The identity of the writer, the geographical location, the gender of the non-beer drinker and even the decade it apparently occurred is seemingly subject to change.

However, all the stories agree that the writer approached the person drinking wine at a beer event and asked them why. [1] The person replied that they simply did not like beer.  The watching crowd held its breath, expecting the writer to unload on this heretic.  Instead, to everyone’s surprise, including the wine drinker, the writer stepped forward, offered his congratulations and shook their hand.

After accepting the unexpected compliment, the person eventually asked why they were being congratulated.  The beer writer then explained “you are very lucky.  You said you don’t like beer at all so I’m presuming you must have tasted every style.  Even I have not managed that yet.”  Of course, what the person meant was they did not like the probably very narrow spectrum of beers they had tried before.  The writer’s not-so-subtle point was that there are always new beers out there and one (or more) of them may be the right beer for anyone.  The best course of action when confronted with a new and possibly unknown beer is to try it.

I put this into practice at the recent Wellington Food Show where the highlight for me was a beer I did not even know existed when I entered the Stadium concourse.  Perchance, one of the first stalls I saw was the very distinctive mike’s brewery set-up and the unmistakable presence of the affable Ron Trigg.  After a few minutes chatting over the bar and a pilsner, he grabbed a tap and beckoned me round behind the stand.  From a chiller bin he produced a small keg, attached the tap, poured me a glass and asked what I thought of the mystery liquid.

My first impression was American, a billowing hop miasma of citrus and passionfruit.  The beer was smooth with a fruit salad note and a long, lingering bitterness.  I loved it.  Ron then surprised me with the hops (all New Zealand) and the alcohol (much stronger than it tasted) but all was explained when he noted it was a collaborative brew between mike’s the hugely talented Joseph Wood of Liberty Brewing.  The full name of this delicious offering is mike/s brewery and Liberty Brewing’s TPA (Taranaki Pale Ale) and it will be commercially available soon. [2]

Of course, there is a flip-side to the “try everything new” philosophy which was demonstrated further round the concourse.  I bought and drank a bottle of Cucapa Clasica Cerveza at an enchilada stand because I had never heard of it.  As expected, it was a stereotypical 4.5% Mexican light lager which had few redeeming features apart from being served in a proper brown bottle instead of those horrible clear things so beloved of marketers who wear sunglasses inside.  However, I do not regret trying it though I have no desire to do so again.  At least now I am making an informed decision to not purchase and that is all that can ultimately be asked.

Those two stories were a roundabout [3] introduction to the theme of this post which is to highlight some of the new beers and new beer events at Malthouse over the coming weeks and months.  There are a staggering number of them so this is intended as a bit of a taster, signalling what is planned with the caveat that the exact timing for many of the new beers is dependent on when sufficient taps are freed up.

One event which is set in stone is the Major Moa Migration [4] which is landing at Malthouse.  It will showcase eight beers from the Blenheim Moa brewery on tap, many for the first time here.  The full beer list is Moa Methode (lager), Moa Blanc (wheat beer), Moa Pale Ale, Moa 5 Hop (Winter Ale)(both on tap and handpull), Moa Noir (black lager), Moa ESB and the muscle bound Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout The event starts at 4:30pm on Friday 17 June.

Next week, Coopers will be out in force with six varieties on offer.  These include the popular Pale and Sparkling Ales, the critically acclaimed Best Extra Stout, a rare chance to try the 2009 Vintage Ale on tap, and some of the first sightings of the relatively new Dark Ale and Mild Ale. 

I have had a bit of Cooper’s Mild in the bottle and can confirm it is by no means a traditional English Mild.  It is much more of a mid-strength (3.5%) flavoursome ale.   The website says it is an “easy drinking ale for active drinkers” but I quite liked it too.  Thankfully, there are no reports that Coopers Clear is even in the country.

At some point after the Cooper’s runs out, Malthouse is looking to introduce drinkers to two quality Australian micro-breweries – Moo Brew and True South.  Tasmania’s Moo Brew will be pouring their Pilsner, Pale Ale and Dark Ale.  From Victoria, True South will offer their New World Pilsner, American Pale Ale and the intriguingly named Fire Truck Lager.

The West Coast IPA Grand Prix will be held on Thursday 14 July with breweries such as Epic, Hallertau, Moa, 8Wired, Townshend and Mikes providing their interpretation of West Coast American Pale Ales.  There may even be some surprise entrants…

Around that time, Colin will have to find an opportunity to unleash his new selection of American beers.  The list includes Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin, Ballast Point Sea Monster and Alaskan Winter Ale.  I have only had two of that list but much more detail on each will be provided closer to the time.

As if all of that was not enough, there is a shipment currently somewhere between Scotland and Malthouse containing a fresh range of BrewDog beers in keg.  This time, the cast includes old favourites Punk and Hardcore, and new variants Alice Porter, Avery Brown Dredge (Imperial Pilsner) and Tokyo* (Imperial Stout). [5]

Whew.  I think I deserve a revitalising ale after that.
[1] If the beer writer is English, this happens after some polite small talk.  If the beer writer is American, this is the first thing he says.
[2] This rave review should in no way place any pressure on the Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor to procure a keg or two.  Rumour has it he does not read these posts before putting them up on the website…
[3] Albeit a Basin Reserve sized roundabout.
[4] Sadly changed to the much less catchy Moa Tap Invasion on Facebook.
[5] The last being the ten quid a bottle beer which was idiotically condemned by the Scottish Parliament for encouraging youth binge drinking.  Their youth must be a lot richer than me is all I can say.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


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