While I am a (relatively recent) convert to the joys of gin and beer, Malthouse has wisely decided to bring in a true expert. On Tuesday 14 June they will be hosting an “American Craft Gin” tasting which will be run by Maria Grau from Spiritus Mundi.  Ciaran is on record saying “she is an avid lover of all things craft and knows her stuff.” The tasting will start at 6:30pm, costs just $20 and will see two US gins served twice – once neat, and once mixed. Here are the tasting notes on the pair:
River Rose Gin from Iowa – This gin has similar botanicals to the world renowned Hendricks Gin but is a lot more floral with less of a cucumber note. 
FEW American Gin from Illinois – This gin is complex yet subtle at the same time. Botanicals such as lemon, orange peel and vanilla make this spirit hard to put down.
Coming up shortly is the now annual Darkest Days showcase of porters, stouts and dark beers. There will be more than twenty dark, warming libations going on tap, many of which are rare visitors to Wellington, the Craft Beer Capital. Following on from last week, here is the second partial list (with a few comments from me in brackets): 
Baylands Knight Ryder (5.7%) – (Chocolate, rye and just a hint of David Hasselhoff’s implausibly tight jeans). 
Funk Estate Super Afro-Disiac (8%) – (Brewed with a “myriad of aphrodisiacs”  this Imperial Stout is for lovers, not fighters).
Hallertau Thomson Whiskey Barrel Aged Double Stout (8.8%) – (Thomson is one of the country’s most exciting distillers, Hallertau are awesome, and this beer has been months in the making).
Renaissance Tribute 2013 Barley Wine (10.8%) – (A dark ale which the brewer promises is “mellow, warming ale with layers of biscuit, roasted hazelnut and maple syrup, with hints of black current and toast”).
Fork Brewing Divine Brown (5.3%) – (Kelly “#brewjesus Ryan has made a mocha brown ale which he claims has “a seductive, dark coffee character with hints of hazelnut and plums, following through into a clean, biscuity mid-palate, and finishing light, slightly sweet and with delicate cacao/dark chocolate flavours, partnered with aromas of freshly ground coffee, fresh-cut grass, roasted hazelnuts and whipped vanilla cream”).
Fork Brewing Parallel Importer (4.8%) – (Kelly #Frodo Ryan has again made a collaboration beer which is a Kiwi take on the award-winning “Brodie’s Prime Porter” – part of the Lakeland Range from Hawkshead Brewery in England. It is a nuanced brown porter).
Panhead Canhead Hardtail Henry Oaked Stout (8%) – (Tastes like getting smacked in the face with a board from an aged whisky barrel but is even better than it sounds. This is the first time this usually canned beer will be on tap).
Lord Almighty Ursus Imperial Stout 2014 (12%) – (New Zealand brewed British pathfinder beer, this brew is off the chart with chocolate, liquorice and prune notes with an oily alcoholic background).
Sunshine Barrel Aged Czar Bomb (9.6%) – (A barrel aged coffee and vanilla imperial stout from a brewery that is rapidly developing its range under new ownership).
Next time, we drink to Maurice Bennett – the Toastman – who sadly passed away this week. Maurice was probably the first supermarket owner to stock beer in New Zealand, ran his own brewing company (Island Bay Brewing), opened what would now be considered a pop up bar on a decommissioned frigate that was about to be sunk (the famous/infamous F69 bar), was a world famous toast artist,  a real man about town and a personal friend. He was a little guy who lived life large and will never be forgotten.
 Spiritus Mundi is a Latin term that literally means, ‘world spirit’. In Spiritus Mundi there is, according to author William Butler Yeats: ‘a universal memory and a ‘muse’ of sorts that provides inspiration to the poet or writer’. This may explain my Sunday night in the man cave…
 I have not had Hendricks’s Gin since the aforementioned Sunday night.
 It seems likely that there will be even more beers to be announced next week.
 If your beer has an 80s action reference in the name, you will get an 80s beer review in the blog. And I thank you for it.
 I’m not brave enough to ask.
 I treasure the beer pint toast portrait he made me. I am writing this sitting beneath it.
Beer and Brewer Magazine
New Zealand Liquor News Magazine
Darkest Days Facebook Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/203115840082026/?notif_t=plan_user_invited¬if_id=1464904466675909
Spiritus Mundi website – http://spiritus.co.nz/?age-verified=84dd5bd3b2
Malthouse Facebook – www.facebook.com/pages/Malthouse/7084276173
Malthouse Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/malthouse
Malthouse Taps on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/MalthouseTaps
Neil Miller on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/#!/beerlytweeting