Except that this phrase was actually written by Luke Nicholas of Epic Brewing Company in July 2014. Seriously. He was absolutely right about this – albeit way ahead of the rest of us who have only recently jumped onto the hot power couple bandwagon of craft beer and boutique gin. They can be drunk in the same session (with the gin usually at the end) or, as I prefer, mixed together in the spectacular beer cocktail known as a “pipewrench”.

I never really drank gin in my younger hedonistic days. In fact, it was one of the few alcoholic beverages to last more than a couple of days in the liquor cabinet of my laddish flat.

However, I do recall spending a civilised afternoon in the back yard sitting on folding chairs drinking gin and tonics until it was dark – solving the problems of the world with my good mate Flash. Turns out the biggest problem we really had was that we had been sitting and drinking so long the chairs had sunk 30cm into the lawn and had to be dug out. That was my last G&T for a while.

Luke, the Impish Brewer, wrote way back in 2014:

“The parallels between IPA and Gin are fascinating. They were last both very popular in the 1700-1800’s and both very popular in India, but also the rest of the world. The aromas and flavours are very similar with citrus and pine characters, as well as an array of other intertwined characters. There is also bitterness with both drinks, gin’s bitterness being delivered from tonic water and the compound quinine.

With some speculation it would seem that Gin is the next logical step for craft beer drinkers that have climbed the ladder of Pale Ale, IPA, and Double IPA, looking for bigger and bigger hop driven flavours and aromas. Good gin can deliver similar aromas and flavour, as well as increased level of complexity due to the extended range of potential botanicals.

Gin is the new IPA.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Malthouse played a key role in Luke’s gin epiphany. In a February 2015 article he noted:

“One night, I’m going to say it was at the Malthouse, it was suggested that we take a break on this round [of big IPAs] and have a cleansing G&T. Everyone gasped, it was though we had heard a blasphemous comment. Then again, everyone was curious to try something new. Who would have thought to try something other than another IPA? [1]

The round was purchased. BAM! What a revelation.”

I must confess that I finally discovered the joys of gin and IPA under the tutelage of said Luke Nicholas at said Malthouse. On Friday 18 January 2018 Malthouse will become Ginhouse to honour this historic libation which is making a tremendous comeback after gaining a rather dubious reputation including  the moniker “Mother’s Ruin” and the era of deeply tawdry “gin palaces” of yore.

Malthouse is none of those things (being only vaguely tawdry and that is usually just me). At the Ginhouse event, Malthouse will be serving:

Ginhouse gin – This is a brand new gin created for the event. The ingredients have been voted on and selected on social media. I cannot wait.

Epic Gin and Tonic (14%) – Start or end with this floral wonder piece from the taps. Epic has made a gin believer of me.

Negroni – This classic cocktail is a combination of gin and campari.

Malty will also be serving up the famous and perfect Hidden World gin and tonic matches. Hidden World is a joint venture between Luke Nicholas of Epic Brewing Company and Anthony Sexton of Vaione Gin. “Both with a passion for Gin” it seems.

There are also many beers from Epic which may be familiar:

Epic Armageddon IPA (6.66%) – A desert island beer for me. Get your own island…

Epic Hopshine (5.5%) – A lovely beer (described as a “sunny IPA”) but I am not sure how long it will be around. I recommend you try it before I get there.

Epic Heavy Hop IPA (6.3%) – This is a Scottish IPA brewed specially to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Malthouse. The brewers say it is “a bit of hat tip” to the “courageous leader and our good friend Colin Mallon.” It uses some of the most recent releases of US hops, including Loral, Mosaic and Ekuanot (previously Equinox),

Epic Lager (5%) – Luke actually makes good lagers despite being known as a hoppy pale ale guy. [2]

Epic Pale Ale (5.4%) – Classic for a reason. It was a revelation when released and still stands up today. Tasty malt base, with just the right balance of Cascade to bang it home.

Epic Shotgun XPA (4.8%) – This is a lighter, fruity, extra pale ale which is named after yet another Def Leppard song. [3]

Next time we drink to my late mullet. It passed away on the floor of Maggie’s Hair Design on the mean streets of Thorndon. It was then swept away. Tell you what, I got value for money on that haircut!

[1] I was not there but would have voted at the time for another IPA. Now, I would have a soon to be classic pipewrench – Epic Hop Zombie and Hidden World gin.

[2] And rightly so.

[3] Currently unused Def Leppard song titles which might be good beer names include (but are not limited to) – “Miss you in a heartbeat”, “All I want is everything” and “Four letter word”.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


Malthouse become Ginhouse Facebook event – https://www.facebook.com/events/276678873201224/

Luke on Gin is the new IPA – http://www.luke.co.nz/2016/04/gin-is-the-new-ipa/

Malthouse Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/malthouseNZ/

Malthouse Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/#!/beerlytweeting