Considering such a momentous issue, my eyes swept around the room where I work. They tracked a Star Wars Blu-Ray, six Star Wars DVDs, seven Star Wars video cassettes, [3] a Snow Speeder with two Snow Troopers action figure set, [4] a beer named after my favourite Star Wars weapon, a Hoth Base diorama, my #starwarsday wrist bracelet, a Death Star playset, a coffee table book about vintage Star Wars action figures (definitely not toys), and a dozen Star Wars Angry Birds.

The jury is not going to be out long on that verdict. I have previously described Star Wars as a “movie franchise which has plundered my wallet for 90% of my time on this planet” and Lucas Film as “the only organisation to take more of money than the Inland Revenue Department.” The only difference is that I am now paying my money to Darth Mickey Mouse at Disney. This trend is showing no signs of slowing down – in fact my Star Wars obsession may be getting more intense as my disposable income rises. In unrelated news, I am single.

 Malthouse Padawan Ciaran Duffy sent me the list of beers to cover this week so I immediately decided to assign each of them a character from the Star Wars franchise. I believe this is a completely valid beer reviewing strategy as I have seen an award winning beer writer do it before. [5]

 Renaissance Grand Master Double IPA (8.5%) – The outrageously moustachioed brewer Andy Deuchars describes this beer as “somewhere between a Barley Wine and an American Double IPA, MPA has been seasonal Ale for Renaissance for years now. So we thought we would tweak it…To brew this special Ale we have used large amounts of freshly harvested hops, and for that we have selected one of New Zealand sexiest hop varieties, Wai-Iti. We drove over to Motueka early one March morning and got the hops fresh off the vines, then drove back to Blenheim and brewed with them in the afternoon.”  

I adore this beer with its lashings of mandarins, oranges, grapefruit and pinecones over a solid caramel backbone. If this beer was a Star Wars character, it would be: THE EMPEROR (it rules).

 Epic Hop Zombie Double IPA (8.5%) – This is one of my favourite beers of all time. The aroma is like getting smacked in the head with a sack of sweet Valencia oranges while the finish has all the bitterness of a Hollywood divorce. To be honest, if the trustworthy readers of this blog do not drink all the Hop Zombie then I will. If this beer was a Star Wars character, it would be: AN AT-AT (totally awesome).

Renaissance/Liberty/Panhead India Kolsch Ale (5.6%): I am pretty sure that this is a made-up beer style but I am also convinced that collaborative brewers Joseph Wood, Mike Neilson and Andy Deuchars could kick my ass. [6] So for the purposes of this post India Kolsch Ale is a totally valid beer style.

 The brewers say “based on the malt bill and yeast for a Kolsch beer, ramped up with an IPA’s hops. As with any Kolsch, the focus is on drinkability with a clean slightly sweet malt profile. This is then smothered in hops, providing plenty of punch and character along the way.” If this beer was a Star Wars character, it would be: WEDGE ANTILLIES (a Rebel pilot who is really good but always in the background).

 Using some sort of Irish Jedi mind trick, Ciaran is making me write about sour beers (again). There is the classic Duchesse de Bourgogne (6%), a sour Flanders Red Ale with notes of wood, fruit, tart and candy. If this beer was a Star Wars character, it would be: Admiral Ackbar (very competent but almost everyone dies).

 Then there is Lindeman’s Kriek (3.5%). This is a famous Lambic-style fruit beer using fresh cherries. The result is a light, tart, sour beer with some sweetness from the cherries. If this beer was a Star Wars character, it would be: Jar Jar Binks (has its fans but I hate it with the passion of a thousand battle stations),

 Finally, just to mess with me, there is Moa Checkpoint Charlie (3%) in my beloved Hopinator. Not only is this a Berliner Weisse – one of my least favourite beer styles – but my beloved Hopinator is currently full of cherries to give this tart, quenching beer a bit of an extra stonefruit kick. Note to Malthouse: Can we put hops in the Hopinator at some point? If this beer was a Star Wars character, it would be: Wicket (an Ewok who went to have a surprisingly illustrious career).

 On 11 May 2016, Malthouse will be hosting brewer Carl Hayes from Te Aro Brewing who will be presenting Te Aro beers with cheese. This will involve six Te Aro Brewing beers on tap (including some never before tapped barrel-aged beers), lots of matching cheese and a little bit of history. Malty loyalty card holder will get triple points on this event and/or any Te Aro beers.

 Next time we drink in sorrow to the fact that we did not put a lazy fiver on Leicester City FC winning the 2015 English Premier League football/soccer competition. At the start of the season their odds were 5000-1 and they were favoured for relegation. 5000-1 was the same odds offered by American bookies for pop culture orange goblin Kim Kardashian to be the next US President. [7

 To put this in context, betting agencies had Elvis still being alive at 2,000-1, Hugh Hefner admitting he is a virgin at 1000-1, Sir Alex Ferguson winning Strictly Come Dancing at 1000-1, Simon Cowell to be next UK Prime Minister at 500-1, and the Loch Ness Monster being found alive at a comparably reasonable 500-1.

[1] I was late.

[2] True Star Wars nerds, and there are a few in the craft beer scene, will know that Empire day is actually 23 May.

[3] Curse you Special Editions!

[4] I am frequently reminded that it is not in the new Star Wars film but, in my defence, it does appear in a deleted scene. Like virtually everything piloted by Stormtroopers it is inevitably blown up by teenagers.

[5] Disclaimer: It was me. At least I cannot be accused of plagiarism…

[6] If forced to pick in which order they would kick my ass it would be – Mike, Jo then Andy.

[7] America may yet elect a pop culture orange goblin in the form of Donald Trump. Canada needs to start building that wall…


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

New Zealand Liquor News Magazine


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