruit (plums and raisins), nuts and a little smoke.”

I also called out the Belhaven website for saying it is “cracking stuff if we do say so ourselves” with “I have to say that this is not a sentence I would expect to hear from the mouth of a burly Scottish brewer. It sounds more like something a bow-tie wearing advertising executive in England would type on his Blackberry while out for canapés with Tarquin.”

There are rumours of Belhaven Twisted Thistle on tap at some stage too…

In breaking Hopinator News, Tuatara Porter poured over coconut proved popular as did Tuatara Porter over coffee beans.  Colin therefore put 1 and 1 together and, in a first for people from Glasgow, got 2.  As a result, Tuatara Porter is now being served over coffee beans AND coconut.

Finally, the Friday Feast continues from 5pm each Friday.  It is not actually a buffet as in “help yourself tiger.”  It’s even better – the free snack food is actually brought to you on trays until it all runs out.

[1] The emoticon indicates Stu was actually smiling and winking while he wrote the comment and was not, therefore, being mean to the Epic Custodian.
[2] For the record, Kelly’s response was “Double Brown is both.  ;)”  Despite the smile and the wink, SOBA have requested his membership card back.  It should be noted that, unlike Stu’s emoticon, Kelly’s version lacks a nose.  This weakens his case somewhat.
[3] This alleged treat is apparently called an Imperial Stout Float by beer geeks.
[4] “Magenta (in a style that suits you).”  I am not making this up.  I cannot do colour themed humour at all.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


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