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This week we meet another new face in the Malthouse Class of ’19 – Corrina McAtee.

Corrina’s from South Bay, Los Angeles, right in the heart of the West Coast IPA scene. Five weeks ago she arrived in Wellington and took up a job in the WCIPA Challenge’s home at the Malthouse.

Corrina brings years of beer experience with her, having worked in Arrowtown’s craft beer oasis, the Fork & Tap.

“I’ve been in New Zealand for about four and a half years. I went to Queenstown because I knew I’d find secure bar work and because I’m a snow boarder. I knew I wanted to stay in New Zealand as soon as I got here.

“I absolutely loved Queenstown. Being from southern California the temperature in the wintertime was a little bit of an adjustment to be honest, but for the most part it was beautiful. Arrowtown is such a cool spot. I lived in Queenstown and commuted for 20 minutes with spectacular views. Fork and Tap is such a good little spot to get accustomed to all the different ways New Zealand does beer compared to California.

“I started out drinking quite an interesting wheat beer as I think most early beer drinkers start doing in California. (MillerCoors) Blue Moon Witbier. I can’t drink it now.

“My dad and my brother are big IPA fans and I didn’t want to be the little sister left behind so I’d drink big IPAs and kind of pretend I knew what I was tasting. Now I get to go back home and tell them a thing or two about New Zealand IPAs. The area I’m from is called South Bay. It used to have a lot of big factories that have closed, so a lot of that space has been taken over by craft breweries and there’s a booming scene over there.

“I honestly enjoy New Zealand’s take on West Coast IPAs more than the West Coast version. New Zealand-grown hops really makes that style shine in a dynamic way. It seems like in California everyone is emulating each other and using the same hops. I find them a bit one dimensional – they’re piney, resiny and you’ve got those notes down, but if we were to have a line-up of taps pouring California big-hop juggernauts I’d be struggling to tell them apart.

“I find that New Zealand hops are so dynamic and different from each other that you get a lot of different ways to portray a West Coast IPA and make it exciting. I’ve also noticed that the ABV tends to be a little bit higher here so brewers are not being as tame with it. Hands down I enjoy New Zealand hops more than I enjoy California hops.

“And the brewers over there feel the same way. Whenever I go home and visit a brewer it’s, ‘Did you bring us any hops? Where’s the Riwaka?’ The fame of New Zealand hops certainly reaches the other side of the Pacific and it’s an enviable position to be where I am right now. The men in my family are all big beer drinkers and I want them to come over here and try what I’ve been drinking.

“You know, I didn’t realise how much I actually do appreciate Deep Creek until we had the tap takeover last week. I really enjoy their hazy IPAs. Tuatara’s really good as well, you can’t fault them. And Epic Armageddon is the Thinking Beer - at the end of a shift I’ll definitely have an Armageddon while I think about what I’m going to have after that. Most times I just have another Armageddon! ParrotDog’s Colin and Keith are fantastic as well and every time I see them come on here – because I know our locals and I know our staff – I know if I don’t grab a pint now it will be gone.”

Apart from being a typical Wellington Hop Head, Corrina enjoys sours and is looking forward to Sourfest. After five weeks in Wellington she’s found a home and plans to invest in home brewing gear.

“I used to come up every year for Beervana, so my thinking was, ‘Where do I like drinking when I’m up here? Malthouse is long-standing establishment so they probably aren’t looking for staff but I’ll go in anyway’, and it was the right time right place. And ever since I’ve been coming to work and going home to Kelburn. Until yesterday I still hadn’t been to the end of Courtenay Place. Now we’re moving into Mount Victoria so I’ll have time to look around.”

Don’t forget – Sourfest 2019 is booked in, stating Friday 5 April and showcasing sours from all over the world plus brand new releases, one-off specials and much, much more.

Pucker your kisser and squint those eyes!

Cheers!

