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Wednesday, 22 November 2017 09:30

Cos there ain’t no party like an 8 Wired party

Written by 

I would like to claim that I vividly remember my 8th birthday party. In reality, my recollections of that event are even vaguer than those few memories of my 21st which was celebrated in some considerable bogan style on the balcony of a cricket club in suburban Tawa.

However, thanks to my post-graduate history degree and the miracles of Google, I have managed to reassemble at least some key points of the celebration of my eighth year on this earth. The party was held in Christchurch during a most tumultuous time.

Robert “Piggy” Muldoon was Prime Minister, the term “internet” was coined, the first Sunday newspaper in New Zealand was published, the Springboks rugby team toured New Zealand and nothing happened, Australia bowled the underarm delivery and almost started a Trans-Tasman war, Social Credit was an actual political party, the first Space Shuttle was launched, and according to the award-winning song “there is no depression in New Zealand.” [1]

The All Whites qualified for the Soccer/Football World Cup, Brendon McCullum was born, Charles and Diana got married, [2] Ronald Reagan freed the hostages in Iran totally by himself, Post-It Notes are launched, AIDS was identified, and “For Your Eyes Only” was one of the most popular films and became one of my favourite karaoke classics in later years. Terrifyingly, both Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were born in 1981. It is not my fault.

I was eating cake and playing games.

That is exactly what Malthouse will be doing on 2 December 2017 to celebrate the 8th birthday of 8 Wired Brewery, the champion brewery which has long been fondly associated with Malty. Party Meister and Malthouse Unit Manager Ciaran is promising things will “get a little bit silly! Not only will we have sixteen 8 Wired beers on tap we will have a collection of outrageously fun and ridiculous party games. Soren himself and some of the 8 Wired crew are going to be here to join in the festivities and make this a party you won't forget.”

He also asked for suggestions for party games and I am happy to oblige. The Mythbusters board game is fun because you get to catapult Buster in order to earn points. It is a very similar vibe to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles board game where you have to master the unpredictable Battle Flipper to totally dominate, dude. However, even I am hesitant about recommending Cards against Humanity. I have played this game exactly once and I came last. LAST. What on earth does that say about my friends? [3]

8 Wired Brewing was started by Soren Erikson so long ago that I have finally learned how to spell his name properly. It was rightly crowned Champion Brewery of New Zealand in 2011 and after a nomadic contract brewing phase set up a permanent base in Warkworth, north of Auckland. Here are the sixteen 8 Wired beers on tap for the event: 

8 Wired Tropidelic (5%) – I actually talked to Soren about this (then) new beer for the same article last year. I like this beer, just not as much as Hopwired but then I like very few beers as much as Hopwired. It is flavoursome and (a bit) more responsible. Here are my notes:

“While Soren insists that 8 Wired Tropidelic is “not made to be a small Hopwired” he concedes “it kind of is if you look at the recipe.” He explains both beers “use the same hops but not the same proportions. Tropidelic leans towards big Motueka and Riwaka hops. The result is a nice drinking New Zealand pale ale. I’ve tried to keep bitterness lower and it is much lighter in colour and palate sweetness.”

8 Wired Semi Conductor (4.4%) – This was one of the lowest alcohol beers to ever make my coveted Top Ten list way back in 2013. Semi Conductor got there based solely on flavour. Beers like Emerson’s Bookbinder and Croucher Lowrider proved to many New Zealand drinkers that beers did not have to pack a lot of alcohol to have a lot of taste. Semiconductor has built on that legacy as a punchy, zesty yet responsible pale ale.

8 Wired Hopwired (7.3%) – I have been a fan of this beer for a long, long time yet I have not managed to better my March 2016 description:

“If you are unaware that I’m a huge fan of 8 Wired Hopwired IPA then, quite frankly, you have not been paying attention. At around 70 IBUs, it is a deceptively drinkable celebration of Kiwi hops (Southern Cross, Motueka and Nelson Sauvin) with a solid malt base supporting a veritable pyramid of hoppy goodness (grapefruit, resin, pine, passionfruit and fruit salad). I believe the technical term is “omnomnom.”

