Then, a craft brewery opened in Upper Hutt and there was much rejoicing. Soon after, another craft brewery opened in Upper Hutt and there was much amazement. At 4pm on Thursday 23 March 2017 a third Upper Hutt craft brewery will launch at Malthouse. There are now so many of them that the mainstream media is referring to the “Upper Hutt craft brewing hub”.

I say this rarely but in this instance the mainstream media is right and I was wrong. [1] Upper Hutt has far exceeded my expectations with Kereru, Panhead and now Boneface Brewery. [2] Boneface is launching at Malty on Thursday with four brand new beers and the brewer Matt Dainty himself “hovering about.”

First, some background. Boneface Brewery Founder-Owner-Operator Matt Dainty has brewed at Renaissance for some years. He moved to the Hutt with Selena, his wife and business partner, specifically to set up his own brewery. At first glance, that seems a little odd. After all, why leave the region known as the Craft Brewing Capital of New Zealand to move to Upper Hutt of all places?

Well, Upper Hutt City Council has been incredibly proactive in marketing their area to craft breweries for some time. Even before picking up the Greater Wellington Brew Day festival this year (which was a great event in my opinion), UHCC staff were at brewing conferences touting the virtues of Upper Hutt, not least the affordable industrial space available. Significantly, they were the only local authority doing so in the craft beer sphere. [3]

Mayor Wayne Guppy was quoted by Stuff as saying “we know this is a growing industry and the interest is certainly there. The Brew Day at Trentham showed that. There is affordable space in Upper Hutt for new businesses. It’s a strength and it is exciting that people are confident enough to make this kind of investment.”

For Boneface brewer Matt Dainty and his backers this investment meant more than $500,000 to lease 1000 square metres of the former Dunlop tyre factory (now the South Pacific Industrial Park) and set up a brewing kit capable of making 100,000 litres of bottled and kegged beer a year. They already have five staff before selling a single pint. It is a major investment but Dainty has a strong track record in brewing.

He is launching four beers at Malthouse on Thursday 23 March 2017. I have not tried them but he has so feel free to quiz him on the night. The beers, with my comments (for what they are worth), are:

Boneface Outlaw IPL (5.2%) – IPL in this context is not the vastly over paid cricket competition. It stands for India Pale Lager, a twist on the traditional India Pale Ale. Debate continues to rage about whether it is a real style or not. Personally, I think it is a distinct style of lager, but also feel the style name was deliberately chosen to create controversy.

Boneface Hoptron APA (5.5%)
– Have not tasted it, have not smelled it, have not even seen it, but I am already confident it will be my favourite of the Bonehead range. [4]

Boneface India Stout (5.8%)
– This will undoubtedly be a hoppy stout, an increasingly popular style particularly as the weather begins to turn a bit chilly. There are similar debates to IPL (above) about the name of this style but all that really matters is what is in the glass.

Boneface The Juice Dry Hopped Gose (4.5%)
– Remember last week when I said a few years ago virtually nobody in New Zealand made sour Gose beer but now many breweries have them as a staple? I do love the smell of vindication in the afternoon. [5]

I cannot currently provide the full explanation behind the Boneface name except that it has produced some rather cool tap badges and t-shirts (available from their website below).

My research was – at best – inconclusive. According to Google, in the original Masters of the Universe cartoon [6] He-Man once yelled at Skeletor “let’em go Boneface!” [7] That is probably not it. Given my unusually erudite web searches, Google then tends to direct me to Pope Boniface on the assumption that I have made a spelling error. My music collection supports Boneface being a variation of Bonehead, otherwise known as Paul Arthurs, who was the long suffering rhythm guitarist for Oasis. [8]

For the real answer, ask the brewer.

In addition to the aforementioned brewer and the four new beers, Nanny’s Food Truck will be parked up outside Malthouse on Thursday for the Bonehead launch. The truck is famous for their “pimped out” burgers which I can personally testify to because I think I just gained two kilos simply looking at the photos on their Facebook page.

There are also some sour beers still on tap from Sourfest. Please drink them so there is more room for IPAs.

Next time, we drink to giving English people five pounds, a pork pie and a free, fully vaccinated corgi. Then we just wait for the fan mail to pour in…

[1] That is not to say this situation does not happen often – just that I rarely admit it in public.

[2] The hub is about to get bigger with Te Aro Brewery opening right next door to Boneface at the end of the month.

[3] That said, Wellington City Council has been very supportive of Beervana and the Portland beer exchange.

[4] I am presuming Hoptron is about 73 steps up in quality from Hamiltron.

[5] I am not so keen on the smell of sour beers at any time of the day.

[6] Not to be confused with the terrible Masters of the Universe movie starring the otherwise flawless Dolph Lundgren. When I say it is “terrible” please bear in mind I think Steven Seagal’s Under Siege is a classic film. It is that bad.

[7] For the kids out there, Skeletor was an evil skeleton. He-man was a muscle bound he-man. I don’t think the writers were trying too hard when they came up with these names…

[8] It is hard enough to be just the rhythm guitarist in a mega-band without having the Gallagher brothers around as well.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


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Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse

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