Martin Craig

Guest Malthouse Blogger

I am proud to present the latest episode of the Malthouse blog feature titled “Staff Profiles in Courage”. Yes, I have blatantly stolen the concept and title from my Malthouse Blog mentor Neil Miller, but, in my defence, he stole the title from John F Kennedy.

The format is almost ludicrously simple, because I like things to be simple, almost ludicrously so: sit down with a worthy Malty staff member and ask questions about their life and career.

There’s been a crew change at the Malthouse over the past week. Old stalwarts are leaving, and new, fresh and optimistic faces are smiling behind the bar. Malthouse regulars will be quick to learn their names and ensure they know all about Malthouse’s generous loyalty points system, or, as us beer writers prefer to call it, our retirement fund.

This week bar manager Joe McGann introduces himself. Joe is an international type, and, according to his proud father, Wellington’s most highly qualified bar tender. McGann Snr could well be right.

Joe’s accent is hard to place, so, I started at the beginning:

Joe, your accent is hard to place. Where are you from?

“I’m from a little bit of everywhere. I was born in Oman, moved to Zimbabwe then Bahrain then the UK when I was about ten, then lived there until 2017 when I moved out here. My parents had moved out here and live in Gisborne so I thought, why not come and try New Zealand?

“They spend five or six months in Gisborne and five or six months in the UK chasing the sun, and they get more of it in Gisborne than they do in the UK.”

And how did you get into hospo?

“I have a Masters degree in History so that’s why I’m a bar tender. I was looking to do something in arts, culture and heritage in England but it was super-competitive and didn’t necessarily use my degrees. I got stuck working for a market research company which was kind of boring.

“So the best way to meet people and get a job was bar tending. I was working in a cocktail bar in a town called Bury St Edmunds. That was fun and I took to cocktails quite naturally. My background would be in classic cocktails. The owner of that bar was from Lyall Bay so I came with a few contacts in Wellington.

“The Lions tour was coming so I got a job in sports bar to give me a few months to get to know the city. So I met people through hospo and moved up to assistant manager at (rooftop bar) Dirty Little Secret. Then I moved to Bats Theatre’s little bar. It was really great fun – I got to go to the shows and I still work a couple of shifts there. There’s always different beers on tap there too and a lot of the patron base is kind of similar to the Malthouse.”

Hang on – a Masters in History?

“I’m a Master of Studies in Global and Imperial History from Oxford University. It was fun and I was taught by some very impressive people including (New Zealander) James Belich whose father was Mayor of Wellington.

“My Dad jokes I’m the most qualified bar tender in Wellington, just to needle me.”

What was your first impression of New Zealand craft beer?

“New Zealand beers were the kind of thing that I had never experienced. I’d be drinking a bitter back home in a pub, or lagers if you’re going out. I was aware of breweries like BrewDog – they were starting to gain a lot of traction and my brother was really into that and became a shareholder, and he put me on to that. It was wow, cool, I like these!

“Garage Project was the first local brewery I discovered, with the bright cans and flavours. It did take me a while to get into it because of all the flavour. I was not something I would have gone out of my way to have drunk but you get a taste for it, and working at BATS introduced more. Since I’ve started here I’ve been like a kid in candy shop – all these different beers to taste and styles to try.

“I’m learning the different styles and the subtleties between then, and drinking some really nice beer. I’m doing my homework, going to the supermarket and picking up a mixed six from different breweries to learn as much as I can.”

Any favourites?

“I like a brut IPA, the dryness of that is appealing, otherwise a Pacific Pale Ale or an XPA, something that’s easy to get your nose around especially in this summer weather.

“But the other day I was drinking Feature Creep (Double IPA) and it was like ‘Wow! This is a great beer’, so I’m pretty much on my journey to become a craft beer head. I had a little taste of Deep Creek’s Gin & Lime Double IPA last weekend – wow that certainly does what it says on the tin.”

What about sour beers?

“Sours are something I’d never tried before and I quite like them. The sit somewhere on the spectrum between cider and beer to me. I’m looking forward to Sourfest because it’s something I’m getting a taste for and there will be a bunch of new releases.”

