He asserted the politician “booed and abused the Wallabies” before suddenly leaving when Australia got on top.  Growden dubbed him the “Minister for Bad Manners.”  However, he did not name him and his only source was someone called ‘Jeeves’ [1] who Growden described as “our snout in the official box.”

There was immediate speculation about the Minister’s identity with iPredict launching stocks so people could invest real money in who they thought it was.  Jonathan Coleman – who has had a run-in at the same venue in the past – quickly became the early favourite as punters appeared to consider it unlikely that Gerry Brownlee would be in Auckland, that Steven Joyce would ever jeer or that Wayne Mapp would say a rude word in public. 

Proper journalists then went and asked people who were actually there (and prepared to give their real names) whether they witnessed any bad behaviour by Ministers.  They universally said they saw nothing inappropriate.  Larrikin sports host Marc Ellis even went on television saying that the only person who was drunk and rude in the corporate box was him.  A senior union official did say Maurice Williamson was “boisterous” at the game but that would appear little different to Maurice’s behaviour at all other times. [2]

It turns out there were three Ministers at the game – Williamson, Coleman and Mapp – and all three denied any abusive behaviour or leaving early.  In fact, all three reportedly stayed on after the game to fulfil their social obligations.  Growden still insists his source – who he will not name – is “impeccable” about the Minister – who he will not name – but investors on iPredict are now 98% confident the Minister does not exist. 

Tellingly, in the same column he made the Ministerial allegation, Growden also claimed a “high-ranking” World Cup official was throwing his weight around and storming out of hotels if the windows don’t open.  True to form, Growden won’t name him either.  What is the point of getting two ‘amazing impeccable and exclusive’ stories and then not publishing the names of these famous people who are behaving so badly?

The dispute did produce some genuine humour though with Phil Quin on the New Tasman blog producing a wonderful parody press conference by the guilty minister. [3] Here are the best bits but the whole thing is worth a read:

“My conduct was unbecoming a government minister, let alone one charged with the duty of hosting overseas guests even if those overseas guests happen to be Australian.

The barrage of abuse I hurled against not only the playing fifteen, but the very character of Australia and Australians — while at times hilarious and often technically accurate — was not acceptable, and for that I sincerely apologize.

“Cheating convict scum” is not an expression I should have used.  If I had my time over again, I would allude to Australia’s past as a convict colony, along with its historical propensity to violate the rules and spirit of rugby, in a more dignified fashion.”

A week today, the Australian rugby team will play the American rugby team at Wellington Regional Stadium.  In a tremendous literary bait and switch, it is American beer I want to discuss in this post – notably a US-style beer made here and a full-blooded import.

The local contribution is the latest Brewer’s Reserve offering from Emerson’s Brewing Company in Dunedin.  Each month, Richard Emerson unleashes another small-batch beer on an adoring public.  The current Emerson’s range comprises of four core beers, three seasonal wheat beers, three annual releases and up to twelve Brewer’s Reserves.

I note this because a quick dip into my archives reveals this quote from Richard Brimer’s book “Microbreweries of New Zealand” which was published in 1995: “Richard’s policy is to maintain two or three regular products and from time to time produce small batches of special ales or seasonal beers.”  It just goes to show how much Emerson’s has grown in the last year and a half.

Emerson’s Brownville Brown Ale (5.8%) is their take on the popular American Brown Ale style.  They describe those beers as having “complex malt characters and aromas with high hop bitterness, flavour and aroma.  Brownville Brown is a hoppy brown ale with an Emerson’s signature – Cascade and Amarillo hop aroma up front in an almost ruby brown ale.  A combination of light and dark crystal, brown and chocolate malts provide an edgy, roasted, chocolatey almost dry malt base followed by clean crisp finish.”

Firestone Walker is a well-regarded brewery in Paso Robles, California.  Founded in 1996, they made their name in pale ales.  Indeed, their fearsomely cool logo features a bear and a lion fighting over a pale ale.  As I have noted earlier, it could only be cooler if Chuck Norris was somehow involved.  The Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA (7.5%) is a robust 72 IBU Californian tribute to the classic British style.  Despite being dry-hopped three times with Pacific Northwest hops, the brewers insist it is “well-balanced.”  I certainly thought so although my love of hops occasionally draws some scorn.

Rugby and beer – life is good. [4]

[1] Almost certainly not his real name.
[2] I have seen Maurice be boisterous at a gourmet pie tasting session – where he also ate two pies for each one I consumed.
[3] Quinn subtly reveals his own thoughts on the accuracy of the story.  The URL to his post (but not the title) is “Apocryphal or not, someone should claim the bad manners minister mantle.”  The link is below.
[4] For the record, both Romania and Georgia are actually very good teams.  Before Scotland beat them, each was unbeaten in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


Minister for Bad Manners gets stuck into Australia [nominally news] – http://m.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/minister-for-bad-manners-gets-stuck-into-australia-20110912-1k61y.html
The Bad Minister Steps Forward [parody] – http://www.thenewtasman.com/2011/09/apocryphal-or-not-someone-should-claim-the-bad-manners-minister-mantle/
Emerson’s Brewing Company – www.emersons.co.nz
Firestone Walker – http://www.firestonebeer.com
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/