I have been on the ground at the Nelson hop harvest, I have driven in a van filled with fresh hops [1] and I have tipped said hops into a bubbling brew kettle (despite missing the Cook Strait ferry by exactly one minute). It smelled like paradise having a good hair day.

Back then of course Mac’s Brewjolais was the only green hopped beer in the land – now there are over 20 fresh hopped beers in Wellington alone and a similar number in Auckland. In fact, I’ve already supped Liberty’s fresh hopped beer which is modestly called “Alpha Lord”. It was the second best beer at the Great Kiwi Beer Festival in Christchurch after Epic The Stone Hammer IPA. [2]

It is no secret that I have a subtle fondness for hops. In fact, I like hops in the same way I like oysters, my beloved Brisbane Broncos, Ronald Reagan, Office Space, sashimi, Wrestlemania baby, The Hobbit (book version), Martin Bosley, capitalism, (Sir) Jeremy Clarkson, Star Wars, Samantha Fox, [3] PJ O’Rourke, Hawaiian shirts, Scottish Rugby, hugs from Steve Nally, Oasis, Jane Clifton’s writing style, the complete works of Steven Seagal, Gavin Hastings, Tyrion Lannister, Stu McKinlay’s funky trousers [4] and Johnny Bravo – in other words, a lot.

In an effort to appear informed rather than tired and emotional, I referred to the “Oxford Companion to Beer” for a definition of hops. In that weighty and most righteous tome Victoria Carollo Blake – a plant scientist from Montana State University [5] noted:

“Hops are the ingredient in beer that provides its backbone of bitterness, increases its microbiological stability, helps stabilise its foam, and greatly influences its taste and aroma. Hops are the flowers or ‘cones’ of Humulus Lupulus, a Latin diminutive meaning roughly ‘a low slinking little wolf plant’…” [6]

Hops are, technically speaking, “freaking awesome” and I adore them with the power of a thousand suns. Fresh hopped beers are particularly “freaking awesome” because they are generally sticky, volatile, resinous and change rapidly over time. Hopstock brewers are allocated to Wellington bars by lot and Malthouse is delighted to have been paired with 8 Wired Brewing (despite it now being in Auckland).

Brewer Soren Eriksen, my third favourite Dane, makes the delicious 8 Wired Fresh HopWired IPA (2016) (7.3%) which uses piles of fresh Nelson Sauvin hops. I really cannot say anything better than last weeks’ comment that 8 Wired Fresh HopWired “is like motorboating a magical hop bale while riding a unicorn. It is seriously that good.” I’m sure potential future employers will take that in context.

The title of today’s blog was taken from the 1992 hit “Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty by Nature. It spent one week at the top of the US charts but only got t to number 6 in the New Zealand because… well, we think OMC can rap. [7] Noted music critic MC Wikipedia states the chorus of “hey… ho… hey… ho” lyric is among the most popular choruses in the hip-hop genre. Vanilla Ice would consider that lazy writing. Heck, Jedward probably would not sing it…

In the second part of this blog I want to give a huge shout out to Jordan Gleason from Black Acre Brewery for actually standing up and doing something about sexism in the hospitality industry. Here are the key points from the now viral post he wrote on Facebook:

“Today I had to explain to a 60 year old man why he was banned from the pub.

In January he made several sexist remarks about the female staff that were working. He told them to their faces that that he liked looking at their tits while they washed dishes, and their asses while they were pouring drinks. He was told to leave and not come back. He came back last month, and was told we wouldn’t serve him. He came back yet again today, and when told he wouldn’t be served demanded to talk to a manger.

I sat with him for a few minutes as he explained that what he said would have been okay 20 years ago, and that it was just some off colour remarks. He told me he had apologized, and that he guessed my servers were too sensitive. He then told me that if what he said was a problem, then I should tell them not to wear low cut shirts, and that I should face the dish washing sink away from customers. But since he apologized, he should be allowed to drink in my establishment because he lives in the neighbourhood and will bring in business.

I told him flatly that wasn’t happening, and that what he said to those ladies was incredibly offensive. The simple fact that he couldn’t understand that just because they were working didn’t mean they deserve his disrespectful language. That these ladies were part of my family, and were human beings that deserved respect. They aren’t objects, and they certainly shouldn’t have to wear different clothes because he can’t be bothered with showing them any decency or respect. “But we’re men and they’re females. Is cleavage just not a thing anymore?”

I told him yeah buddy, it’s not, and I won’t be changing my mind about having him served. He threatened bad publicity, I told him I didn’t care, and he left.

I work in the service industry, and we get the sheer joy and pleasure of meeting and talking to so many great people in our city. I’ve met some of my best friends here behind the bar. I live for it man. Connecting people who haven’t met, making sure people can relax from a [bad] day, or celebrate a great one, or just to simply enjoy a few beers with friends. I’ve seen wedding proposals, birthday parties, political discussions, deep philosophical debates, neighbourhood organization, the absolute works. The best of humanity coming together and bonding. That’s my JAM. It’s one of the biggest reasons I get out of bed in the morning to come in to work day after day.

As absolutely insanely fun as that is, the dark side of this business is we run into some pretty horrible goblin people. Folks who think that just because we’re serving, we don’t deserve any basic decency or respect. I’ve been snapped at, mocked, threatened, and insulted about not having a real job. Anybody in this line of work gets used to a degree of it and develops a thicker skin. Here’s the thing though, women in this field get infinitely more disgustingly treated. The sheer number of times they get groped, or harassed, or treated like objects would blow your mind. The worst of it is how normal their harassers think their behaviour is. Every single lady in here handles it with grace and aplomb, and I applaud them for it. I’ve had their backs as we’ve bounced people out for that trash, but countless times they just deal with it before it even gets to me.

Men, we often don’t see the level of filth that our friends, sisters, and mothers go through every day. We hope to surround ourselves with people who would never treat a woman like that. We live in a safe little bubble. But the reality of this thing? It’s an insidious disease that’s happening every single day, several times a day and it turns my stomach. To every dude out there, we need to combat this disease like it’s the god damned plague that it is.”

Well played sir. You are an absolute inspiration who backs up his words with action.

Next time we drink to the Maldives which recently over took New Zealand in the soccer/football rankings. Do they even have room for a pitch? [8]

[1] Spoiler: You giggle a lot. Like, really a lot.

[2] Drop the Hammer.

[3] Did you know that Samantha Fox shares the same birthday as Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Malthouse Proprietor? Well, she does. I have slightly more posters of her than Col in my bedroom…

[4] Whatever colour they are this week. Like I can tell.

[5] This is a real University – unlike Massey or Waikato.

[6] “Low slinking little wolf plant” would be an excellent name for a professional wrestler.

[7] Ironically the song “Hip Hop Holiday” by 3 The Hard Way did make it to number one in New Zealand in 1994.

[8] New Zealand remains one spot ahead of India but simply because their only exposure to soccer/football was the movie “Bend it like Beckham” which, to be fair, is enough to put anybody off the game.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

New Zealand Liquor News Magazine


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