According to some interpretations of their ancient yet squiggly calendar, the entire world will end on 21 December 2012 in a flurry of storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and – if the movie 2012 is an accurate guide – some truly lamentable attempts at emoting by John Cusack. [1] 

Personally, I’m not convinced.  It has been famously said that you can use statistics to prove pretty much anything and that eminent economists have predicted eleven of the last two recessions.  My theory is that the harried Mayan bureaucrat drawing up the calendar either ran out of space writing on the roof of the temple or thought “seriously, who will still be checking my work in 2,000 years time?” 

I confidently predict that that 21 December 2012 will enter popular culture as the “Mayan April Fool’s Day.”  At least if I’m wrong, there won’t be anyone alive to laugh at me. Colin the Handsome Yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor of Malthouse is so convinced that the world will not end this week that he has scheduled the first beer launch of 2013. [2]

Now, this is not just the first beer launch at Malthouse in 2013, this is conceivably the first beer launch in the world in the New Year.  On the stroke of midnight on 31 December 2012, [3] Malthouse will launch Fork & Brewer Happy New Beer Helles, a brand new 4.8% lager.

The Fork & Brewer [4] is the sister pub to Malthouse and their Bond Street upstairs location contains a shiny and, let’s be honest, quite sexy 1,200 litre brewery. Fork & Brewer Helles is a crisp, dry, easy drinking lager produced by brewer Lester Dunn. [5] Helles is the everyday session beer of Bavaria.  Now, if Bavaria was a country, it would have the highest consumption of beer per person in the world.  When the rest of Germany drags the average down, that is when you know that Bavarians truly enjoy their beer.

Following the strict literalism of German beer style names, Helles simply means “pale”. It is generally a straw blond beer, moderate alcohol, bready malt body, floral hop aromas and mild bitterness.  I’m being deliberately vague here because the Fork & Brewer Happy New Beer Helles is so new that even I have not tried it yet.  I’m unlikely to venture out on New Year’s Eve (assuming the world still exists) but for those that do it should be noted that Malthouse has no cover charge. 

Other beers coming on tap at Malthouse over the festive season include the rare Tuatara Waimea Wildcat (4.7%) – a New Zealand Pale Ale generally destined for the export market which uses the same hop blend as Epic First Batch.  There will also be Hallertau Minimus (3.8%) which along with Emerson’s Bookbinder and Croucher Low Rider conclusively proves that beer can be tasty without being strong. 

Of course, strong beers can be tasty too and a fine example of this is my beloved Left Coast Hop Juice, a 9.7% American hop storm.  If you really want a dark beer, then I guess you could do much worse than a Deschutes Black Butte Porter (5.2%) from Oregon. 

Finally, at this time of year there is always the important question of “is the pub even open?”  Here are Malthouse’s festive opening hours:

24 December – close 11pm [6]
25 December – closed
26 December – closed
27 December – open midday to late
28 December – open midday to late
29 December – open midday to late
30 December – open midday to late
31 December – open midday to 3am (including midnight beer launch)
1 January – closed
2 January – closed
3 January – open midday to late (normal service has resumed)

Next time, we drink 2013.

[1] Mr Cusack’s acting makes Matthew McConaughey look like Al Pacino. 

[2] The fact that Colin thinks Partick Thistle is a credible soccer/football team does call his judgement into question somewhat.  Billy Connolly used to stress that the team was called Partick Thistle Football Club, mainly because most people thought they were called Partick Thistle Nil.

[3] New Year’s Eve or, as I call it, Amateur Drinking Night.

[4] In the habit of disclosing even potential conflicts of interest, I am compelled to inform loyal readers of this blog that I own a small part of this objectively awesome establishment. 

[5] Lester looks exactly like Willie Apiata VC in precisely the same way that Richard Emerson strongly resembles (Sir) Chuck Norris. 

[6] So you can get home and be asleep before Santa arrives and/or to comply with the Sale of Liquor Act.


Beer Writer
Beer and Brewer Magazine


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