[2] Their version featured in the hit musical Moulin Rouge. The song has been covered by musicians as diverse as Sheila E (West Coast jazz), Lords of Acid [Belgian techno] and All Saints (Auto Tune).  The original is Rolling Stone’s 479th Greatest Song of All Time – Lady Marmalade.

Today, it is also the latest beer from the Yeastie Boys, New Zealand’s favourite post-modern brewing company and fashion templates.  Lady Marmalade India Pale Ale (5%) has been made in conjunction with Malthouse proprietor Colin Mallon who modestly claims to have “thought of the name and then later the style.”  After that, he explains, Stu McKinlay from the Yeastie Boys built the recipe and then Steve Nally from Invercargill Brewery made 1,200 litres of it.

Colin says the inspiration for the beer was the famous English Meantime IPA, something strong and bitter but also very well balanced.  He says Lady Marmalade has been “long in the planning, you could say” but happened because he has “always been a fan of the beers Stu and Sam come up and because I knew they could do it.  The Yeastie Boys have long been strong supporters of the Malthouse and I thought this new beer would strengthen that relationship.”

His confidence is reflected in the brew length of 1,200 litres, virtually all of which will only be available on tap at the Malthouse.  There will be guest kegs off to Pomeroy’s (Christchurch) and Galbraith’s (Auckland) but it is on tap at 48 Courtenay Place right now.  New beer involving the Yeastie Boys are notoriously popular so discerning drinkers should look to try it soon and should not let the ‘snow’ deter them. [3]

For those expert discerning drinkers, here are the specifications: Maris Otter, Munich and Dark Crystal malts, Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops, 1.055 Original Gravity (OG), 43 International Bitterness Units (IBU), 5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV). [4]

Malthouse staffer and trainee scribe Jonathan Galuszka [5] has tried Lady Marmalade and taken to Twitter proclaiming “It tastes bloody lovely!  Sweet malt, marmalade and smooth bitterness.  Very pale – virtually see-through!”  Yeastie Boy Stu McKinlay, who ironically has not tried Lady Marmalade, describes it as the “world’s first meta-contract brew – a contract brew made by a contract brewer.” 

Stu adds “Colin said he wanted something like Meantime IPA but sessionable.  I listened to a podcast of the brewer at Meantime and got a few tips.  I tried to make something similar but toned a bit.  There are still plenty of hops in there but it does not have that alcohol burn.”  He thinks the name might match the flavour profile because both the Fuller’s yeast and English hops can have a marmalade character, provided there is a good rich malt base.

Lady Marmalade is, according to Stu, “a bit of fun between Colin and I” and the Yeastie Boys certainly have been having fun recently.  At the 2011 Brewers Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards, they picked up the Morton Coutts Award for Innovation for making Rex Attitude – the world’s first beer which uses 100% smoked peat malt. 

It certainly is innovative but not to everyone’s taste.  The Yeastie Boys told Michael Donaldson from the Sunday Star Times that “nine out of 10 Kiwis don’t like it.”  Donaldson says “the first whiff is campfire meets medicinal and the first taste sends confusing messages to your tastebuds.  Could it actually be whisky diluted with beer?  Rex Attitude bears more resemblance to a Laphroaig whisky than Lion Red.”  Donaldson concludes “for once in my life I’m swimming with the mainstream . . . I don’t like it.  But I can see why you would and I appreciate the out- there-ness of it.”

Chef Shaun Clouston had a similar reaction to Rex but challenged himself to find a food match which really worked.  After trialling a number of options, he settled on a flavoursome kedgeree which was served at the beer and food matching session we ran at Beervana. 

Kedgeree – easily my favourite Anglo-Indian breakfast dish even if Jamie Oliver likes it too – brings a lot to the table.  The smoked salmon brings in matching smoke and oil, there are chilli flakes for heat but also some unsweetened yoghurt which rounds out the beer, the lemon juice brings in some cut while judicious seasoning picks out some of the deep almost herbal notes in the glass.

It was a great match for a beer some considered could not go with food.  The chef simply applied his knowledge of flavours until he found something which worked and – in my opinion – worked wonderfully.  However, I remain largely unconvinced at the wisdom of drinking Rex Attitude with breakfast!

Lady Marmalade is pouring now at Malthouse with the majority of the Yeastie Boys range is available in bottles.  There is also a reasonably high chance of running into the man with outrageous trousers who created the recipe, or the man with outrageous shirts who thought up the concept.

Gitchi gitcha ya ya here – indeed.

[1] Albeit pre-rap explicit lyrics which also happened to be in French.
[2] It was not all plain sailing for this super-group with a number of subsequent divorces, stints in rehab, some jail time and, worst of all, appearing on Dances with the Stars.
[3] Colin would not let me call it real snow because apparently he has been in “places where it really snows.” 
[4] One more acronym in a single sentence and this post would have officially turned into a report by The Treasury.
[5] There are rumours the Sunday papers are trying to find where John Campbell was nine months before Jonathan’s birth.  I could not possibly comment.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


Yeastie Boys – http://www.yeastieboys.co.nz/
Michael Donaldson on Rex – http://otitori.blogspot.com/2011/08/its-attitude-that-counts.html?spref=tw
Logan Brown – http://www.loganbrown.co.nz/
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/