While Colin spends his holidays drinking traditional Scottish cocktails such as Irn-Bru and Buckfast fortified wine (it’s called a Bamgria – if you add cheap Bell’s whisky it becomes a Buckfaster) and sending me photos of Haggis and Cracked Pepper Crisps, Pete has also been running the Craft Beer Capital website. One of the most useful tools on the site is the Now Pouring page which shows regularly updated tap beer lists for Malthouse and a number of other worthy craft bars.

Having up to date information is important so that you don’t what I did on Monday. Basically, I got all excited about the reference to ParrotDog BitterBitch on the pavement blackboard only to find when I ordered a pint that it had run out an hour earlier. [3]

Once Pete and I had discussed the future of the Malthouse blog and the Craft Beer Capital website, it quickly became apparent that the key issue of the day was the impending release of Grand Theft Auto V – a sprawling console game so violent and brilliant that it inspires awe in hardened gamers and outrage amongst the easily outraged. Pete was basically killing time before queuing up for the midnight launch of the fifth instalment of the series. Actually, it is probably the fifteenth instalment if you count expansion packs and handheld versions, at least according to PC Magazine. [4]

I read on Facebook that Pete’s Quest was successful and that seems to be confirmed by a complete lack of physical sightings of him since purchase. Despite the fact that Grand Theft Auto is edgy and cool, I actually own two of the games. My collection includes Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (80s Miami Vice vibe) and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (90s urban gangbanger feel). These were actually selected as the best two GTA games by PC Magazine.

As well as establishing a modicum of gamer credibility, this conversation allowed me to tell my Grand Theft Auto story. Now, one of the strengths of the franchise is the interactivity – characters in the game react to you, often depending on what you are doing or how you are dressed.

For presumably perfectly normal reasons that are now unclear even to me, one day I decided to take a stroll down one of the busiest streets in San Andreas wearing a leopard print pimp daddy hat and carrying a flamethrower. I vowed to use the fearsome weapon on any person who dissed my hat. Five minutes later, the ninth hustler made a wise crack (“nice hat, does it come in man sizes?”), half a city block was on fire and the Police had sent helicopters.

Handsome Pete said he would totally try this in Grand Theft Auto V and, if successful, would send me a screenshot. I could not join him and partake in something as geeky as queuing for video games – I had professional wrestling to watch that night. While the Mt Vic Chippery was providing the food (which did indeed live up to all the hype), I had to bring the beer. [5]

In the interests of freshness, affordability and inertia, I decided to take advantage of the Malthouse off-licence sales. Fortunately, I had bought a few empty and clean riggers in my vintage old school Lion Brown chilly bag. It was almost like I had planned this all out. When my seriously retro bag was (rightly) mocked by some young off-duty bar staff, I was able to point out that it was literally older than most of them. I then told them to get off my lawn.

Defining all the stereotypes about me, I selected a real mix of beers – Pale Ale, India Pale Ale and American Pale Ale. The only beer I bought two riggers of was actually one which I had not tried before. Ciaran the Acting Colin gave me a tasting glass of Mata Tumeke and it became my meeting beer and post-meeting beer of choice.

Mata Tumeke IPA (6.5%) is a firm, balanced pale ale with notes of caramel, citrus, tropical fruit and a touch of a mineral character. Overall, I would classify it as very drinkable though it took three pints to confirm that. Not sure why I have not tried this beer before – possibly because Tumeke is also a deeply left wing blog – but I was hooked, both from the tap and from the rigger an hour later.

Another beer worthy of note is the Funk Estate OH KAMIYO (6.7%) festive beer. Brewed by “four dudes making some groovy beers”, this is their well regarded OH LORDY pale ale fermented with a sake yeast. It is definitely an interesting drop. Not quite as interesting as some of the things you find on the internet trying to figure out what Kamiyo means but that is probably for the best. As far as I can tell, Kamiyo means something about divine and ancient and/or Japanese Manga.

To round out yet another pale ale dominated tasting selection, [6] Harrington’s iAPA (9.5%) is a limited edition Imperial American Pale Ale. Personally, I love it but others considered it a bit “hot” or “too bitter”. I’d be tempted to revisit the Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge tradition of blending pale ales in a quest to create a whole new beer which is greater than the sum of its parts.

An old brewing name returns with the Bach Brewing Hopsmacker Pale Ale (5.8%). Limburg Hopsmacker, made by Father Chris O’Leary (now at Emerson’s), was one of the first and possibly best distinctly New Zealand pale ales. In its day it a firm personal favourites so it will be interesting to see how the Bach Brewing version stands up after all these years. I may have to schedule another meeting…

Finally, a summary of the wrestling results (Night of Champions 2013) for non-wrestling fans – the second generation wrestler with a sleazy yuppie manager beat the guy from Kenya who channels Usain Bolt, the self-proclaimed “crazy chick” defeated an Amazon, a cheerleader and one half of a pair of identical twins, then the Mexican billionaire was disqualified against the stoner comic book store owner but still kept his title.

In the second half, a semi-famous reality TV star beat the ballroom dancer (who ironically can’t dance), the straight edge rock star lost to the sleazy yuppie manager after a generic bad guy from a Rocky film put him through a table which was confidently stored under the ring, the spectacularly bearded vegan finally beat the slimy alpha male, much to the delight of the crowd who are probably still chanting “YES YES YES” several days later.

Next time, we drink to Ben Affleck who is having a tough time at the moment. It is not like there isn’t a long tradition of terrible actors murdering the Bat Man character.

[1] Known in my company as “Meeting Room 1”.
[2] Glasgow, the French Rivera of the Highlands – said no one ever.

[3] I cannot prove it but I suspect BitterBitch was a victim of one of Mike Conroy’s legendary lunches.
[4] Ah, an on-line PC Magazine article about a console game. How very modern.

[5] Watching wrestling without beer is like, well, I don’t know. I’ve never tried.
[6] This post is not helping my reputation of being obsessed with pale ales.


Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Beer and Brewer Magazine

Craft Beer Capital Now Pouring – http://craftbeercapital.com/now-pouring
Mata – http://www.mata.net.nz/
Funk Estate – https://www.facebook.com/FunkEstate
Harrington’s – http://harringtonsbreweries.co.nz/
Bach Brewing – https://untappd.com/b/bach-brewing-hopsmacker-pale-ale/446151
Twisted Hop – http://thetwistedhop.co.nz

ParrotDog – http://parrotdog.co.nz/
Renaissance – http://www.renaissancebrewing.co.nz/
Black Dog – http://www.blackdogbrewery.co.nz/