That’s what my  Great-uncle Dunn told me when I was two years old, and I’ve never forgotten.

Dunn and the McLoughlins who make up my mother’s side of the family were proud Orangemen, Scottish Protestants who settled in Ireland from the early 1600s. Dunn himself was a US citizen, being born in the middle of the Atlantic on an American-registered steamer.

The McLoughlins were emigrating from New York, where my grandmother had been born, to Northern Ireland where they had inherited a farm. While most of Ireland was busy immigrating TO New York, it wasn’t entirely one way traffic.

Uncle Dunn grew up in Northern Ireland but used his US citizenship as soon as he possibly could, and he lived a long and prosperous life in Florida. So his assessment of the Scot’s Ulster adventure was as much personal as historic.

My father’s family, the Craigs, are also from Northern Ireland. They had been there for hundreds of years, Catholic, and were not entirely chuffed that the McLoughlins and their ilk had come to claim a slice of their Ulster paradise. Family events were interesting, especially the Queen’s Speech every Christmas.

But I digress. My point, and I do have one, is to establish my Celtic whakapapa. This is relevant because the Malthouse is about to celebrate Celticity, and more specifically, the celebrated Celtic Gingerness.

It is estimated that only 2% of the global population has red hair. The earliest evidence of red hair known to science is found in Central Asia. The Tocharian mummies are well-preserved ancient burials, with red hair and dressed in tartan blankets.

It is believed that this ancient red haired people travelled west from the steppes. Travelling as far west as they could go on their shaggy little ponies, they settled in Scotland, Ireland and in North-West Spain, and in all cases they kept the tartan and a liking for playing the pipes.

The call of the flame-red sunset coursed strong through their stout veins, and red haired people were among the first to cross the Atlantic to America. Christopher Columbus was a redhead, but Irish St Brendan may have discovered North America before him. And of course Viking Eric the Red had already established a colony on Newfoundland. (Quote this blog in your history assignment at your own risk.)

Which leads us obviously and directly to Gingers Attack – A Yeastie Boys and Urbanaut Event, at Malthouse, Friday 13 September.

Card-carrying redhead brewers Bruce Turner (Urbanaut) and Sir Stuart McKinlay (Yeastie Boys) will be in the ‘house, taking over multiple taps and launching a couple of fresh new beers each.

Sir Stuart, Laird of the Red Trews and Tresses, is late of this bailiwick but has been living in England where he successfully established a branch office. It’s always a special occasion when one of the prodigal Yeastie Boys returns to the land of their birth, and that special occasion happens on Friday the 13th, at the Malthouse, at 6.08pm (ie, the hour of the flame-red sunset).

And do not despair. Although the event is called Gingers Attack, it is inclusive and the ginge-challenged will mocked just slightly. To make you feel more at home, ginge-tinged beards and wigs will be available. Dress as your favourite ginge-tinged celebrity to win a prize and the Queen/King of the Gingers crown – know anyone who looks like that Ed Sheeran/Rupert Grint chap?

And on the remote possibility that you have persevered this far in the hope of reading something about beer, here’s the taplist:

Yeastie Boys

Melon Balls – New Release – Dortmunder Melon Lager

Trial By Fire – New Release – might even have a fiery ginger theme…

Gunnamatta – Earl Grey Pale Ale

Pot Kettle Black – the OG South Pacific Porter

White Noise – tinnitus-infused White Ale


El Segundo – West Coast IPA

Miami Brut – Fresh Batch – Brut Lager

Montrose Hop Oil

The Mission – APA

Copacabana – Fresh Batch – Brut IPA


Martin Craig

Malthouse events

Friday 13 September – Gingers Attack – A Yeastie Boys and Urbanaut Event

Friday 20 September – NZ/UK brewers collaborations – the fruits of the Road to Beervana collaborations from Tiny Rebel, Thornbridge and Fierce Beer. PLUS Rugby Wold Cup™ live on screen.

Thursday October 3rd – Triple Co-lab event with Epic (Auckland), Brew Union (Palmerston North) and Beer Baroness (Christchurch).

Thursday October 31st – A full tap takeover…. but by whom..

Friday November 29th – A very very big event (Details coming soon)

Friday December 13th – Epic Christmas Party