During the course of this extensive cleansing, [1] I made some interesting discoveries:

  • I have no less than three certificates in Excel training – despite always struggling to get Excel to even add up sums correctly, far less do any real formulas. [2]
  • My archives include a signed photograph of Hon Peter Dunne (Minister of Internal Affairs) in an inflatable Sumo Suit. I may have organised that event… However, I think the photo will provide most useful leverage. Look for me in the next Honours list getting a Knighthood for services to “wrestling”.
  • At one point in my life, I bought a leopard skin mouse pad.
  • At one point in my life, I had a computer with a mouse.
  • I discovered the three drafts of the business book I co-wrote years ago – it is amazing to see how it evolved with each iteration. This find will be invaluable to my biographers.
  • Following some preliminary tidying, it was revealed that my office did indeed have “floor bits” (as my girlfriend so eloquently put it). That fact had been obscured for some considerable time by my habit of filing paper items in chronological order on the floor. [3]
  • I found some stuff from my time in Parliament – including cartoons that used to hang on my office wall. They have been restored to their rightful place to continue to inspire me. For the record, there is a fantastic Dilbert and a wonderful Brunswick.
  • There were some medals I won – for public speaking and being Dux – so I hung them up in my eye line to try and convince myself that I am Kurt Angle (Olympic Gold Medallist and Professional Wrestler). [4]
  • The Lego I used to build a war machine driven by penguins (also made out of Lego) was unearthed. In my defence, I made this magnificent construction when I younger – maybe 19 years old or so.

In addition, there was a lot of beer related items, including notebooks that I took on trips to Auckland (my first working beer trip), America (my biggest working beer trip) and the South Island (one of my most fun working beer trips thanks to Russ Barbour). [5] For some reason there was also a Lion Beer ashtray. No explanation for that was readily available.

However, I did find several international beer magazines where I had painstakingly tagged items of potential interest to New Zealand readers, which then got subsumed in reams of papers for years until unexpectedly revealed in my recent excavations. The dates of the magazines (2009) provide a terrifyingly accurate insight into my filing and general organisational prowess. Despite the slight (seven year) time delay, there were some observations and predictions which I believe are still prescient (or at least funny) in 2016.

In the January 2009 edition of Beer Magazine, award-winning beer writer Ben McFarland wrote about the experiences of being an Englishman on a beer tour in America. Some of his best observations were:

  • “For two lily-livered limeys weaned on quaffable bitters, mellow milds and light tasting lagers, America’s IPA infatuation was a shock to the system, but desire for hoppy beer soon enveloped our souls and senses like Poison Ivy.
  • Judging a Double IPA competition is a taste bud-trashing experience in futility – there are no winners in the IBU arms race. [6]
  • We are still disappointed that we’re not the first Brits to snigger our way through a pint at the Wanker’s Corner Pub in Oregon.” [7]

From the 30th anniversary edition of All about Beer Magazine, also in 2009, here some highlights from their three-decade review:

  • 1983 – “Sorority Girls Rate the Light Beers” (Coors Light and Amstel Light win) follows “Longshoremen Rate the Imports” (Moosehead wins).
  • 1990 – A feature on the Hash House Harriers (“drinkers with a running problem”) around the world, particularly in the Far East.
  • 1995 – Supreme Court rules in Rubin vs Coors that breweries have a First Amendment right to list the alcohol content on their beer labels.
  • 2007 – The “Brett Pack”, five cutting edge young brewers/owners (Allagash, Avery, Dogfish, Port, Russian River breweries), talk to Stan Hieronymus. The fivesome will become a familiar sight festival panels and cooperative brews.
  • 2007 – Michael Jackson’s final “Jackson’s Journal” column appears after his death. “Did I cheat Mort Subite? [Sudden Death]” is read mourners around the world and translated into six languages.
  • 2009 – Senate Finance Committee, to fund President Obama’s health care initiative, proposes whopping new beer tax that would hike the excise on beer about 250% to hard liquor levels.

From the same issue, Julie Johnson’s feature article “Revolution” concludes with this observation which resonates with my reading of the current New Zealand beer scene (which is generally agreed to be some years behind the American market in many respects). She observed:

“By this new century it became possible to spot a generational change in the new start ups and the beers they chose to brew. The first generation mastered India Pale Ale, this generation ramped it up to create Double IPA; the first generation revived porter, this one put dark chocolate and coffee beans in it; the first generation had to impress upon a naive public that beer could be a high-quality beverage; the new one borrowed a corked-bottle format from the Belgians and demanded a place at white-tablecloth restaurants.”

In the lead-up to this august event, from this weekend Malthouse will be pouring rare kegs from Northern Monk, a cutting edge brewery out of Leeds, UK. Their offerings include North Monk New World IPA (6.2%, 60 IBU, British, Australian and American hops), New World Communion APA (5.1% collaboration brew using European and American hops) and New World Eternal Blonde Ale (4.1%, 45 IBU, Simcoe and Centennial hops).

This is a reminder that from 7pm on 8 September 2016, Malthouse will host the first Yeastie Boys Beer and Music Raffle. From 7pm, DJ Don Luchito from Radio Active will play 24 songs which in some way match one of the eight Yeastie Boys beers on tap. Punters who match the songs to the beers on tap get a chance to win some “Yeastie Swag”, [8] with a raffle ticket for the big draw which will see some one lucky patron win a pair of Stu McKinlay’s Colourful Yet Awkwardly Tight In Delicate Places Trousers. Oh, and Yeastie Boys Rex Attitude will be on tap for the very brave and/or very foolish.

Next time, we drink to Pixels – a criminally under-rated film.

[1].At times it has resembled the Fifth Labour of Hercules (The Auegan Stables) more than I would care to admit. Well, a rare Classical reference in the Malthouse blog…

[2] Spoiler: I tend to type in the actual numbers, use a calculator, write the totals and hope no one checks the formulae.

[3] Several readers will have a voice going “it’s on the floor” in their heads thanks to some very funny ads a few years ago. Not very effective ads admittedly as I have no idea what they were for. [A quick search reveals they were for Sky’s Living Channel.]

[4] He won a (real) Olympic gold medal with a (real) “freaking broken neck”. Mr Angle is My Olympic Hero.

[5] After re-reading our exploits, he becomes my “3rd Favourite Canadian” again, jumping up over 1.345 million places.

[6] Or on the other hand, I think someone should start a Double/Triple IPA contest in New Zealand and call it the IBU Arms Race. I would put my hand up and open my wallet to judge it.

[7] Chris Jericho, professional wrestler, metal musician and general sexy beast, toured Australia years ago. The crowd, polite as all Australian crowds always are, informed Jericho en masse of their collective opinion that he was a “wanker”. Jericho got on the microphone, told the crowd that he had no idea what that word meant, but if it was being chanted at him then it must be a good thing. Jericho – 1. Australia – 0.

[8] While it does sound like a serious medical condition, it is apparently hip slang for “merchandise from the Yeastie Boys brewery”. Phew.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


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