In a daring break with tradition, I’m going to start this post by talking about beer. It is no ordinary beer however – it is one of the most delicious yet heart-breaking brews I have ever tasted. The beer in question is Behemoth In Your Face Double IPA (9%). Most readers will be familiar with the tragic brewing accident which saw Behemoth brewer Andrew Childs and 8 Wired brewer Jason Bathgate badly burned over a month ago. [3] This is the beer they were making at the time.

It takes a huge measure of courage to release a beer which caused such pain, and even more to call it “In Your Face”. The nose and flavours are huge and delicious – pine, grapefruit, caramel – but I could not help but reflect on the tragedy behind the brew. It is literally one of the most bittersweet beers I’ve ever tasted. In Your Face is also the most poignant drink I’ve had since Three Boys After Shock – a beer brewed literally during a natural disaster. I still have an (empty) bottle of After Shock and an (empty) bottle of In Your Face will now be placed next to it.

Malthouse has just received a shipment of large In Your Face bottles. In addition to being an excellent ale, the label made me laugh several times. Obviously, there is the trademark image of Churly, the strange monstrous spokesperson for Behemoth. On this occasion he appears to be stuffing his face with hops. The label also boldly proclaims that this Double IPA is “not here to fornicate with arachnids.” [3]

On personal note, I’m delighted to see Andrew Childs signs himself off on the bottle as the “Beer Giraffe.” This may be the most successful brewer’s nickname I have created since Luke Nicholas embraced the Impish Brewer moniker. I recommend that people buy In Your Face Double IPA and raise a toast to Jason and Andrew. That is exactly what I did.

The Rugby World Cup quarter finals are set and the draw is pretty much as expected except there is no England. My favourite joke doing the rounds is “An Englishman walks into a bar. Normally there would be an Irishman, a Welshman and a Scotsman there but they were all at the rugby.” Malthouse is going back to university and pulling an all-nighter on Saturday – staying open from Saturday night through to Sunday morning. They will be showing the South Africa versus Wales game at 4am and the much anticipated All Blacks match against France at 8am on Sunday.

I was at Malthouse last weekend for the New Zealand game against Tonga. Once again I had a thoroughly good time (despite sitting at the wrong table again by choice). It was probably helped by the bacon sandwiches, the HopWired IPAs and the company. I was joined by 2015 New Zealand Beer Writer of the Year Jono Galuszka, himself a former staff member at Malthouse. He had fled Palmerston North in search of civilisation but instead ended up having a beer with me at 8am.

We agreed that there was something delightfully decadent about drinking beer at 8am, and then surprised ourselves by spontaneously toasting the good health of Act’s David Seymour, an event neither of us had ever expected to happen. The crowds are expected to build up for the knockout stages of the Cup so be sure to get in early. [4]

I’m undecided on whether to watch the French game at Malthouse or from the safety of my couch. While I have really enjoyed the atmosphere of pub watching, I am, like most New Zealanders, exceptionally nervous about the prospect of playing France in the quarter finals and worry what might happen if things go horribly wrong. It will be a game time decision.

Sadly, I will be on the couch for Scotland’s upset of Australia on Monday morning. Malthouse is not opening for the Monday morning matches. Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor has made the bold but probably unsurprising call that not many people will be able to go to the pub on a Monday morning, particularly when the All Blacks are not playing. So I will be on the couch with a Scottish flag on my head hoping for a miracle.

Second only to the rare appearance of Jono Galuszka, the big news is that Elvis is now in Malthouse – in the fridge to be precise. A pile of new and rare beers from BrewDog have arrived and the one that caught my eye was BrewDog Elvis Juice (6.7%). [5] It is an American style IPA made with Munich malt, Centennial, Amarillo and Simcoe hops (including in the whirlpool), orange zest and grapefruit zest. The result has been described as bready, pithy, zesty, upfront, peachy and, above all, bitter. I’ll be adding this one to my Greatest Hits very shortly.

The Hunt for Red October red beer celebration continues through the month of October. Several of the new beers have been launched at other craft beer bars and are now on tap at Malthouse. On 29 October, Malthouse will unveil their exclusive red beer before it goes on more general release the next day. Anticipation is building…

As Malthouse regulars will know, Colin really likes to dress up in costumes. [6] It is no surprise then that Malthouse will be hosting an event to mark Halloween on 31 October from 7pm. There is the promise of a “terrifyingly tasty tap line up” including new beers brewed exclusively for the occasion, platters of free food and a Halloween costume contest.

There will be more details on this frightening event in coming weeks as the line up is finalised. In the meantime, if you really want to hear me scream, pour me a pumpkin ale.

Next time, we drink to Frances Verrity who sadly passed away recently. She was a funny and energetic supporter of the craft beer scene despite never drinking the stuff. She will be greatly missed.

[1] (Sir) William Lawry is my second favourite Australian after the great Victorian and noted humanitarian Shane Warne.
[2] Andrew is scheduled to leave hospital today. Jason remains for further treatment. My best wishes to them both.
[3] A phrase that would be never be uttered by either (Sir) William Lawry or Shane Warne.
[4] Not that there is any option other than “early” for a 4am game.
[5] With sideburns like mine, how could I not be an Elvis fan? Thank you very much, you’ve been a beautiful readership.
[6] Sometimes even men’s costumes


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


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