8 Wired Hippy Berliner (4%) - Soren describes 8 Wired Hippy Berliner, a hoppy sour beer, as “not very traditional because it is dry hopped with Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra and Riwaka hops. However, I wanted to keep the bitterness low so the beer is obviously tart but not super sour. To me, it tastes a lot like grapefruit juice, but not as sour or as sweet.”

8 Wired Cucumber Hippy (4.5%) – 8 Wired took Hippy Berliner and made a version which was racked onto sliced cucumber. Amazingly, it was hugely popular. I lose my faith in people sometimes but Soren probably consoles himself by lying on a big pile of money... and cucumbers.

8 Wired Farmhouse Ale (5%) – Farmhouse is a sour, yeasty and earthy brew often compared to a Saison. It seems to pop up seasonally and is highly coveted by those who enjoy the style. There are a lot of them! Here are the brewer’s notes:

“It’s brewed with a big portion of Spelt malt as well as raw wheat and oats. For the hops, we have tried to keep the bitterness right down while maintaining a big US hop presence. So hops (Chinook and Cascade) have only been added to the whirlpool and as dry hops. The yeast is a new dry Belgian yeast...”

8 Wired West Island (6.7%) – I can only presume this new IPA contains large amounts of Australian hops as the “West Island” is New Zealand’s (sometimes affectionate) nickname for our much larger neighbour across the Tasman Sea, Australia. Flavours mentioned in reviews support this theory with orange, apricot and fresh tropical fruit prominent.

8 Wired Super Dank (6.2%) - To describe a beer as “dank” seems to be officially becoming a hip thing and I am down with that. I am one of the cool kids. Super Dank is a slightly hazy amber beer with a firm head. It is nicely bitter with notes of citrus, pine, caramel, caramel and (appropriately in this context) resin and grass. [4]

8 Wired Saison Sauvin (8%) – Soren says “this is a very modern, you might say new world, interpretation of this style. Based on the tradition we have used a Farmhouse yeast, which provides a plethora of funky, earthy, very "Belgian" flavours. From there we have upped the ante a fair bit by doubling the amount of malt, and thereby the alcohol, and loaded the kettle with punchy Nelson Sauvin hops.”

8 Wired Rewired (5.7%) – This is the relaunch of their popular modern brown ale. Now, I have previously described this style as a beer for “cloth capped whippet lovers,” While I remain proud to have written those words, I was probably a bit harsh on the beer. It is wonderfully balanced with notes of caramel, toast crusts and slightly fruity hops.

8 Wired iStout Unchained (12%) – This is a sour barrel-aged Imperial Stout. No explanation needed. 

8 Wired Fistful of Cherries (6.7%) – This is a sour ale with Marlborough cherries aged in wine barrels. Why, Soren, why? 

8 Wired Once Upon a Time in Blenheim – This is a new lambic style brewed with Sauvignon Blanc. It also has a fantastic name. 

8 Wired Tall Poppy Red Ale (7%) – This is one of the best food beers I have ever enjoyed. It pours a deep red, throws a nose of fruit and pine needles, has a body with firm but subtle caramel underlying the tropical fruit salad hop notes, before a final surge of late bitterness.

8 Wired German Pilsner – This is a brand new, yet to be named pilsner, brewed specifically for this party.

8 Wired Flat White (5.5%) – This is a coffee stout brewed with (perhaps unsurprisingly) coffee, vanilla beans and lactose.

 

Next time, we drink to “judginess”.

 

[1] Actual results may vary. Trust me.

[2] Actual results may vary. However, I do have a commemorative royal wedding pint glass. $2 well spent...

[3] Nothing good.

[4] I adore this beer.

 

Cheers

 

Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

DrinksBiz Magazine

 

Links

 

8 Wired Birthday Party Facebook Event - https://www.facebook.com/events/1789856984440681/

Malthouse Facebook - www.facebook.com/pages/Malthouse/7084276173

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

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

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