I first met him when he became a lawyer, but he quickly got better. He started home brewing which was a step in the right direction. Then he was a Government policy analyst before escaping away into the private sector. He won some prestigious home brew awards and as a result got to hang out with Stu McKinlay and his wonderful pantaloons.

Taking a sizeable pay cut, Mr Childs became a bartender at the Fork & Brewer before making the ultimate sacrifice – he moved to Auckland. Up north he sold home brew supplies before taking the plunge and setting up Behemoth, now an award-winning brewery about to celebrate four years in business. [1] Wow – such an amazing achievement.

That seems like a worthy milestone to celebrate and Malthouse will do so through the medium of cake. However, Malthouse will not be baking cakes and Behemoth will not be bringing the dessert. The Six Foot Five Beer Giraffe will be bringing eight beers to Malty for his fourth birthday bash on Friday 26 May 2017. [2]

It turns out that the punters will be bringing cakes in the hope of winning a $200 bar tab at 8pm that night. Only a thrifty Glaswegian such as Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Malthouse Proprietor could have thought up such a fiendish scheme. He is probably still upset that my beloved Edinburgh was recently ranked the second most liveable city in the world after our very own Wellington took top place, and his disreputable home town of Glasgow was judged 189th out of the 47 cities considered. [3]

So, on 26 May 2017 Malthouse will host the Behemoth Birthday Cake Bake Off from 4pm. Customers are encouraged to bring in a slice of birthday cake for Andrew Childs to judge with the eventual winner receiving the $200 tab. On closer reflection, I may have been too hard on Mr Mallon. It seems far more likely that Mr Childs himself designed this calorific contest solely in order to get lots of free cake. It does seem like something he would do. That is one smart giraffe…

It is time to set aside the cake and talk about beer. Here are some of the special beers on tap this week:

Croucher Golden Ale with secret trial hops in the Hopinator – I am more surprised than anyone that this is the Third week in a row which sees Malthouse putting actual hops in the Modus Hopperandus. Long may it continue! 

Lagunitas IPA (6.2%) – On the subject of beers I did not expect to see on tap -> this one. I adore Lagunitas though they have courted recent controversy by selling out to Heineken, which may be the reason we are now seeing this wonderful brew suddenly available in New Zealand. Having visited the brewery, I thought those free-spirited Californian hippies who owned it would never ever sell to a multinational giant. Guess I was wrong again.

Here is what I wrote about that visit back in 2008:

“It’s ten o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting on a horse saddle, and that is not even the most interesting part of this story. The saddle is actually the top of a bar stool and I’m contemplating a bristling 8.3% Double American Pale Ale which weighs in at a staggering 100 units of bitterness.

This monstrous “hop bomb” has been poured by one of the self-proclaimed “old hippies” who run the Lagunitas Brewing Company in California, USA. While my erstwhile companions have elected to start with the more approachable Pilsner or even the recommended Saison, I’ve headed straight to the hop. I detect a hint of approval at my order.” [4]

The Lagunitas IPA is a very good beer – although obviously not as good as their Double IPA…

Also featuring this week is:

Wild Beer Ninkasi (9%) – This is a celebration beer with apple juice, wild yeasts, New Zealand hops and champagne fermentation. It seems terrifying yet oddly compelling – like another poem from Colin Craig. [5]

Wild Beer Evolver (5.8%) – Here we have a Brettanomyces Infected IPA. They do not mess around with “Brett Infused” or “Brett Influenced” – this beer has been deliberately infected with a funky, funky wild yeast. That is not out of character for the Wild Beer Brewery which urges customer to “drink wildly differently.”

Wild Beer NZ Fresh (5.5%) – A seasonal release using the freshest hops from the north and south hemispheres, in this case New Zealand. The flavour profile differs with each batch but they are looking for a punchy, aromatic pale ale with a Kiwi twist.

BrewDog Jet Black Heart (4.7%) – Another beer named after a song. In this case it is “Jet Black Heart” by Australian band Five Seconds of Summer. I have never heard of them so it is possible that they are actually cool. The actual beer is a pitch black milk stout with notes of milky coffee, oatmeal, citrus, oatmeal, prunes, chocolate, burned bread (toast probably) and dates. It is surprisingly light in alcohol and mouthfeel. But Malthouse is pouring it on Nitro!

Next time, we drink to tigers behind the keyboard. Because everyone needs a hobby.

[1] He also married a wonderful woman far too good for him. As I say, he is one of my heroes.

[2] I am delighted to have successfully dubbed the Behemoth big guy “The Beer Giraffe” on this very website, and even more pleased to see the appellation now on his bottles, business cards and website. I guess it worked because it really does fit.

[3] Several of the reviewers were never seen again which probably counted against Glasgow. Nothing has been proven though. Yes, I made a clever law joke there.

[4] My sequencing decisions were vindicated when several of my drinking companions ran out of time to try the big IPAs before the bus left for the next brewery.

[5] Canadian readers may need to look this reference up. It is worth it. This guy (who almost became a Member of Parliament) is one of the few poets worse than me.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


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