They are in fact an integral part of the Christian ethics system which has been used since early Christian times to warn followers about the dangers of sin. The modern version of the Seven Deadly Sins was created by Pope Gregory I in 590AD. The sins are usually given as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. [1]

There are arguments that the Seven Deadly Sins have kept pace with technology. Reid Hoffman contends that “social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins. Facebook is ego. Zynga is sloth. LinkedIn is greed.” I’d add “Instagram is pride, Tinder is lust and Stuff Nation is wrath.”
While this blog is often populated with words of wisdom from beer experts such as Pete Brown, Stephen Beaumont, Roger Protz, Michael Jackson and Michael Donaldson, it is time for another first. This, the 301st post, marks the debut of noted theologians Iron Maiden. Steve Harris and his acolytes wailed:
“Seven deadly sins,
seven ways to win,
seven holy paths to hell,
and your trip begins
Seven downward slopes
seven bloodied hopes
seven are your burning fires,
seven your desires…”
Malthouse and its hard working staff are not averse to a little sin from time to time, agreeing with Joseph Epstein’s observation that “of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.” As a result, Malthouse is putting on a truly lustful Seven Deadly Sins line-up from Thornbridge Brewery and Beavertown Brewery (both from England).

These special seven beers are matched to the seven deadly sins, and this will be the first time in New Zealand that all seven have appeared on tap at the same time in the same venue. They go on at 3pm on Thursday 23 April and supplies are understandably limited. Here is the finalised line-up:
Wrath- Beavertown Holy Cowbell Black IPA (5.8%)

There is considerable debate about whether this beer is a stout (as the brewery and importers Beertique believe) or a Black IPA (as RateBeer and Colin the Handsome Yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor contend). In either case, it is a full roasted dark ale, with notes of chocolate, plum, coffee, pine needle hops, cut grass and a dry espresso finish.

No matter the stylistic quibbles, I think we can all agree that everything is always better with “more cowbell.” [3]

Lust – Thornbridge Halcyon IPA (7.4%)

The brewery characterises this Imperial India Pale Ale as having a “rich fruit and hop character in aroma. Chewy, juicy malts and intense hoppiness coming through in mouth with a hint of tangerine and pear drops. Ends with a well-balanced bitterness.” Others have picked up tropical fruit salad, citrus hops, grass and a general feeling of contentment.

I must confess to some lust-fuelled thoughts about this beer even though I have only drunk it on three distinct occasions. There are people on talkback radio [4] who are unsurprised I liked this beer as much as I do.

Pride – Beavertown Heavy Water Imperial Stout (9%)

Beavertown beers are highly regarded by the RateBeer community but this one just about maxes out at a 99% rating overall and a stunning 90% in the incredibly competitive Imperial Stout style. The brewer’s notes have “tobacco and burnt toffee nose. Viscous almost gelatinous. Smooth velvety mouthfeel. Tastes treacle, liquorice, smoky dark fruit.” RateBeer reviewers have added chocolate, smoke and dark red cherries. All are agreed that the silky and voluptuous mouthfeel is a highlight.

Care should be taken because at a hefty 9%, Pride may come before a fall.

Envy – Thornbridge & Sierra Nevada Twin Peaks APA (5%)

Described modestly as a  “transatlantic collaboration between two of the world’s best brewers”, this is a fruity pale ale of surprisingly low ABV brewed using Sierra Nevada’s famed hops, malts from the UK and something called a ‘hop torpedo’ which intensifies the hop aromatics. [5] There are notes of citrus, tangerine, hay or grass, and tropical fruits. Thornbridge seemed to have introduced some subtlety to the often boisterous Sierra Nevada brewing style.
The Twin Peaks name is either a homage to the quirky US television series or bouncy UK pop star Samantha Fox. Only one of those options provokes any feelings of envy in me.   

