That would primarily be because it has been exactly twenty one days since the said event.  Putting aside this annoyingly accurate fact which does not help dramatic literary tension, Malthouse is already gearing up for Beervana (New Zealand’s premiere beer festival) and the week of beery goodness which traditionally surrounds it.

Wellington – the Craft Beer Capital of New Zealand – will be inundated with a veritable flood of beer connoisseurs from around the country and indeed from around the world. [1] This event has skyrocketed in recent years to become a huge festival which is light years ahead of its very humble beginnings when I began my craft beer journey. 

I remember going to one of the first festivals which would later become known as Beervana.  It was held in the Victoria University Staff Club, there were around 100 people attending and punters only paid for admission which meant all the beer inside was free. [2] Legend has it that I helped convince Speight’s that their experimental Pilsner was commercially viable by drinking it for 45 minutes after the event had officially closed. 

According to a usually reliable industry source, Speight’s had decided that if their new Pilsner and/or Porter sold out at this proto-Beervana then they would become part of the range.  While the organisers continuously called time, me and my beer guru Doctor Girven furtively filled up our glasses with Pilsner (me) and Porter (him) we unconvincingly frowned at those who were tardy in vacating the premises.  However, we drained both kegs [3] and both beers appeared on the shelves before being dumped in favour of the spectacularly stupid ‘semi-reality show where we take a pub on a boat to London without getting consent for the pub when we land.’ [4]

None of this should distract from Beervana.  Two days of beery awesomeness – the organisers say it “might be more accurate to call Beervana a Beer Conference, a Beer Seminar, or even better, some kind of Beer Fieldays.”  There will be well over 200 beers and delicious food prepared under the supervision of the receptacle of pure sex poured into chef whites which in our world is known as Mr Martin Bosley. Beervana is run by a man possessing The Greatest Haircut in Beerdom David Cryer. He also sells malt – apparently.

Beervana will be huge – it is like Comic-con but ladies go too.  For the first time ever I will have a beer there.  Yes, I took the incredibly brave step and got on a train to Upper Hutt.  Once at Kereru Brewery things were remarkably easy [5] as we made our Media Brew entry. [6] Journalists are teamed up with brewers and will compete for bragging rights about beers which have to feature a quintessentially Kiwi ingredient.  I can honestly say “let the best journalist win” – just as long as I beat Jono “The John Campbell of Palmerston North” Galuszka.

Here is a preview of some of the beers which will be available at Malthouse around Beervana (22-23 August 2014).  This is less than half the list Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scotsman has provided and even he admits it is not finalised.  Obviously, I won’t have tried most of these beers so there will not be any tasting notes, only my biased predictions:

Holgate Temptress Chocolate Porter 6% will be great for fans of chocolate and fans of porter.  Actually, Holgate are a class brewery despite the disadvantage of being Australian.  

Brewaucracy Effective Measure Saison 7.2% is an early favourite to be the Juniper Spiced Saison of the year.  Actually, Brewaucracy are a class brewery despite the disadvantage of being in Hamilton. 

Baylands Glasgow Slasher Barley Wine 9% gets early points for clearly being named after Colin.

Zeffer Farmhouse Funk Cider 7% scares me. Not only is it cider, but it is cider barrel aged in Syrah Barrels with Brettanomyces.  If you see me drinking this, call a taxi, I’ve had enough.

Golden Bear Strange Brew Red Ale 5.7% seems comparatively normal compared to earlier brews but knowing these Californian refugees it is undoubtedly a trap.

Good George Coffee Oatmeal Stout 9% reminds me of the alleged quote from Dr Samuel Johnson, inventor of the modern dictionary and star of Blackadder, about how oats are only eaten by horses and Scotsmen.

Epic Barrel Aged Armageddon (6.66%) is a beer with a story.  It started with British beer writer Pete Brown and his 400 page book “Hops and Glory”.  In a previous blog I explained how Mr Brown proved the interaction between IPA and an oak barrel actually improved the beer.   He wrote “when it arrived in Bombay and Calcutta, it had not only survived the journey, it had also gone through an amazing, unexpected conditioning process on board that left it light, bright and sparkling, perfect for the climate.”

I then recorded “Having read the book, the Handsome Yet Softly Scottish Proprietor Colin Mallon and the Impish Epic Brewer Luke Nicholas decided over a few pints to do their own testing.  Despite the scepticism of a certain beer writer, [7] they placed two twenty-litre oak barrels of Armageddon IPA on the Inter Islander Ferry for six weeks.  They achieved the same fundamental results (albeit in around 399 fewer pages of prose) and each year Epic makes a new batch of Barrel Aged Armageddon, tinkering with the barrel woods and beer blends in search of new flavours.”

Mmmm… Barrel aged.

Next time, we drink to David Cryer’s hair – mainly so he does not kill me for last week stating that Sam Possenniskie had the best fringe in brewing. 

[1] Mainly Australia but we are working on improving that.

[2] Disclaimer: I may have been one of the reasons they stopped this business model.

[3] Which is why we eventually left.

[4] I am not making this up although I wish I was.

[5] For me, everyone else worked extremely hard.

[6] Details are still secret but let me assure you that giant robot camels could not reveal the inspiration for this soon to be award-winning beer.

[7] It was me.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine


Beervana –

Malthouse Facebook –

Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter –!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter –!/beerlytweeting

Beer and Brewer Magazine –