However, April remains one of my favourite months of all time. Here are seven reasons why in 2018:

April Fools’ Day – A glorious day of mischief even though the quality of modern news coverage makes it much harder to pick the “joke” stories out. My personal favourite prank was when students at my alma mater Victoria University of Wellington (allegedly) rang the Police to say students were dressed as construction workers and digging up the campus road, and then rang the construction company to claim that students were dressed up as Police officers and might disrupt work already well underway on said road. The ensuing spectacle – which lasted some time by all accounts – was enjoyed by the offending students sitting on the famous overbridge that looked directly onto the disputed site that day.

Hopstock – This is not an April Fools’ joke but a disclaimer – I adore hops. Each year, Wellington celebrates the annual hop harvest with a festival of fresh hopped beers (often called “green hopped” beers or “the very Nectars of the Gods themselves”). [1] In a random draw, Malthouse has been paired with Baylands who are bringing back their classic hop showcase Waifly, while in completely non-random results the Malty’s sister bar Fork & Brewer has been paired with the extremely nearby Fork Brewery. Starts this Wednesday 18th.

There will be much more about Hopstock on this blog very soon.

Wrestlemania Day – I am self-employed so I can take a day off any time I want. The only snag is no one will pay for doing so. As a result, I work on Labour Day and take at least half of Wrestlemania Day off. This is the biggest event in professional wrestling and I have watched all 34 of them – some several times. [2] This year’s event was enjoyable with the highlights being the debut of former MMA star “Rowdy” Rhonda Rousey, and then a 10 year kid becoming tag-team champion. He then became the youngest WWE champion ever, but only held that honour for one day before relinquishing the belt as he could not compete as a wrestler full time because of “fourth grade”.

The Big Storm – Auckland was battered by one of the worst storms in history and Wellington fared only slightly less worse. Of course, I had to be travelling between the two cities during this event. While it was understandable that flights were delayed by hail and thunderstorms, it was slightly disturbing when the next reason was that the runway lights in Wellington had been knocked out by a lightning strike. My theory that they should have hired John McCain to spray the dark runway with jet fuel then set it on fire was met with polite scepticism by travelling companions. In my defence, it totally worked in Die Hard 2.

John Cena was born – He is a wrestler that is loved and loathed in near equal measures in audiences over 14. At the Wrestlemania above he lost to the Undertaker in less than three minutes, mainly because he has to go work on his films. His filmography to date includes Fred, Fred 2 and Fred 3. However, his appearance in the new film Blockers is so good that even proper film critics liked it, almost despite themselves.

My Longest Stay in Koru Club – This is intrinsically linked to the storm item above. The Auckland meeting finished early and my late night flight was repeatedly delayed. The result was seven hours of fun in the busiest lounge I have been in – making new friends, talking to some famous people and, best of all, having a comfy seat the whole time when they were in ferocious demand that day.

My Birthday – I am torn on this one. Yes, there will be a celebration but it is also a reminder that I am another year older. [3] The blow has been lessened considerably by the Wellington beer community (through the excellent Craft Beer Capital group) deciding to start the aforementioned Hopstock festival on my birthday – again. The festival runs from 18 April to 23 April. I am truly flattered.

It is not all good news for April though as Alec Baldwin, Barbara Streisand and Kourtney Kardashian were all born in this same august month, the Titanic sank, Chernobyl blew up, and Richard Nixon died. Irregardless, Malthouse is determined to be positive with a strong line-up of beers including:

Hallertau Maximus IPA (5.8%) – This big fruity IPA owes its genesis to the Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge. There are a spectacular seven New Zealand and American hop additions, including four to the boil and three in dry hopping.  The result is a punchy but drinkable brew with notes of grapefruit, lemon peel and flowers. [4]

ParrotDog Flora IPA Series Forget-Me-Not West Coast IPA (6.9%) is named after the Chatham Island Forget-Me-Not, a perennial herb. It (the beer) really is so very balanced with a floral and fruity aroma, sweet caramel background, firm tropical fruit flavours, then a cleansing bitterness. Might I also add it was the 2015 West Coast IPA challenge winner.  I’m just saying there may be a bit of a theme here.

Moa St Josephs Tripel is a strong (9.5%) Abbey style brew characterised as spicy, sweet and strong. Many tasters have reported notes of raisin and clove, and agree that the alcohol is very well hidden so be careful with this saint. I think it is actually quite dry for the style and like it all the better for that.

ParrotDog Flora Rata (7.7%) will be on tap. Rata is the vaguely new-ish brand for the previous and much beloved and award-winning ParrotDog BloodyDingo. It is a robust Australian Red Ale with lashings of US hops over a solid caramel malt infrastructure. Rata is wonderfully balanced and extremely food friendly. I noted in a 2017 blog that “I personally loved the BloodyDingo name but can see as the brewery gets bigger, more serious (and exports to Australia) that it had to change.” [5]

Next time we drink to sleeping with stuffed animals. It is vastly under-rated and very effective. Thank you to my beloved Pukeko.

[1] It is possible that I am the only person to use that term in this context.

[2] Except Wrestlemania IX – apart from teaching Americans about Roman numerals, that show was flat out terrible. Well, to be fair, Bobby “the Brain” Heenan getting to the ring in a toga while riding a camel backwards was pretty funny after a few ales…

[3] Though not more mature…

[4] I am worried by the RateBeer commentator who identified “gorilla musk” as a descriptor. Who would know what that smelled like?

[5] We would not want to start a trade war where they send us David Warner as retaliation.


Neil Miller

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