The self-described “post-modern brewing company” which has just that little bit more fun than everyone else” saw their Gunnamatta IPA crowned “The People’s Choice” at Melbourne’s Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular.  Then, Pot Kettle Black Porter won a Gold Medal at the Asian Beer Awards and was crowned Champion Beer of the event.  At this rate, the Yeasties will soon need resource consent to expand their bulging trophy cabinet. 


Back in New Zealand, both of these award-winning beers are currently on tap at Malthouse.  While PKB [1] has been a staple of the Yeastie stable for many years, Gunnamatta is brand new and reportedly unique because it uses tea.  Described as a “tea-leafed” IPA, it is infused with Earl Grey Blue Flower from Wellington tea company t Leaf T. [2] This varietal was chosen after a large number of tea tastings because of its “pungent perfume of citrus and floral notes”. 


Yeastie Boys Creative Director Sam Possenniskie argues the beer takes the celebration of the development of India Pale Ale one step further than normal.  This kind of ale was shipped from England to India and, once emptied, those ships were filled with tea for the return journey.  This beer also goes both ways.”  This is flatly rejected by Yeastie Boys Creative Director Stu McKinlay later in the same Yeastie Boys press release. 


Describing Sam’s version as “some interesting intellectual text”, Stu insists he “just got fed up with chocolate and coffee beers being the trend du jour and thought it was time to put tea into the limelight.  I grew up in a tea drinking family, so it has always been my hot drink of choice.  We had tea with breakfast, morning tea, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper and before bed.  We’d even slip a few in between just for tea’s sake.  It was part tradition, part theatre – just like this beer is for us now!”


I grew up in a Scottish household which had exactly the same philosophy regarding tea.  It was always “tea o’clock” around my place which probably explains why I was basically tired of tea by age 10.  It was not until age 15 that I was actually brave enough to refuse a cuppa. 


Many others clearly remain fans of tea with Gunnamatta beating 60 other breweries to be crowned the “People’s Choice” in Melbourne. [3] As well as the tea, there are Pacifica, Motueka, Southern Cross and Pacific Jade hops and this 6.5% beer has a hefty 52 International Bitterness Units.  It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea [4] but should be tasted by every serious beer fan. 

Those wanting to try the beer that won over Melbourne will need to be quick though.  Because of the Yeastie Boys apparent belief that the beer’s success was largely dependent on the recent Transit of Venus, the next batch of Gunnamatta is not expected until 2117. 


In Singapore [5], there were 350 entries in the Asia Beer Awards.  Pot Kettle Black won a gold medal and was crowned champion Porter early on.  The ten highest scored beers then faced a second round of judging before the Yeastie Boys flagship was announced as the Champion Beer. 


Despite probably being the smallest brewery entered, the Yeastie Boys beat brews from Germany, America, Belgium, England, Australia and Belarus.  Word took a while to filter through to Yeastie HQ and official confirmation took a little longer but Stu says they were ultimately “thrilled” to beat some of their “brewing heroes”. 


Unlike the Gunnamatta press release, Sam did not argue with his co-founder.  Instead, he went onto praise the team at the Invercargill Brewery where the beers are all contract brewed.  Sam said “Steve Nally and his team at Invercargill are doing an amazing job for us.  We’re pushing them in regards to volume, and the creative use of their brewery, but they just keep on coming up trumps.  It’s becoming a partnership not unlike Hadlee and Chatfield in the 1980s.  We may be seen to be taking all the metaphorical wickets at one end but we couldn’t do it without the consistency of the team at Invercargill.” [6]


Described variously as an American-style Porter, a Black IPA and a Hoppy Porter [7], PKB is a balance of decadent malt and spicy hops.  The punters at RateBeer certainly love it with an overall rating of 97.  That puts it at the pinnacle of the style globally.  Looks like the Yeastie Boys are beating the big boys on-line as well.


Postscript: Regular readers waiting for the inevitable barrage of jokes about brightly coloured trousers should not despair.  They should just be disappointed.  There are none… today.


[1] As it is affectionately known to its legions of fans.


[2] Not affiliated with Ice T or Mr T.


[3] For those wondering WTF about the name, Gunnamatta is a beach in Victoria, Australia which in 2004 inspired a Paul Kelly instrumental track which in 2012 inspired the Yeastie Boys to make a tea-leafed IPA.  For those wondering WTF about the blog title today, Skills to Pay the Bills was a 1992 video album by the Beastie Boys.  Stu is not the only one who can do obscure names.


[4] That pun was inevitable as Jeremy Clarkson offending a public servant who drives a hybrid and wears a cardigan.


[5] National motto: Onward Singapore.  Now, before you start to snigger, it is very important to note that the former national motto of New Zealand was “Onward”.  Both are easily trumped by the Bahamas whose motto is “Forward, Upward, Onward, Together”.


[6] In 1986, Richard Hadlee tried to controversially retain the Alfa Romeo he won rather than share with his teammates.  In 2012, Ewen Chatfield drives a luxury car every single day.  Mr Chatfield works for Corporate Cabs.


[7] And that is just on the Yeastie Boys official Pot Kettle Black page. 






Beer Writer

Real Beer New Zealand

Beer and Brewer Magazine



Yeastie Boys –

Yeastie Boys on Facebook –

Beervana –

Malthouse Facebook –

Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter –!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter –

Real Beer – 

Beer and Brewer Magazine –