Normally I have a beer or two during this exhausting journalistic process. For this edition, there was no time as I was interviewing Matiu Makirere, more commonly known as Macka. He is one of the talented Duty Managers at Malthouse and famously a man of few words. [1] When he does speak, it is well worth listening to which is why I consider him the Leroy Jethro Gibbs of the Malthouse. [2]

Having now mastered the use of voice recording on my phone after just three years, here is the official record of our focused conversation: [2]

How long have you been working at Malty?

At the end of January it will be three years.”

How long have you been involved in the hospitality industry?

Straight out of high school. I’ve worked at the Occidental, Concrete Bar, Jet Bar and the Grand. The majority of it was as a glassie then bar tender. Outside of hospo jobs I’ve done nothing really.”

Why Malthouse?

At the time I was made redundant at Concrete Bar and had some friends that worked at the Fork & Brewer. So I inquired there to see if there was anything available and they said try down here. I dropped my CV into Colin [the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor].”

Why stay at Malty?

I like the fact that it is laid back. It’s a place you can easily come in and be comfortable. The crew here are really tight – it’s like a second family. The people here are people you want to spend time with outside of work. That makes it very easy to work here.”

What was your beer knowledge like when you started at Malthouse?

I would say it was nil. I didn’t really drink beer – after sports I’d have the occasional Heineken or Mac’s Gold. I wasn’t very knowledgeable at all. I learned about craft beer through drinking which is the best way to learn. My palate has progressed the longer I’ve been here. I can honestly say I could drink most styles of beers now whereas before I thought a Tuatara Pilsner was too hoppy.”

What would be your three “desert island beers”?

Probably have to say they would be Epic Hop Zombie IIPA, North Coast Voodoo Stout and Liefmans Goudenband. [3]

Epic always do something nice with their hops. I can’t get enough of their beers and Zombie is my favourite of the range. Voodoo Stout was one of the first real craft beers I could drink. It is a great Imperial Stout and stouts were my initial love. The Goudenband is just one of my favourite beers!”

How would you describe Malthouse customers?

In comparison to the other bars I’ve worked at Malthouse customers are a lot more enlightened about what they are drinking. They certainly do know what they want but are open to suggestions.”

What are the worst things a customer can do in a bar?

Clicking fingers. Whistling. The other one is when they are waiting to order but when you come round to serve them they don’t have their order ready. They make you wait while they ask each of their friends what they want. And then complain that they had to wait…” [5]

What are two beers on tap right now that people should try?

I would probably say Renaissance Corgan’s Nightmare which is a Pumpkin Saison. [4] Then the Panhead Eight Shifter Black IPA because it something different.”

Finally, this is a reminder about the Malthouse’s Tuatara Tap Takeover on 5 December 2015. Doors will open to the public at 6pm for a full 29 tap takeover, the launch of the new Tuatara Founders Brew, and some (hopefully) fascinating speeches from key Tuatara staff over the years. [6]

Next time, we drink to John Buchanan, the former Australian cricket coach, who suggested that current Ozzie Test captain Michael Clarke could learn a great deal about principled leadership from (Sir) Richie McCaw. Clarke responded that his dog Jerry could have coached the legendary Australian team better than Buchanan did. I think Clarke just inadvertently proved Buchanan’s point right there…

[1] Compared to the loquacious Unit Manager Ciaran Duffy pretty much everyone is a person of few words. I asked both gents roughly the same set of questions and Macka’s interview was over an hour shorter than Ciaran’s.

[2] This is high praise as NCIS is one of my favourite shows. If Macka is Gibbs then I would argue that Ciaran would have to be Tony DiNozzo and Handsome Pete Moran would be Timothy McGee.

[3] A classic Belgian sour ale.

[4] I don’t know who Corgan is but a Pumpkin Saison certainly sounds like a nightmare to me…

[5] Note to Self: Never do this to Mr Gibbs.

[6] It is rumoured that Carl Vasta is planning his longest public speech in history and aiming to break the legendary two minute mark.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

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