And on that bombshell, Sourfest 2019 is booked in, stating Friday 5 April and showcasing sours from all over the world plus brand new releases, one-off specials and much, much more.

Pucker your kisser and squint those eyes!

There’s a blessed archipelago on the fringes of Polynesia.

Its people are a unique blend of the original Islanders and waves of settlers originating from Europe and Asia. This is the foundation for its diverse cuisine and culture, combining a love of beaches and ocean with modern technology and a cheerful Polynesian greeting.

Despite its Pacific location and history, its people include the Union Jack on their flag to this day.

I’m talking of course about Hawai’i, New Zealand’s counterpart in the Northern Hemisphere. Just as he did for New Zealand, Captain Cook had a profound impact on Hawai’i, and Hawai’i had a profound impact on James Cook.

Deep Creek Brewing, from Silverdale on North Auckland’s east coast, is one of the top five New Zealand breweries when ranked by closeness to Hawai’i. So it’s no coincidence that Deep Creek co-founder Scott Taylor is a fan of Hawai’ian shirts and sports a stunning Thomas Magnum-type moustache.

It’s a classic and flattering look, and you’ll be able to check it out yourself next week when Scott is in the Malthouse on Friday 22 February.

He’s bringing an impressive line-up of 14 Deep Creek brews for the tap takeover. The list includes the brand new Wisdom West Coast IPA, in Wellington for its launch, along with favourites like Undercurrent Pilsner, Hoppy McHopface and Pontoon in a Monsoon.

And for a Hawai’ian-style tropical treat, The Malthouse has wrangled a slushie machine, to be filled with a Deep Creek sour beer authentically served in coconut shells. Let’s hope the heatwave stays on.

Dress appropriately – think loudest Aloha shirt in the wardrobe – and you’ll be in to win a genuine Deep Creek merch pack, rumoured to include a genuine Deep Creek Hawai’ian shirt. Scott will be the judge on the night, and DJ Don Luchito will be bringing the grooves.

Deep Creek Brewing has been building a solid reputation since it opened in 2011. Alongside its flagship range, Deep Creek has ongoing Project ranges, bringing out regular experimental beers fitting specific themes. The Lupulin Project is its series of filler flavoured IPAs; Steam Funk Project covers funky fermentations like Goses and Berliners.

The Deep Creek Tap Takeover line-up in full goes like this:

New Release – Wisdom WCIPA

Hoppy McHopface

Aloha Guava Sour

Droptop Brut IPA

Misty Miyagi Hazy IPA

Brewtiful Haze Hazy IPA 

Lagerita Lime Gose

Undercurrent Pilsner

Lotus NZ Pale

Redwood APA

Dusty Gringo Brown Ale

Pontoon In A Monsoon

Flanders Red  

Gin & Lime Double IPA

And to prepare you for the party, here’s some surprising Hawai’ian facts:

  • Hawai’i’s highest mountain Mauna Kea is 483m taller than our own Aorangi Mt Cook. It is the only place in Polynesia outside New Zealand to get snow.
  • New Zealand has more volcanoes than Hawai’i.
  • Aloha means aroha, and vice versa.
  • The two Doberman Pinschers featured in Magnum P.I. – Zeus and Apollo – were actually named Laurel and Hardy.
  • The theme to Hawai’i Five-O was written in 1968 by Morton Stevens, who had never been to Hawai’i. Half a century later it is still the best TV theme ever.

Don’t forget – this weekend is Ciderhouse 2019, with 12 ciders on tap and more in the fridge. And this month is Flagship February, with a Malthouse-wide line-up of all-time classic Kiwi craft beers – All Killer, No Filler!

Cheers!

Martin Craig

Guest Malthouse Blogger

Please allow me to introduce myself.

Your Malthouse Blogger Neil Miller has asked me to fill in for him over the next few weeks as he takes a break after nine years of regular Malthouse bloggery.

