Given those same ingredients, most people would end up with soggy muesli which smelt of wet grass and tasted vaguely like bathroom mould.  Or worse – Mash beer.” [1]

This self promoting trip down memory lane has been prompted by the fact that this is the 200th post on the Malthouse blog.  Seriously, I have been writing this column virtually every week for around four years. [2] It is also the 20th anniversary of the Malthouse opening on Willis Street – that was of course the bar where I was converted from mainstream beer drinker to a craft beer connoisseur thanks to a strong ruby English ale made by an elephant obsessed Englishman (Pink Elephant Mammoth by Roger Pink).  Today, I am taking my loyal readers on a slightly random ‘director’s commentary’ regarding the previous 199 posts. 

In the second ever Malthouse blog post I expressed an attitude which rapidly became deeply ironic after I quickly became easily one of the world’s best 5,000 beer bloggers:  At time – and please remember this was 2008 – I wrote:

“Blogging is apparently no longer the exclusive domain of tubby guys in track pants posting their every waking thought from the comfort of their parent’s basement.  In fact, web logging [3] has become so thoroughly modern that even politicians, Te Papa and real journalists are doing it now.  The good people at Pinnacle Life, for example, believe they have enough interesting observations about life insurance to fill “The Life Insurance Blog.” [4] Therefore, it stands to reason that somewhere as funky and cool as the Malthouse should definitely have its own blog.  And now it does.”

My rise to digital glory was surprising to many – not least me – because I later observed:

“When it comes to new technology, it is fair to say I am a relatively late adopter.   If I was alive back in 3000BC, I would have been the guy still struggling away with the pointy rock while everyone else was using Bronze Axe v2.0.   That said, even I have embraced the social media revolution and the Brave New World of Facebook and Twitter.”

Of course, that was a direct contraction of my earlier miscalculations about Twitter which I lambasted as being for people who did not have the attention span to use Facebook properly.  My selected target was Ashton Kutcher who went to have 13.5 million Twitter followers, a run of undeserved movie and television success stories and finally got free from Demi Moore.

Over its long history, this blog has created a few nicknames.  “Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor” was originally based on comments from the Dominion Post and Colin himself but it may or may not reflect the views of this writer personally.  Luke Nicholas as the “Impish Brewer” took off instantly because everyone could see that he was small, evil yet adorable.  Characterising Dr Ralph Bungard as the “thinking woman’s beer crumpet” has failed to catch on with anyone apart from me, Ralph and Google Search.  

Other issues I have remained somewhat more consistent about.  In 2008, I wrote that:

“Probably one of the worst kept secrets in New Zealand is that I really, really like Pale Ale – the hoppier the better usually.  In terms of surprises, that probably ranks up there with finding out that Judith Tizard does not have a particularly stressful job or that Graham Henry is a huge fan of Jerome Kaino for reasons which elude the rest of the populace.” [5]

From the same column is one of my all-time greatest zingers:

“I was recently asked by Chef Martin Bosley what Tui had in common with real IPAs.  My considered yet instant reply was “they are both liquids.” [6]

Probably my favourite part of being the Malthouse blogger, apart from the feedback from readers, has been popularising the use of footnotes in beer blogs and articles.  Funny/ironic/witty footnotes are a literary tool I unashamedly copied from early Pete Brown books, he is one of the best beer writers in the world.  It is superb to seeing awesome footnotes appearing across the Interwebs at the bottom of beer articles. 

Finally, some business – Saturday 26 January is Australia Day which is apparently a legitimate national day. To celebrate, Malthouse has managed to procure several kegs of Coopers Celebration Ale (5.2%).  The brewers say it is “a hop-driven traditional ale with a dark-red hue” using Centennial hops from the USA, Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand and Pride of Ringwood from Australia. [7] Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor says it is on specially for “the convicts” but apparently people will be able to order it without providing proof of a criminal past..

 [1] A reference to my most famous and perhaps best beer review where I said things like “While sampling the Mash Golden Lager, I was watching Chuck Norris (in a bulldozer) fight David Carradine (in an armoured half track).  This beer was so bad that I didn’t really enjoy the scene”, “it has the nose of a budget dishwashing liquid, but doesn’t taste nearly as good” and “it has the nose of a plastic mug filled with raspberry raro cordial.  It is so thin it makes Bud Light taste like Guinness and finishes with the stomach-churning kick that only good old Food Acid 330 can provide.  On a positive note, it certainly gives your gag reflex a good workout.”  And yet Breakfast TV recently called my #catflap tweet about Garth Morgan “a bit harsh”

[2] Disclosure: I am paid for this.  Did anyone seriously not figure that out?

[3] In retrospect, I apologise for using the term “web logging”.  I recently reviewed a serious political book which kept putting “blog” in quotation marks like it was still a made up word in 2012….

[4] This would have been a much better footnote if the Pinnacle Life blog was not still up and running – albeit their last post was 8 December 2012.

[5] Kaino was later was nominated for world rugby player of the year.  However, the Tizard prophecy was confirmed when she became the first Labour candidate to ever lose Auckland Central.  Ironically, I once hired the woman who beat her – the soon to be Cabinet Minister Hon Nikki Kaye.

[6] This hospitality story has the rare virtue of being completely true.

[7] Pride of Ringwood is one of the blandest hops in the world. It is the Rip Torn of hops – meaning it is in everything but no one ever recognises it.  To be clear, Rip Torn is an actor who has appeared in nearly two hundred movies and television shows including Men in Black 3, Robocop 3 and the film 1985 Beer where he played Buzz Beckerman.


Beer Writer
Beer and Brewer Magazine


First Malthouse Blog – 
The infamous Mash Beer column –
Second Malthouse Blog –
Malthouse Blog about social media –
Malthouse Blog about the glories of pale ale – 
Martin Bosley’s –
Pete Brown – 
Malthouse Facebook –
Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse
Malthouse Taps on Twitter –!/MalthouseTaps
Neil Miller on Twitter –!/beerlytweeting
Beer and Brewer Magazine –