is a lesser known quotation from the erstwhile Thomas Jefferson Esquire. Mr Jefferson [1] was, of course, the founding father of the United States of America, author of the rather wonderful Declaration of Independence, Third President of that fledgling republic and a keen brewer.

Despite persistent financial pressures, Jefferson constructed an impressive homestead known as Monticello. His original designs for the house included spaces to brew and store beer. The Thomas Jefferson Encyclopaedia [2] records that “in 1804 Jefferson’s reputation as a man of science attracted the attention of a young author, Michael Krafft, who requested permission to dedicate his American Distiller to Jefferson ‘as a safeguard against its falling into the general wreck of oblivion.’” [3]

The TJE notes that “Jefferson not only agreed to the dedication, but went on to endorse the subject of Krafft’s study – “I see too with great satisfaction every example of bending science to the useful purposes of life. [4] Hitherto chemistry has scarcely deigned to look to the occupations of domestic life. When she shall have made intelligible to the ordinary householder the philosophy of making bread, butter, cheese, soap, beer, cyder, wine, vinegar etc. these daily comforts will keep us ever mindful of our obligations to her. The art of distilling which you propose to explain, besides it’s household uses, is valuable to the agriculturalist, as it enables him to put his superfluous grain into a form which will bear long transportation to markets to which the raw material could never get.”

Former governor James Barbour wrote requesting Jefferson’s recipe: “Some years past I recollect to have drunk some ale at Monticello which I understood was of your own brewing. The manner of doing which you had obtained by a recipe from some intelligent Briton…  [5] You will oblige me much by furnishing me with a copy of the recipe as soon as your convenience will permit.”

New Zealand has a brewery which celebrates Liberty in every brew. Liberty Brewing Company was founded by Joseph and Christina Wood in New Plymouth though they have recently relocated to Auckland. [6] Now brewing at Hallertau Brewbar in Kumeu, the conjoined brewery is known as the Beer Fountain and they are producing fine beers under the Hallertau and Liberty brands. Malthouse currently has three Liberty beers officially available though there will actually be four on from midday today.

I thought that Liberty Halo Pilsner (5.4%) had run out but that was only based on the fact that the brewer told me it had. Fortunately, some more has been found or made since that time. Halo was my number four Beer of the Year for 2014, a rare accolade for a pilsner or indeed any beer that is not a hoppy pale ale. Here is what I wrote:

“4) Liberty Halo Pilsner (-) – This was my Beer of Summer from January to May 2014 highlighted by a wonderful day at Brothers in Auckland drinking jug after jug of Liberty Halo Pilsner in what I dubbed a “crocodile death roll” of rounds – no one wanted to be the first to quit and miss buying their round. There is almost always a Liberty beer in my top ten and it is almost always Liberty C!tra but this year it has been usurped by a zesty, well balanced pilsner with notes of grass, grape skin and mandarin. Plus, if you examine the packaging carefully, you will see the Statute of Liberty’s face has been replaced by the resplendent visage of brewer Joseph Wood.”

It is a tremendously drinkable lager with notes of cut grass, grapefruit zest and hints of Sauvignon Blanc.

Liberty Oh Brother (5.1%) started out as collaboration with Auckland brewpub Brothers Beer – hence the name. Alert readers will recall that Brothers was where I got caught in a crocodile death roll with Halo Pilsner. I regret nothing. Oh Brother is a balanced and restrained brew with soft caramel malt and passionfruit, mandarin hop flavours. The brewer says “it’s not high on bitterness and is so well balanced it is an ideal starter beer for those who’re not sure about super hoppy beer.” [7]

Less subtle is Liberty Yakima Monster (6%). The name is a classic “bait and switch” with Joseph gloating “get those images of Godzilla and Mothra [8] out of your head! I know you were thinking it, but this beer has nothing to do with Japan whatsoever. Yakima is actually a region in the state of Washington USA where some of my favourite hop varieties are grown. This monster of a pale ale showcases several of them. It’s an easy drinking beer, flavoursome enough for your father ‘n law to exclaim “Wow – that’s fruity!” yet complex enough for any green blooded hop-head to appreciate.”

This strong APA utilises Caramalt with Warrior, Simcoe, Amarillo hops. It weighs in at 45 IBU and has strong characteristics of grass, grapefruit and pine. Yakima Monster won the IPA and APA class in the 2014 New World Beer and Cider Awards.

Today, there is a mystery beer going on tap. I am forbidden from giving away any details but apparently I can provide clues. Here are the top ten clues about the mystery beer:

  1. It is made by one of New Zealand’s foremost bogan brewers.
  2. The brewer has quite magnificent sideburns.
  3. Pliny the Elder was a Roman botanist who liked hops.
  4. This is the most bitter beer ever made at the Fountain of Beer.
  5. It is officially being launched in Auckland on 7 March but Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Properties does not play by the rules.
  6. The person the beer is named after has slightly less magnificent sideburns. [9]
  7. Artwork for the earlier version of this beer was stolen from Facebook by the charming and personable Mr David Wood.
  8. Apparently replacing the letter “i” with an exclamation point stops you being sued by a global drinks giant.
  9. The label apparently resembles green wildfire from Game of Thrones.
  10. It is the first beer to be named after a New Zealand Beer Writer of the Year. [10]


Next time, we drink to plucky little Scotland whose cricketing team was cruelly pipped by the global sporting juggernaut that is Afghanistan. [11]

[1] While we are both shameless fans of life, liberty and pursuing happiness, I cannot in good conscience call Thomas Jefferson a personal friend, mainly because he died almost one hundred years before I was born. As a result, he will always be Mr Jefferson to me rather than “Jeffy”, “T-Man” or “The People’s President.”

[2] It is a real thing and their footnotes contain facts and academic citations, not slander and punchlines like this fine publication.

[3] “General wreck of oblivion” may be the poshest way to say “drunk” ever.

[4] “Bending science to the useful purposes of life” may be the poshest way to say “brewing” ever.

[5] Almost certainly Scottish.

[6] The adage about the “lesser of two evils” springs to mind here.

[7] Technically it is pretty darn hoppy but do not tell the n00bs that.

[8] Mothra is the fifth worst movie monster behind Chucky the killer doll, the second shark from the left in Sharknado, the killer rabbits in Night of the Lepus, and Susan Sarandon.

[9] Though they are still relatively magnificent, if I do say so myself.

[10] Assuming that Mussel Inn Captain Cooker was not named after Phil Cook and Epic Imp was not named after Michael Donaldson.

[11] I suspect the Scottish team had too many players from Glasgow and not enough from Broxburn.




Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

New Zealand Liquor News Magazine



Liberty Brewing –

Malthouse Facebook –

Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter –!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter –!/beerlytweeting