I’m Martin Craig, beer writer and Malthouse regular, and I will just have to do in the meantime.

Neil and I have different writing styles [1] and my knowledge of Mexican wrestling, Star Wars/Trek, Chuck Norris movies, and bad Canadian music pales in comparison.

But I do have a strength Neil cannot match – it’s well known that Neil is not a cider fan: “As noted many times, it is a matter of public record that I am not a cider drinker,” Neil confessed in this blog in 2013. I like cider, and this week we’re getting excited about Ciderhouse.

Every year, in the peak of summer, The Malthouse replaces barley with apples and becomes The Ciderhouse. This year’s takeover sees at least 12 cider taps confirmed, with a few surprises coming on the night.

It is an occasion for joy, and, for occasional cider drinkers, an occasion to discover what’s changed in the cider world.

Compared to the innovative and experimental world of craft beer, cider moves slowly and traditionally. It takes weeks to grow a hop bine: it takes years to grow an apple tree. New varieties of hops appear each year, but new apple varieties don’t exist. Like wine makers, cider makers rely on one harvest each year and have to adapt to the vagaries of cropping, rainfall, sunshine and, in some years, ex-tropical cyclones with a mean sense of timing. Apple trees give a strong crop one year, followed by a small crop the next.

So cider makers’ skills lie in understanding the different characteristics of each year’s harvest, then working to bring out the best in them.

One rule of thumb says any apple that tastes too bad to eat makes a good cider. It’s not that simple, but many cider apples are too sharp (acidic) or bitter (tannic) to eat. Some are even too sharp to ferment – the acid kills the yeast – and so cidermakers blend juices before fermentation, and then blend the resulting ciders to produce something delicious and quenching.

And apple juices are highly fermentable. Left alone, just about all of the sugar can ferment out, leaving a cider that is puckeringly astringent. The simple trick it to add sugar to restore sweetness, and that’s exactly what a lot of the fizzy, appley sweet supermarket ciders get. But a craft cider can be left dry, or have apple juice added for balance.

The result is that trad ciders cover a huge range of flavour experiences. Flat or carbonated; clear or cloudy; pale or red-brown; sweet or aridly dry. And next year’s batch will be different again.

The apples for next year’s Ciderhouse are ripening on the branch right now. Alex Peckham, who has the biggest cider apple orchard in the country, reports that the apples are feeling the heat from this long, hot summer. “If this keeps on the apples will be small, sweet and intense.”

Right now Ciderhouse has twelve taps confirmed, with more in the pipeline, and of course, The Malthouse’s excellent range of bottled and canned ciders in the fridge.

International guests

Thatcher’s Apple Cider

Aspall Suffolk Cider

Magner’s Apple Cider

 

New Zealand ciders

South Cider Crisp Apple

Moa Apple & Rhubarb Cider

Moa Apple Cider

Peckham’s Boysenberry Cider

Peckham’s Reserve Dry Cider

Sprig & Fern Berry Cider

Sprig & Fern Mango and Lime Cider

Good George Extra Dry Apple Cider

Good George Rose Strawberry and Lime Cider

Next time we write of Deep Creek Brewing and the ever-flattering Aloha shirt/moustache combo.

Cheers!

Martin Craig

Guest Malthouse Blogger

[1] For one thing, I don’t do footnotes. If it’s worth saying, put it in the text already!

It is hard to believe that we are nearly 1/12th of the way through 2019 already. I literally know people who have not yet finished all their festive ham leftovers from Christmas dinner. That is not a problem in my household - obviously - given my penchant for grilled ham sandwiches. It should be noted that I only eat them at Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner, and/or Supper.

 

Putting aside my controversial (and unsuccessful) Hobbit diet system, it is almost February. Or, to be more accurate, it is almost Flagship February. If you have not heard of this fine and proud celebration, it is probably because it has never happened before.

