My parents are Scottish and both sides of my family can trace their Scots ancestry for generations… though there are rumours of a few Irish rogues deep in the family tree back in the day and possibly an English great-great-grandmother. Coming to New Zealand at the tender age of five years and three hundred and sixty days, my accent did not last long at all. Primary school can be a steep and cruel learning curve if you are the new, fat, foreign kid.

I acknowledge that my parents have pronounced Scottish accents but I have always found them very easy to understand. In much the same way that I do not need to have subtitles on to watch the movie “Trainspotting”. Honestly, I do not particularly like the film – but at least I know what they are on about. Only in my late twenties did some old school friends finally build up the courage to confess that they often had no idea what my mum and dad were saying when we were growing up. I wish I still had a Scottish accent – it’s dead sexy, d’ye no ken? [1]

My family became New Zealand citizens when I was nine. We did not need to attend a citizenship ceremony or swear allegiance to Aotearoa – at the time that was just for “foreigners”. British people simply got a certificate through the mail. Thankfully, that disgraceful situation has long changed and ironically my first job after university was as a Citizenship Officer at the Department of Internal Affairs in the Special Operations Team. It sounds glamorous – like investigating dirty cops – but it was not.

My Scottish heritage is important to me. I support the Scottish rugby team even when they are playing the All Blacks [2]. I support the British and Irish Lions against New Zealand teams even when they only select two Scottish players in the entire squad, and then put one on the midweek bench while the other is probably washing the team bus. [3] I support the Scottish cricket team even though they just lost to Ireland and got thrashed repeatedly by Afghanistan recently.

When thinking about Scottish culture and poetry, most people think of Billy Connolly, and rightly so. A few deluded souls would nominate Coldplay. However, the considered academic consensus is that Robbie Burns is truly the Scottish Bard. However, they cannot agree on his name which varies between Robert (too posh), Robbie (too familiar), Robby (just wrong) and Rabbie (which only works if you are actually Scottish).

To honour the great man, Malthouse is hosting the second annual Robbie Burns Day festival which is sensitively titled “Lift Yer Kilt” on Thursday 25 January 2018. [4] It will feature close to a dozen beers from the Tempest Brewery in Scotland and a Scottish food option of Lorne Sausage sandwiches. Both of these features are rare, tremendously exciting, and somehow make me hungry and thirsty at the same time.

Here are the first five Tempest Brewing beers for the 2018 “Lift Yer Kilt” festival. They are produced in Tweedbank, Scotland. The rest of the Burns beer list will be detailed in next week’s blog.

Tempest Brewing All the Leaves are Brown (10.5%) – This is a limited edition brown ale brewed to imperial strength. Even Scottish people think it is quite strong and this is in the country which makes Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Buckfast. There are strong notes of caramel, maple syrup, coffee, vanilla and caramel.

Tempest Brewing The Old Fashioned (9.5%) – Things get complicated very quickly here. It is an imperial strength rye pale ale aged in bourbon barrels. The beer already has ginger and orange in it, and then it picks up whisky and vanilla notes from the Heaven Hill barrels. Did I mention it has a lot of hops as well?

Tempest Brewing Bourbon Barrel Aged Mexicake (11.6%) – Anyone would think that Scottish people like very strong beers or something… This is an Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels with notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, oak and coconut. The origins of the Scottish Mexicake are not entirely clear but it was almost certainly deep fried.

Tempest Brewing In the Dark We Live (7.2%) – This Black IPA should not be confused with Tuatara’s What We Brew in the Shadows… mainly because they are completely different beers brewed on opposite sides of the planet. The only similarity is that they both refer to dwelling in crepuscular areas. [5] A big Cascadian IPA, this beer has notes of chocolate, pine, citrus, grass and coffee.

Tempest Brewing Drop Kick Me Jesus (5.2%) – A sensational beer name which is named after a very famous and famously religious country song. [6] DKMJ (as it is known by people who are not paid to blog by the word) is a sour ale with plenty of sharp peach, herb and lemon characteristics.

The special food dish for “Lift Yer Kilt” is the classic Lorne sausage sandwich. This is a spicy square sausage fried to perfection. I will talk more – a lot more – about this wondrous culinary supernova in the following Malthouse blog.

Next time, we drink to Gavin Hastings, the greatest rugby player I have ever shaken hands with.

[1] “D’ye no ken” = “Do you not know?” This is an educational blog.

[2] An example of hope over realism as Scotland is yet to beat New Zealand… ever. There have been two draws since 1905.

[3] Not at all bitter… aye, right! (This is Scottish sarcasm at its best). That’s just some more education right here.

[4] It was previously known as “Lift Up Your Kilt” but Ciaran the Canny, Frugal and Abstemious Malthouse Unit Manager hates to waste letters in event titles. Plus, he is Irish.

[5] “Crepuscular” = “Dark or Shady.” Truly a teaching blog this week.

[6] I am presuming it is not an amazing coincidence.


Neil Miller

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