After an introspective and occasionally indulgent blog last time about the zeitgeist of modern journalism, this post is basically all about beer. Specifically, it is about some interesting beers now available at Malthouse.

First up is the return of BrewDog Punk IPA and the Malthouse debut of BrewDog Paradox (Isle of Arran). BrewDog is a long-time Malthouse favourite based in part on the friendship between Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Proprietor and BrewDog Head of Stuff James Watt, and in part on the quality of their beers.

About to celebrate their fifth birthday, BrewDog have achieved international prominence through outrageous publicity stunts including posters showing their beers standing triumphantly over smashed mainstream brands and hiring a punk dwarf to lobby Parliament.  In fact, I have probably been sent more BrewDog articles and links by non-beer people than all other breweries put together. They are that good at getting attention. Beer writer Pete Brown explains by using the example of his mother:

“If you ever read anything about beer at all, chances are you will have heard of Scottish brewer BrewDog.  Let me put it another way: my mum lives in Barnsley. She has no interest in beer beyond the fact that I write about it, and a fondness for necking a few cans of Stella.  And when I go home to visit, she’ll say, “I see BrewDog have been in the news again.”” [1]
BrewDog Punk IPA is called a “Post Modern Classic Pale Ale.”  The brewers say “this 5.6% transatlantic fusion IPA is light golden in colour with tropical fruits and light caramel on the nose. The palate soon becomes assertive and resinous with the New Zealand hops balanced by the biscuit malt.  The finish is aggressive and dry with the hops emerging over the warming alcohol.”  My experience of this beer is that the hefty 45 IBU bitterness rating is helped by the generous use of Nelson Sauvin hops. I have had it on number of occasions and it is a cracking good IPA.

Punk was ticked off by Scottish authorities because the label described this beer as “aggressive”.  To the bureaucratic mind, this was nothing less than a veritable incitement to “anti-social behaviour.”  BrewDog responded in typical fashion by saying:

“If I wanted to encourage anti-social behaviour my labels would state:

Step 1: Drink bottle of Punk IPA
Step 2: Blow up a goose with a foot pump and use it as a Harmonica to play various Celine Dion hits.
Step 3: Hit any small children with a German sounding name (e.g. Andreas) over the head with a peppered sausage.”

BrewDog Paradox (Isle of Arran) is part of their Paradox range which sees Imperial Stout aged in whisky casks from around Scotland. Isle of Arran is a relatively new distillery and BrewDog says it is “really exciting for us to have a partnership with another young, independent Scottish company.” 

They also note “a lot of the casks Arran distillery uses are former sherry casks which gives this edition of Paradox a little more sweetness which is balanced by hints of cinnamon and ginger with lovely aromatic, zesty fruit flavours.”  Weighing in at a somewhat hefty 7.5%, the other Paradox beers have gone down well in New Zealand and I expect this one to be no exception.

Also hailing from bonny Scotland is the multi-award winning Harviestoun Schiehallion lager. [2] Like BrewDog, Harviestoun is an independent brewery but is far more conventional in their marketing and promotions.  The Schiehallion is in the top 1% of Premium Lagers listed on RateBeer and is a particular favourite of British beer writer Melissa Cole.  She said 4.8% Schiehallion “makes it into my top 10 list of drinkable beers every time and it’s just one part of a well-balanced, interesting and innovative range of beers from a very accomplished brewery.” [3]   

Also returning is the smooth Sam Adams Boston Lager, the iconic Meantime IPA, and the critically acclaimed Meantime Porter. These will be joined by fresh stocks of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Torpedo, one of the finds of 2011 for me.

Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Proprietor is also looking for suggestions of new combinations to grace the magnificent Hopinator.  All you need to do is select a Kiwi craft beer on tap at Malthouse and the accompanying ingredient (or ingredients) which go into the sacred chamber of the Modus Hopperandus. [4]

All suggestions should be sent directly to If your combination is selected, you will be invited to have the first pint. There is even a chance Colin may actually shout you. [5]

[1] Substitute Dad for Mum, Tawa for Barnsley and Speight’s Old Dark for Stella and I could write that same sentence.
[2] Schiehallion is, of course, one of Scotland’s highest and most popular mountains.
[3] The beer writers quoted in this post, Pete Brown and Melissa Cole, share the honour of having the first barrels containing what went to become Epic Oak-Aged Armageddon IPA named after them.
[4] Any suggestions involved meat products will not be considered. Jules, we are looking at you mate.
[5] The Malthouse team of in-house law students advise readers to pay particular attention to the word “may”.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


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