Sloth – Beavertown Bloody ‘Ell IPA

First, a disclaimer – because everyone loves a riveting disclaimer. I have a particular attachment to the sin “Sloth” because for most of my adult life it has been my nickname. It originated from a cricket game where I believed I had smashed a six and stood my ground admiring the shot. Unbeknownst to me, the ball landed just inside the boundary and spun back. This prompted my teammates to yell “run you utter sloth run!” [6]

Turning to the beer, I feel it lives up to the honour of the Sloth badge in exactly the same that Sloth Pizza from Hell Pizza does not. [7] The brewers’ note “we have never brewed a straight IPA at Beavertown, why change the habit of a lifetime! Here we take a stripped back IPA malt bill and highly hop it with the tropics of Amarillo and Citra and pile head on with kilos of Blood Orange zest and juice late in the boil, bringing you a smack of citrus and hints of warm orange aromas. One of our favourite and most popular seasonal brews.” Other commentators agree on the zesty freshness of the oranges.

Do not be slow trying this beer or I may have drunk it all.

Gluttony – Thornbridge Jaipur IPA (5.9%)

Of all the seven beers, the one for Gluttony is the one I have consumed the most of – mainly because it is awesome. This assessment is based on numerous taste tests and not just because Kelly Ryan, who used to brew it, is currently five metres away over my left shoulder and has access to various high powered hot water hoses at the Fork & Brewer brewery.

After noting Kelly’s Kiwi connection (stints at DB, Epic and Good George) I reviewed Jaipur saying “this beer booms out citrus notes over a firm malt middle before a deceptively hoppy finish cleans up the honey-like sweetness. Massively hopped yet balanced, any self respecting beer lover should definitely have Jaipur on their CV.”

Sometimes, just sometimes, too much of a good thing can be great. 

Greed – Beavertown Gamma Ray APA (5.4%)

Readers of this blog with total recall will remember that I tried two Beavertown beers live on tap in their spiritual home in London late last year. At the time I attempted to spin it as me brilliantly anticipating the arrival of these award winning beers in New Zealand. In reality, it was where the taxi took my sleep deprived carcass. I regret nothing.

This was my second legal beer ever in the United Kingdom. I wrote “Beavertown Gamma Ray APA (5.4%) is an APA with ray guns on the label – of course I would have this first. My notes read “slightly hazy golden, thick and finely bubbled head, lasting caramel mid-bitterness, smooth carbonation but not hugely APA.” Looking back, it’s at the more subtle end of the scale – balanced and tasty.””

I greedily want more cans of Beavertown artwork for my growing can collection. [8]

Next time, we drink to Richmond Arquette, the least talented of the Arquette acting family whose main claim to fame was playing the delivery guy who dropped off Gwyneth Paltrow’s severed head at the end of the movie Seven. [9]

[1] Thomas Aquinas took an exceptionally expansive view of gluttony. It included looking forward to meals too much, consuming overly pricey foods and the excessive eating of delicacies. Those who managed to avoid these many sins could still be caught out by “Studiose” – the sin of eating too daintily. I am not one of those people.

[2] Unlike the more traditional parables, this was following by a searing 17 minute guitar solo.

[3] If this reference eludes you, you are missing out on the most worthwhile thing Will Ferrell has ever done by a factor of eleventy billion.

[4] The modern equivalent of “lost tribes in the Amazon” for literary purposes.

[5] I’ve previously described the Torpedo as a “shiny stainless steel piece of hardware which the brewers developed over many years. I can’t even begin to understand the science but this sleek device gives Sierra Nevada Torpedo pale ale both its moniker and its character.” I stand by my inability to comprehend the science but it works yet again.

[6] For the record, I was eventually almost run out taking one run off a good 65 metre hit.

[7] Tuna has no place on a pizza in a civilised world. For no particular reason, I’m blaming Al Gore.

[8] Stacking collections of cans as a hobby has several drawbacks in Wellington – most notably strong winds, earthquakes and the opinions of your neighbouring apartment dwellers.

[9] Apart from this, his career highlight appears to be playing the role of “Intern” in Fight Club. Most of his roles are simply descriptions of his character including “Gas Station Man”, “Cadillac Rapist” and “Farm Boy” for his debut role in the 1993 blockbuster film The Pickle.


Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Beer and Brewer Magazine
Cuisine Magazine
TheShout Magazine
New Zealand Liquor News Magazine


Thornbridge Brewery –
Beavertown Brewery –
Malthouse Facebook –
Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse
Malthouse Taps on Twitter –!/MalthouseTaps
Neil Miller on Twitter –!/beerlytweeting