In between tweeting me photos of tasting trays at Russian River – home of my beloved Pliny the Elder IIPA and my loathed Supplication Sour Ale [2] – and pictures of him mugging it up with Garrett Oliver – founder of the Brooklyn Brewery, author of The Brewmaster’s Table and editor of the Oxford Companion to Beer – Colin is undoubtedly collecting ideas to unleash on the Wellington drinking public. The US craft beer scene shows absolutely no sign of slowing down so expect to see some new imports, innovative food ideas and different events popping up here as a result of his extensive field research. [3]

When Colin departed, Malthouse staff and under-paid contractors joked that the entire operation would surely fall apart without his guiding hand at the tiller. Unsurprisingly, the bar staff continued seamlessly to pour pints and sling pizza. The blog desk on the other hand managed to miss last week’s deadline entirely. It turns out I really do need a Scottish chap texting me every hour asking “Where’s my blog post you jammy wee choochter?”

Worse than letting down my employer and legion of loyal readers was that I missed the opportunity to libel people without Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scotsman editing my text. Interim blog poster Handsome Pete has much more laissez-faire approach – mainly because he won’t be one the getting sued. Oh well, there will doubtless be other opportunities.

Malthouse regular Mike Conroy has also been away Mr Conroy, my unofficial proof reader, has been touring South East Asia. [4] Amazingly, Malthouse did not fall down during his absence despite this blog previously reporting that he was a “load bearing” customer vital to the structural integrity of the entire building. Of course, the source of this report was me and my last construction experience involved Lego. [5]

I did my part to keep Malthouse standing by boldly stepping into the breach and running two beer tastings for visiting groups of journalists. One group were following the Royal Couple on their holiday around the country while the others were travel and leisure writers. Travel and leisure writers may be the only people with better jobs than beer writers. It was great to be able to showcase beers from Tuatara, Panhead, ParrotDog and the Fork & Brewer to them.

These media tastings are a relatively regular occurrence and ideally will result in positive coverage of the New Zealand beer scene and some of our great local breweries. What is particularly fascinating is that many (if not most) of the journalists – people who have travelled the world and been shown through numerous nations – have done hundreds of wine tastings but never a formal beer tasting. Hopefully craft beer tastings will become as common as wine tastings on the itineraries of future journalistic visits.

These particular journalists particularly enjoyed the ParrotDog Dogg (reminded many of beer from the Mother Country), Fork Base Jumper (tasting particularly fine at the moment) and Tuatara Porter poured over coffee beans in the Hopinator (the combination of beer and coffee intrigued them and they loved the whole concept of the Hopinator itself).

Speaking of the Hopinator – lovingly called The Modus Hopperandus by its many fans – the Tuatara Porter with coffee combination is over, for now at least. It has been replaced by something rather special – Tuatara Black Forest Porter (5%). This flavoursome combination involves Tuatara Porter coming through the Hopinator to be infused with toasted coconut, toasted hazelnuts, currants, blueberries and California cherries. Beer, dessert, nuts, fruit and antioxidants – what more could the discerning drinker want? [6]

When putting this blog post together, I was sorely tempted to continue the list of corrections, apologies and clarifications for two reasons. One, a single post did not even come close to covering all my errors. Two, many people seem to enjoy my misadventures, mistakes and missteps. I will always be proud of saying sorry more times in one blog post than Winston Peters has in his entire career. [7] As a result, “Corrections, Retractions and Apologies” will become a regular feature. It is not like I will ever run out of material.

A regular feature which has not been spotted for far too long is the “People’s Blog” – an opportunity for real life customers to write about their Malthouse experiences and favourite beers. All it involves is penning (well, typing – no handwritten submissions thank you) about half a page or so of thoughts about why you like the Malthouse and what your favourite beers are/have been and why. It’s all pretty free form really.

The only criteria is that you cannot have contributed to a previous “People’s Blog”. If interested, drop us an expression of interest on We will then let the successful applicants know the word limit and deadline. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed the “People’s Blog” format because it showcases different perspectives and writing styles. Not every post has to be a hop obsessed, right wing rant, apparently.

Finally, a reminder about Hopstock (Twitter: #hopstock) which will run from 23 – 26 April 2014 at venues around Wellington. Malthouse will be serving Peak Brewery Fresh Hopped Rudolph’s’ Pique, a 5.5% organic Canadian-style Red Ale with a hint of Belgium and which also uses green wild hops grown at the brewery.

Next time, [8] we drink to the Royal Couple. It is a real shame that they are not getting more media coverage.

[1] I’m quite pleased that, according to my spell checker, this is the first time I’ve used this terrible, terrible world.
[2] I famously stunned a table of brewers, writers and publicans by describing the much revered Supplication as tasting “like a bat took a whizz in my mouth.” While an outstanding observation, it has led to years of people asking me precisely how I know what bat pee tastes like.
[3] Regular readers of this blog who work at the IRD should note Colin’s that travel is a completely legitimate business expense. However, I’m not so sure about Luke Nicholas’ wanderings though…
[4] Well, for one week it was largely touring the bathrooms of South East Asia after a run in with a dodgy shrimp.
[5] I made blue penguins which required fully seven pieces each. I was 20 years old. Photographs and blueprints available on request.
[6] Apart from more hops obviously.
[7] Neil 14 – Winston 0.
[8] It is important to note that in the last blog, somewhat ironically given the general topic of being wrong all the time, I correctly predicted that Daniel Bryan would indeed become the new WWE Heavyweight Wrestling Champion at Wrestlemania. Yes! Yes! Yes!


Neil Miller
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