In fact, this blog is now well into its sixth year which is gratifying, humbling and terrifying in near equal portions. Hopefully, standards will continue to lift as this is undoubtedly my favourite writing outlet with many fantastic readers.

The last post was on 17 December 2015 and since then a lot has happened. I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens again, the Black Caps won the cricket, I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens again, I got a Star Wars bottle opener that beeps like R2-D2 when used, and I guess Christmas happened.

New Years Eve probably happened as well but, as usual, I locked myself in, closed the curtains and watched “Starship Troopers.”[2] “Amateur Drinking Eve” is one of my least favourite dates of the year. However, others seem to enjoy it. And now it is 2016.

My plan for the first blog of 2016 was my beloved but always controversial Top Ten Kiwi Beers of the Year list. Then I received a black raven from Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor. I presumed it was good news. It read (in part) “Yeah, about that. You are writing about cider. Let’s work as a team and do it my way!” The rest was just abuse of my hometown of Broxburn. [3]

The catalyst for this order was the impending arrival of Ciderhouse, an annual event which celebrates everything about cider with a massive tap takeover by ciders of all descriptions, some of which are quite rare. I honestly believed this event was initially created in 2013 simply to annoy me [4] but it has proved so popular is now an annual occasion (if not more frequent).

This year, Malthouse becomes Ciderhouse will run from Friday 15 January to Friday 22 January 2016 (or while stocks last) offering a massive rotating selection of ciders. I have obtained the initial cider list [5] though of course, as always, it is subject to change (usually additions). Here is the list as it stands today:

 Peckham’s Kir – Cider with Blackcurrant

 Peckham’s Elderflower – Cider made with Elderflower

 Good George Doris Plum – Cider made with Doris Plums [6]

 Good George Drop Hop – Cider made with Hops (I actually really like this one)

 Zeffer Slack Ma Girdle – Cider made with 50 apple varieties (I use this to cook fresh clams – delicious)

 Zeffer Hopped up Pippin – Cider made with Hops

 Forbidden Simply Apple – Cider (Their website says “the name says it all.”)

 Forbidden Lady Pink – Cider made with Lady Pink apples

 Hallertau Granny Smith – Cider made with Granny Smith apples

 Two Thumbs Scoundrels and Rogues – Cider which has been barrel-aged in French oak for a year.

There are also rumours of a whisky barrel aged cider from the Bay and something super strong, but these are unconfirmed. There should be more details in next week’s blog. I thought I had an inside source called “Mr X”, but it turned out to be Colin Craig. Worst. Sauna. Ever.

As well as looking forward, this time of year is also a time to reflect on the previous twelve months. 2015 was a bumper year for events at Malthouse and many (if not all them) will reappear in 2016 in bigger and better forms. Here is a partial list of 2015 events:

Sourfest – a celebration of sour beers which confirmed the skyrocketing popularity of this mouth-puckering style.

Hopstock – the fresh hop harvest and one of my favourites.

Beer Yum Char – craft beer and 32 hand crafted dumplings? Don’t mind if I do.

Darkest Days – dark weather needs a dark beer. Malthouse had dozens.

Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge – tapping into the natural competitiveness of brewers to provide drinkers with more than 15 new hoppy beers every year. That Colin is a genius…

Road to Beervana – the biggest week of the beer year in Wellington.

Hunt for Red October – the Red Ale festival surfaces.

Session Beer Session – because not every beer has to be big to be beautiful.

In addition, there were dozens of beer launches, Tap Takeovers, Brewery Birthdays and other assorted festivities. That’s not going to stop but neither is it going to be all. Malthouse is actually planning to… well, I guess you will just have to keep reading this blog throughout the year to find out. [7]

Welcome to 2016 with Malthouse Blog. It’s on like Donkey Kong.

Next time we drink to people. Sometimes, just when you need it most, they are overwhelmingly excellent.

[1] And always wanted to get an LL Cool J reference into a beer blog. Guess I can tick that one off my New Year Resolutions list. Ah good, the list is all finished. Pass the ale.

[2] An underrated classic which combines a scathing critique of authoritarian societies and human hubris with bloody thirsty aliens and nudity.

[3] Which, to be fair, is very high up on the very short list of places that Glasgow can make fun of.

[4] My first blog about it was called “Malthouse becomes Ciderhouse – should have been Roadhouse.”

[5] Many Bothans died bringing me this information. Hopefully it is more accurate than most of the information they have supplied in the Star Wars movies.

[6] Look at me! I’m a cider writer. I’m contributing to the sum of human knowledge.

[7] This may be code for “I don’t know either.”


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

New Zealand Liquor News Magazine


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