According to social media, the “nice girl” won and the “bad girl” did not. I believe I have seen exactly the same plot many times in professional wrestling… and Disney cartoons… and shampoo commercials…

 However, the “nice girl” was not a winner for very long as, within a couple of days, the bachelor publicly called off the engagement. [1] Yes – who would have thought a guy who would date two dozen women at the same time on camera to further his career would have commitment issues? I’m sure the Woman’s Weekly is already interviewing the “nice girl”, the “bad girl” and the second extra to the left at the dinner scene. [2]

While I laugh openly at people who become emotionally invested in this kind of nonsense, I also have to acknowledge that I watch Sharknado, professional wrestling and American political debates. Some people find that odd – particularly the American politics part. Confession time: I am a political tragic.

 My degree is in politics (and history), and before becoming an award-winning beer writer, [3] I spent six years working in Parliament as a researcher and speech writer. Under my watch, the National Party went from 44% in the polls to 23% and from Government to Opposition. This would have been an excellent achievement if I had not been working for the National Party at the time. Since I left, things appear to have gone quite well for them. [4]

 Although not active in local politics beyond a few after dinner debates, I retain a strong interest in New Zealand politics, British politics and, my one weakness, American politics. To demonstrate this point, I am currently reading the 843 page 1948 autobiography of Cordell Hull, the US Secretary of State during World War Two. He was also the longest serving Secretary of State at 11 years in the office. This autobiography is volume one of two. In unrelated news, I am single.

 I view the events in America politics today with a mix of horror and fascination. Hillary Clinton would be a terrible President. Donald Trump would be something much, much worse. My inner political nerd hopes that a third candidate emerges and gallops triumphantly through the yawning credibility gap created by the presumptive nominees from the left and the right. Names of the top of my head include Harrison Ford, Jack Black and Amy Schumer. [5]

 Watching US politics is increasingly requiring the consumption of beer to lessen the urge to yell “you are the only global superpower and the shining city on the hill. Are you freaking kidding me America?” It is fortunate then that brewers are producing beer.

 One of those brewers is Te Aro Brewing – the brewing arm of Brewtopia Brewing Supplies. Last night they hosted a sold out beer, cheese and history event at Malthouse. The good news is that the beer and cheese theme will continue as the six Te Aro beers are still on tap and Ciaran, the bullish, bewitching and blunt Malthouse Unit Manager, has decreed that punters can bring in their own cheese to conduct their own beer and cheese matching. In unrelated news, writing this has compelled me to consume some cheese – Whitestone Aged Airedale. I find it creamy, sharp and just a little precocious.

Te Aro Brewing has kindly provided some suggested cheese matches for their six beers. They stress “these are all just suggestions, there are no right or wrong combos and we would love to hear what you’ve paired with each beer.” Here is their list of beers and potential cheese matches:

Te Aro Razzle Dazzle Pilsner – a clean light style of cheese – soft goats, havarti, gouda (my choice would be gouda).

Te Aro Fred’s US IPA – a more intense/funky style of cheese – young or golden blue, farmhouse cheddar (my choice would be farmhouse cheddar).

Te Aro Grapefruit IPA – a fruity slightly funky cheese style – cheddar, light blue, washed rind (my choice would be washed rind, and the growing number of delicious Grapefruit IPAs is forcing me to rethink my traditional disdain for fruit beers).

Te Aro Session Stout – a softer, creamier interesting style – fresh mozzarella, semi soft goats/sheep cheese (my choice would be goats’ cheese – not too strong or goaty as it is a Session Stout).

Te Aro Barrel Aged Rhubarb Berliner Weisse – something creamy and interesting, or hard and aged – aged gouda, washed rind, soft blue (never having heard of, far less tried, a barrel aged, rhubarb infused Berliner Weisse I have no advice here. Try them all).

Te Aro Barrel Aged Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout – aged, stinky and/or smoked blue, smoked cheddar (Time to go blue – the more stank the better. This is likely to be the outstanding match on the menu).

This column is not all beer, skittles and cheese. [6] Next Saturday (21 May) is World Whisky Day. You can be assured it is a legitimate celebration as it has a website. I have been known to enjoy a dram of two, particularly while watching Braveheart, enjoying Sean Connery as James Bond or watching England lose at any sport.

Malthouse is a little more civilised so to mark this event they are offering a week of Whisky Platters starting next Monday and finishing next Sunday. Each day there will be four different whiskies with from their huge selection tasting notes. [7] A platter will cost a more than reasonable $50. Slainte!

Next time, we drink to Mojo Mathers, the Green List MP, who managed to tell Parliament that her UK-based trust was not in any way a foreign trust. Not many people could do that with a straight face.

[1] In New Zealand this now constitutes front page news as there are apparently no other more important issues in the entire world.

[2] I’m presuming there was a dinner scene at some point. I doubt the series had any philosophical discussion scenes…

[3] Until last year I had to write “award nominated beer writer” – which was true, but only because I repeatedly nominated myself for said award.

[4] John Key may have had some impact – I am sure it was not just me

[5] I would have nominated Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Oliver or Paula Bennett, but they were all born outside the United States and, constitutionally, are therefore ineligible to stand.

[6] Apart from this sentence, skittles do not appear in this blog at all. Yet again.

[7] Hopefully Ciaran will have mastered the spellchecker by then…


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

New Zealand Liquor News Magazine


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