 

Flagship February is the creation of brew scholar Stephen Beaumont (my second favourite Canadian) [1] aided by the great US beer writer Jay R Brooks (who I met once), and Porter Hughes. While the first two are legends in the craft beer community, I could not immediately place the third member Porter Hughes, partly because it is not a person but actually turns out to be a Toronto creative agency.

 

Anyway, what started as a vague notion rapidly moved into a grassroots movement and is now a global trend. Bars around the world, from 1 February 2019, will actively showcase some of the flagship beers from craft brewers, new and established. These are beers Beaumont calls “oldies but goodies”. Of course, he explains it a lot better:

 

“A lot of beer drinkers have developed a sort of ADD with respect to the beers they drink, so going for a glass of beer at the bar or pub becomes less a pleasant distraction and more a relentless search for what’s new and exciting. In this mad rush towards the unusual and unknown, we tend to forget the great, familiar and still-wonderful beers that guided us all along the path to the craft beer renaissance.”

 

Just because a beer is new or unusual doesn’t mean that it’s good , and in my non-professional time I’ve found myself retreating more and more to proven greats rather than the ballyhooed unknowns of the ‘special release’ world,” he writes. “Of course, as a beer writer focused on new releases, I have to take my share of the blame for the current state of affairs, so I guess this is part of my penance.”

 

Oh Canada – it truly is the politest country in the world unless you are playing ice hockey.

 

As part of Flagship February there will be a new website featuring a flagship beer review each day from 28 international beer writers. I am proud to say that I will be one of them – and apparently one of the first ten because I accidentally checked my email and actually replied to a message. I immediately selected my beer (Epic Armageddon) but today changed it to Epic Pale Ale. Sure, Armageddon is a better beer, but Epic Pale Ale had more of an impact on the New Zealand craft beer scene. [2] I have 500-800 words to justify that assertion.

 

Malthouse is one of the first bars to embrace the concept and is offering up what I would call a spectacular beer list even if I was not being paid to write about it. Realistically, I may have to get a proper job to pay for these beauties I want to drink. There are so many I cannot do individual reviews but I will assign stars from 1 (Corona) to 10 (Armageddon) to 1,000 (Pliny the Elder). Here we go on Judgement Night:

 

8Wired Hopwired - 10

8Wired Tall Poppy – 8 (but 10 with the right food)

Epic Pale Ale – 8

Epic Armageddon - 10

Liberty Yakima Monster - 8

Liberty Darkest Days - 7

ParrotDog BitterBitch – 7 (though the early version would have been a hard 9)

ParrotDog BloodHound - 6

Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta – Negative 1,000 (tea beer is evil)

Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black – 8 (curse you for making me like a dark beer)

Tuatara Pilsner – 7 (classic)

Tuatara Tomahawk – 7

Bach Brewing Kingtide - 7

Moa Lager - 6

Moa Apple Cider – I refuse to review ciders on the grounds I may incriminate myself. [3]

Baylands Woodrow’s Veto - 10

Fork Brewing Base Jumper - 9

Three Boys Wheat – 7 (still my favourite local wheat beer)

Three Boys Oyster Stout (if available) - 8

Emerson’s Bookbinder – 9 (the Guv’nor)

Garage Project Garagista - 8

Garage Project Pernicious Weed – 9 (dude...)

 

Next time we drink to the Los Angeles Rams. Not only are they West Coast Massive, but they are playing the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl of American Football. Every right thinking person on this green earth should be supporting whoever the Patriots are playing.

 

[1] No one beats Shatner obviously.

 

[2] The number of articles I have written in 2019 that do not mention Luke Nicholas or Epic Brewing Company currently sits at – waiting for the calculations – none.

 

[3] This is the Fifth Amendment for Beer Writers.

 

Cheers

 

Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

 

Links

 

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  

Wow - “Gin is the New IPA” – my word, what a bold prediction to begin the Malthouse Blog in 2019.

 

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”.

 

Cheers

 

Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

 

Links

 

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  

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