I sent my favourite supermarket a tweet warning that if heard “Snoopy’s Christmas” there before 25 November there would be… trouble. To their credit, I still have not heard the song at all this year, though they may be hurriedly turning it off when they see me meandering into the car park.

Personally, I describe the Christmas celebrations at my house and place of work as “modest”. Others have used the terms “frugal”, “laughable” and “Grinch-like”. [1] I like my descriptor much better.

Sure, for the last fifteen years I have used the same small plastic Christmas tree that has all the ornaments already stuck on that I purchased at the Warehouse for $15. Sure, the additional decorations tend to be action figures from Star Wars, Professional Wrestling or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles standing around the lurid green base of the “tree”. For me, it really is the thought that counts, and I usually think about putting up the tree right up to Christmas Eve when I finally invest five minutes of my precious time and actually install it. [2]

The Christmas work party is also “modest” when you are self-employed. Currently, the plan is a craft beer pub crawl accompanied by Rocky, a small rubber duck. Rocky is eligible to attend the work function because he won “Employee of the Week”, which seemed suspicious as he does not do any work and is literally a tiny plastic duck. Many have already asked how travelling bars while drinking beer with a duck differs from my usual Wednesday routine. It is an annoyingly perceptive question which I have not devised an annoyingly clever retort for.

Malthouse has put up their now traditional Christmas tree which is made of beer bottles (empty – for obvious reasons) that are strongly glued together (also for obvious reasons). Apart from that, they have been relatively restrained with the Christmas stuff, at least at the time of my last visit. I will check again today on my way to the midnight premiere of Star Wars: Rogue One. ‘[3] There is only one overtly Christmas event on the Malty advent calendar – 12 Kegs of Christmas – and details can be found later in the blog.

First though is the launch of a new food menu from midday on Thursday 15 December 2016 (so, tomorrow in other words). The menu consists of pizzas, breads and bar snacks. Many favourites remain – such as Malthouse Meat Lovers Pizza, Ugly Bread, [4] and spent-grain crusted Chicken Wings. Some of the newer editions include Angry Bread (pizza bread with garlic oil, cracked pepper and chili flakes topped with mozzarella cheese), BCT Sandwich (smoky bacon covered in herby garlic butter with fresh focaccia bread, cheese, tomato and chips), and Jalapeno Balls (spicy bread crumbed jalapeno cheese balls served with aioli).

Check the Malthouse website and/or social media for the full menu once it is launched. This new menu is unlikely to help my festive season diet. In fact, it is likely to actively hinder it. Oh well, tis the season! I remain unconvinced about chicken pizzas though… Sadly, Deep Fried Haggis is not on the menu but rumours have reached my overt overground headquarters that January may be a very Scottish month at Malthouse. Obviously as a reputable beer scribe I will have to find two sources before confirming this early in the New Year.

Next is the Epic Brewery’s 11th Birthday Knees-Up from 3pm on 16 December 2016. This was covered comprehensively in last week’s blog (“Epic 11th Birthday: “My secret dream is to write an epic poem. That’s probably the most pretentious thing I’ve said” – link below) but here is a quick refresher.

Epic Brewery is turning eleven and Malthouse is marking this more than auspicious event with an Epic Tap Takeover. There will be 13 Epic beers on tap – because 11 would make far too much sense – as well as an Epic gin and tonic on tap, and an Epic Armageddon/Champagne hybrid on tap. Here is the full list: [5]

  • Epic Awakening Pilsner (5.2%)
  • Epic Thunder APA (5.8%)
  • Epic Armageddon IPA (6.66%)
  • Epic Hop Zombie Double IPA (8.5%)
  • Epic Eric the Red Red IPA (6.5%)
  • Epic Loral Smashy Lager (5.5%) [6]
  • Epic Stone Hammer IPA (7%)
  • Epic Thor Double IPA (8.8%)
  • Epic Son of Thor IPA
  • Epic Snow White White IPA (6.5%)
  • Epic Lager (5%).
  • Epic Larger (8.5%)
  • Epic Coffee and Fig 2014 Imperial Oatmeal Stout (8%)
  • Epic Gin and Tonic
  • Epic Armageddon/Champagne thing

There will also be the regular Friday Feast with trays of complimentary snacks circulating in the early evening. The Feast is a fine example of host responsibility and – importantly – a fine source of free food. I am still not sure how Ciaran managed to sneak this generous tradition past Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor…

Finally, on Saturday 17 December 2016 Malthouse will be launching their Garage Project 12 Kegs of Christmas beer, helping to raise money for worthy Wellington charities. 12 Kegs of Christmas is a wonderful event which is growing bigger every year. Basically, the fine folk at Garage Project donate kegs of different beers to craft beer bars around town. All the proceeds go to local food related Christmas charities, principally the Room at the Inn (held in Aro Valley Community Hall) and Kaibosh (who are out there rescuing food to feed community groups in their times of need across the Wellington Region). Of course, additional donations are always welcome.

This year, Malthouse has been allocated Garage Project Dirty Boots APA (6.6%) which is brewed with all US hops. I’ve only had it once but recalled notes of grapefruit, grass, tropical fruit and pine, along with a bitter but very balanced finish. I will definitely need to try it again just to be sure though. [7]

Garage Project said we think 12 Kegs of Christmas is a great, public show of the value and love craft beer has to offer Wellington, and it’s awesome to have you be part of this.” On behalf of Malthouse staff I reply “thank you Garage Project – this is a wonderful and generous initiative. We are proud to be involved.” For Twitter, Garage Project has asked that people use the @12kegs account and #12kegs hashtag just to help to create more buzz about the event and the cause.

Next time, we drink to Star Wars: Rogue One. Dear Movie: You had better be more Force Awakens than Attack of the Clones.

[1] Some stronger language has been removed to protect the children – an important demographic of readers for this blog.

[2] This year I am ambitiously planning to put up the tree on December 23. Of course, I have had this plan many times before…

[3] Did I mention to anyone that I was going to the midnight premiere (well, technically 12:01am) of Star Wars: Rogue One? I am quite excited.

[4] There would be riots on the streets if Ugly Bread was ever dropped. Well, I would be rioting anyway.

[5] Assuming I do not get in the Malthouse’s keg room first. Previous attempts have revealed Fort Knox levels of security. Or so I have heard…

[6] I always want to call this beer “Lord Smashy” instead of “Loral Smashy”. It should be noted that Lord Smashy would be an excellent name for a professional wrestler. Lord Smashy McSmashFace would be even better.

[7] The Czechs have a proverb – “A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.”


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


Epic Brewery’s 11th Birthday Knees-Up Facebook event – https://www.facebook.com/events/1153823324665956/

Blog: Epic 11th Birthday: “My secret dream is to write an epic poem. That’s probably the most pretentious thing I’ve said” – http://themalthouse.co.nz/blog/531-epic-11th-birthday-my-secret-dream-is-to-write-an-epic-poem-thats-probably-the-most-pretentious-thing-ive-said

Garage Project – http://garageproject.co.nz/

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