This year, I watched the game with one of my oldest friends [1] James, another long running tradition. However, there was a major difference this time – for perhaps the first time since Rick Astley was topping the charts and Miami Vice was cool, we were supporting the same sports team.

Normally, James supports the New York Giants, Manchester City and anyone playing the team I like. Childish I know. In contrast, I maturely cheer for the San Francisco 49ers, Liverpool and whoever is up against James’ team. I’ve ended up yelling with enormous passion for franchises I had always hated just to aggravate him. Guys are weird like that. 

In 2014 though, we were in complete agreement for the Super Bowl – the Denver Broncos were our team. I chose them because I support the Brisbane Broncos and the Denver Broncos appeared on The Simpsons. James picked them because their quarterback is related to the New York Giants quarterback. [2] 

The result if the game is well known – a massive victory to the Seattle Seahawks by 43 to 8.

 The first play was a safety which is an occurrence so rare it was paying 50 to 1 odds. The carnage turned out to be terrible enough that I had to take to Twitter to issue a public apology to the city and people of Denver for jinxing their team in the Greatest Game in the World. Halfway through I was almost looking forward to seeing Bruno Mars in the halftime show – it really was that awful. [3]

Perhaps the only redeeming feature of the Super Bowl, other than it was much more fun than working, was the American obsession with sporting statistics and trivia. During my completely justified, work-related research into the game I came across an article called “10 Fun Facts about the Super Bowl” though to be fair some of them were not overly fun. 

I’ve picked the best five for my loyal readers.

1) Gotta love chicken wings! This year, the National Chicken Council [4] predicts that folks will chow down on 1.25 billion of these finger food delights – 20 million more than last year. [5]

2) Beer stays steady in the number one spot as the most preferred beverage to chug during the game, followed by soda and carbonated water. Here’s an interesting fact: according to Nielsen, the percentage of consumers who said they were drinking or serving beer fell to 30 percent from 35 percent a year ago. [6]

3) Roman numerals are used in the Super Bowl because the football season falls in two calendar years. 

4) According to the Hass Avocado Board, [7] over Super Bowl weekend, approximately 100 million pounds of guacamole will be eaten. When dipping in the potassium rich concoction, approximately 14,500 tons of chips are chomped on. [8]

5) The Super Bowl is a feast for sore eyes for many revellers. The event is the second highest day of food consumption after Thanksgiving. Having gotten my opening sporting and culinary rant out of the way, [8] it is time to talk about some of the beers now available at Malthouse.

Perhaps my beer of the summer has been Liberty Halo Pilsner (5.4%). I’m as surprised as anyone that my nominee is not an enormous pale ale – particularly given the self same brewer (Joseph Wood Esq.) does several of my favourites (notably C!tra and Yakima Monster). 

However, I came to appreciate this grassy nosed, juicy bodied, well balanced quaffer during an extended session at Brothers Beer in Auckland when people kept joining our group and we got stuck in a jug buying crocodile death roll because no one wanted to be the first to back out and appear stingy. I regret nothing about that decision.

Another fine beer for the warmer weather is Panhead Quickchange XPA (4.6%). This American styled pale ale is bold – grapefruit, tropical fruit salad, lychee, herbal notes in a spritzy and surprisingly moderate strength beer. Like all of the Panhead beer made by noted gearhead Mike Neilson, Quickchange has an automotive themed name.  Apparently… I’m not a car guy despite my fanatical devotion to (Sir) Jeremy Clarkson.

That said, I’m usually unable to go past the Panhead Supercharger (5.7%). It was my 8th favourite beer of 2013. In my critically acknowledged annual top ten beer list I wrote:

“This beer was not ranked last year because the brewery that made it did not exist. Panhead Brewery is the ambitious creation of Mike Neilson, formerly a senior brewer at Tuatara. He has invested pretty much everything into his new Upper Hutt facility and this is my favourite product. It has a grassy nose, hints of mandarin/tangelo and passionfruit in the middle followed by a firm finish.  2012: Unranked.”

I think I have actually become even more fond of this particular beer since writing that paragraph in late December. Supercharger is a wonderful drop.

Finally, I am contractually obligated to note that the imaginatively titled Ciderhouse 2 event is already underway with a larger than normal showing of cider available at Malthouse.

 Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor promised me this would be a once a year event and here we go with the second one in three months.  There is another one scheduled for late in the year – talk about a lack of natural justice.

Anyway, Ciderhouse 2 runs from the 3rd to the 10th of February and features Slack Ma Girdle, Zeffer Red Apple Cider, Good George Drop Hop Cider, Good George Cider, Good George Black Doris Plum Cider, Townshend Laurie Lee, Peckham’s Moutere Cider, Peckham’s Moutere Perry, Fork Bandwagon Cider [10] and Old Mout Boysencider.

Next time, we drink to Martin Bosley – simply because he is awesome.

[1] To put the length of our friendship in context, we used to admire Samantha Fox, play computer games on the Commodore 64 and watched New Zealand win the first Rugby World Cup. At the time we thought that was no big deal because we were going to “win every one obviously.” This proved to be a very poor sporting prediction.

[2] While a number of people were spotted wearing “Eli’s Brother” football shirts, Peyton Manning is actually a very good player in his own right, set any number of offensive records this year and, most importantly, has starred in a number of amusing Sports Centre adverts.

[3] In a sign of how far their stocks have fallen, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers were forced to play backup to Bruno Mars, appeared unable to afford shirts and forgot to turn their microphones so they mimed throughout the entire event. On the other hand, they probably went home and slept on piles of money with many beautiful women.

[4] This is a real organisation and is bigger than virtually every lobby group in New Zealand put together.

[5] Ironically, I had my first ever meat free Super Bowl as my summer of non-carnivore-osity continues. This was made much harder by James serving cheese and beer hotdogs and homemade burgers stuffed with bacon and blue cheese. 

[6] I most certainly drank beer – this year’s game was bought to me by Tuatara Pilsner. Omnomnomnom.

[7] Even I was surprised this body existed – and that there may be rival avocado advocacy groups.

[8] My mother has insisted that I stop referring to avocado as “that demon slime fruit” at the dinner table. That ban is going about as well as could be expected.
[9] Normal service has resumed after last week’s rare beer focussed post.

[10] We at the Fork & Brewer really could not come up with a better name other than agreeing we wanted to jump on the cider bandwagon. Makes “Ciderhouse 2” look like the collected works of Shakespeare by comparison…


Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Beer and Brewer Magazine
Cuisine Magazine


10 Fun Facts about the Super Bowl – 
Liberty Brewing –
Panhead Custom Ales – (may feature cool car noises)
Ciderhouse 2 –
Malthouse Facebook –
Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse
Malthouse Taps on Twitter –!/MalthouseTaps
Neil Miller on Twitter –!/beerlytweeting
Beer and Brewer Magazine –