trying to claim our beloved horse Phar Lap or “that ******* tackle” by George Gregan on Jeff Wilson in the corner. Conversely, the Aussies still hold a grudge for Richard Loe rearranging Paul Carozza’s face for the offence of “scoring a try”, Dannevirke giving them Joh Bjelke-Petersen, [1] or for New Zealand getting kicked out of ANZUS.


Despite the wistful advertisements around 25 April each year, I have observed the true ANZAC spirit (at least in sporting terms) at two key rugby matches. The 2003 Rugby World Cup was supposed to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand but, through some backroom sheninigans, ended up being co-hosted by Australia and Tasmania. This act of low cunning so enraged the normally mild-mannered MP Trevor Mallard that he threatened to insert bottles of Heineken into “uncomfortable places” of the International Rugby Board members’ anatomies. [2]


I was not there for either the sheninigans or the threats, but I did attend the match between the All Blacks and Wales in Sydney. There were around 10,000 persons of the Welsh persuasion there but, as always, it sounded like a lot more because they do unusual things like cheer and sing in support of their team, even if they are not winning at the time. [3] However, as the prospect of a Welsh upset grew stronger, I could not help but notice that the “Wales, Wales, Wales” chants had become exponentially louder and taken on a distinct Australian twang. So much for the ANZAC spirit… Spoiler alert: the All Blacks won. [4]


Any moral high ground we Kiwis may have had was certainly lost in 2011 when the Wellington Regional Stadium [5] hosted the Rugby World Cup match between Australia and the plucky United States of America. My group decided to show our support for the USA by dressing up as professional wrestlers. I came as DX Army Triple H, a friend became the Nature Boy Ric Flair by dying himself orange and wearing an 80s suit, while another half-assed by putting a small American flag into a polystyrene stick and claiming to be Hacksaw Jim Duggan. [6]


The American team ran out to a huge roar from the crowd and looking genuinely bewildered but touched as a packed stadium belted out the Star Spangled Banner and, later, Born in the USA. I suspect that the US players had never had the support of a crowd bigger than four score and seven so to have 30,000+ fans (about 200 of whom were actually from America) cheering their every move was probably an eye-opener. The stands erupted when Quade Cooper was hammered by the American captain in a bone-crunching tackle, but they went almost completely silent when Australian scored a number of tries to win the match. [7]


The key lesson or takeout of all this, apart Quade Cooper being a tool of the highest order, is that New Zealand loves to beat Australia and we particularly enjoy beating Australia in Australia. The latest group of Kiwis to do so is the team at the ParrotDog Brewery. They won the prestigious Champion Small International Brewery trophy at the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA). These are the second largest beer awards in the world.


The term “hero” is bandied around far too often these days but in my book Matt Warner, Matt Stevens and Matt Kristofski are true heroes for this achievement. I’m going to award extra hero points to Matt Stevens for being the only guy in the team to be snapped drinking a beer during the photo session with Stuff. Others may deride you for this act but I for one salute you. The bar has been well and truly raised, sir.


Here is ParrotDog’s impressive list of 2015 AIBA awards:


Trophy – Champion Small International Brewery


Best Low Alcohol Beer: Trophy (and Gold) – ClippedWing


Australian Style Lager: Gold – Pandemonium


Best IPA: Silver – BitterBitch


Best Amber: Silver – BloodyDingo


American Style Red: Silver – Bloodhound


Imperial Stout: Bronze – DoubleStout (Two Birds Collaboration)


Packaging: Gold – Original’s Range


Packaging: Silver – DoggyBag


If the Australian International Beer Awards were run by FIFA instead of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), the Champion Small International Brewery would have probably gone to the Blatter Family Brewery in Outer Mongolia. Thankfully, more sensible and not corrupt heads prevailed and the award went to ParrotDog, worthy winners indeed.


ParrotDog took to social media to thank their fans and supporters, calling them all “tip-top.” Matt Warner, the surfer dude in the ParrotDog Brewing Boy Band, told Stuff that “there was a lot of interest and great feedback on our beers in Australia and to be announced champion small international brewery just absolutely topped it off.” This was typically modest stuff from the ParrotDog boys given the magnitude of their win. I’m now going to describe this humbleness in the wake of achievement as the ParrotDog “Mattitude”. [8]


Malthouse has been a long-time fan of the ParrotDog Brewery (which is just 450 metres away). I have too. Easily the defining beer for me is ParrotDog BitterBitch (5.8%) which has appeared numerous times in my coveted Top Ten Kiwi Beers of the Year list. It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, an IPA. I think it is a beer which has really evolved since its launch – the alcohol percentage dropped when it went into large scale production and it has become more English rather than American or New World. [9]


The Matts’ say that “an aggressive, tropical New Zealand-hopped aroma gives way to a rich, copper coloured malt base and a huge, lingering bitterness to finish. In an ode to its ancestors, we’ve used all English malts in the grist and a bold English bittering hop in the boil. A hop-filled IPA with a solid malt backbone.” Other reviewers have picked up notes of tropical fruit, caramel, grapefruit, biscuity malt and intense bitterness.

I adore this beer which is now on tap at Malthouse. It is the perfect beer for toasting the success of ParrotDog.

Next time, we drink to sad New South Wales rugby league fans. This pity drink is brought to you by the letters L for “lose” and C for “choke,” and the number zero.

[1] A man now considered exceptionally corrupt even by 1980s Queensland standards.

[2] The normally non-judgemental Wikipedia described his comments as “crude”.

[3] New Zealand sports crowds are amongst the most passive in the world.

[4] Well, that match at least…

[5] Still a better name than “The Cake Tin”.

[6] To his credit, he had correctly predicted that stadium security were unlikely to admit a grown man carrying a 2×4 piece of timber into a sporting event. This is despite security’s main role being protecting the franchisees by confiscating any outside food products.

[7] Spoiler Alert: They lost. We won. Eat that.

[8] I would attempt to copyright “Mattitude” if I had not totally stolen it from professional wrestler Matt Hardy’s marvellous run in 2002.

[9] I call this “The Cate Blanchett Effect” and it is not necessarily a bad thing.




Neil Miller

Beer Writer

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