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Wednesday, 02 May 2018 10:54

“We are wired to find love” – Project Silver: Operation 8 Wired

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Malthouse is celebrating 25 years in business with a yearlong series of monthly beer launches and tap takeovers from some of New Zealand’s finest breweries. This mammoth saga has been dubbed “Project Silver” after the metal traditionally associated with said anniversary. It has been described variously as “awesome”, “incredible” and “a little bit nuts, to be honest”.

During the extensive research that goes into each and every Malthouse blog, I looked at what was happening 25 years ago and how things have changed in the intervening quarter century. Here are some highlights:

  • I was studying History and Politics at Victoria University of Wellington.
  • The European Common Market was established.
  • Andre the Giant died.
  • I discovered the original Malthouse on Willis Street when I should have been studying History and Politics at Victoria University of Wellington. (Hopefully the subsequent lowering of the drinking age from 20 to 18 was retrospective...)
  • Tiffany Trump was born. [1]
  • Bill Clinton became President of the United States.
  • “I will always love you” by Whitney Houston was the Number One Song of the Year.
  • The tragic World Trade Centre bombing happened.
  • Nelson Mandela and F W de Klerk received the Nobel Peace Prize for the end of Apartheid in South Africa.
  • Kim Campbell became the first female Prime Minister of Canada. [2]
  • Benazir Bhutto was elected Prime Minister of India for a second time.
  • Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Jim Bolger was Prime Minister.
  • Meanwhile, in America, female Senators were allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor for the first time ever.
  • “Can’t help falling in love with you” by UB40 was the Number One Song in New Zealand. This reflects poorly on us as a nation, and I say that as a man who owns all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie soundtracks.
  • The British and Irish Lions almost beat the All Blacks but fall at the last hurdle.
  • I attended the Wellington match which was the only one the Lions won.
  • I ran onto the field and was the first to shake the great Scottish rugby player Gavin Hastings’ hand, the last recorded instance of me running successfully.
  • The US Post Office issued the first stamp honouring Elvis in 1993. Creative stamp collectors deliberately mailed letters with these stamps to bad addresses in order to have them come back marked "Return to Sender". I, for one, applaud them.

On 12 May 2018 Malty will be hosting Project Silver: Operation 8 Wired. Brewer Soren Erikson will be lurking around, there will be a beer launch and almost a dozen 8 Wired beers on tap. Soren has made his name with high quality pale ales... and sour beers... and stouts... and barrel conditioned beers. OK – so he is a well rounded and talented brewer. This was formally acknowledged when 8 Wired became one of the smallest breweries ever to win the coveted Brewers’ Guild of New Zealand Champion Brewery award.

The beer launch is 8 Wired’s Project Silver Special Release: Quicksilver Pale Ale. You will have to ask the bar staff for details as it all still quite secret squirrel. [3]

8 Wired Hopwired IPA – This is a beer I know and adore. I have never felt the need to update my original tasting notes:

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 Fresh Hopwired IPA – The only 8 Wired beer that I like more than Hopwired is Fresh Hopwired which is made with sticky, delicious green hops. It is a limited release so snap it up.

8 Wired Superdank US IPA – On the subject of dankness, this heavily hopped American style IPA is packed full of resinous and fruity hops. There are notes of grapefruit and orange peel, and a lovely sweatiness reminiscent of Kelvin Davis in a press conference. 

8 Wired Tall Poppy Red IPA – This is an India Red Ale – a potentially made up style that I generally have little time for. However, I have a lot of time for this beer and have rated it the most food match friendly brew in the entire land. It is the balance of this beer which makes it so memorable and versatile – caramel, oranges, earthy, creamy, bitterness, pine and maybe a suggestion of peach.

8 Wired Tropidelic NZ Pale Ale - 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.” [4] 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.”

 

Then there are the sour beers which Ciaran, the poetic, prophetic, and popping fresh Malthouse Unit Manager, has dubbed “The Three Different Hippies”. These are the 8 Wired Sour Ales and not, as I initially thought, the Wellington City Council.

There is the base 8 Wired Hippy Berliner which Soren describes as a hoppy sour beer, and “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.” I am a fan of hops, but not this beer.

Next is 8 Wired Cucumber Hippy which is the same beer racked overly sliced cucumber in, Soren assures, a form of dry hopping. I am not a fan of cucumber (“flavour-low second-rate melon cousin” is my usual term of non-endearment), but somehow like this beer. The cucumber is surprisingly prominent – fresh and clean – taking away some of the tartness of the beer and lifting the drinkability dramatically.

The latest addition is 8 Wired Celery Salt Hippy where the celery flavour is similarly prominent in the glass. There is also some saltiness to counterpoint the sour. Personally, I think celery salt is vastly under rated as a condiment in general and I suddenly feel the need to buy some immediately. [5]

Also (relatively) recent is 8 Wired German Pilsner. It is light and quaffable, and uses German ingredients in the classic style. Simple and delivers exactly what it says on the label. Hervorragend!

8 Wired Semi Conductor Session IPA is exactly half the strength of the big brother Super Charger but has more than half the flavour by my reckoning. The result is a full bodied pale ale with notes of citrus peel, pine needles, hop resin and mango.

 

The final offering is the legendary 8 Wired iStout Imperial Stout, one of their most critically acclaimed brews. It is 10% so be very careful. My notes read:

“It is full bodied and surprisingly bitter with a profile of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, leather and potentially a snifter of bourbon. It smells like imperialism – in the very best possible way.”

As well as the special attraction of Soren the Brewer being in the hood, there will be the welcome return of beer pong as a pub game. Ciaran has confirmed the cups and ping pong balls will be back simply because this humble blogger “asked nicely”. Technically, I think I begged. Give it a go – pong is so much fun and you get to find out just how competitive people are even in a game they had never heard of before.

The quotation used in the title of this blog post - “We are wired to find love” – is from Helen E Fisher, an “American anthropologist, human behaviour researcher, and self-help author.” She has also been described as “a leading expert on the biology of love and attraction” and “the most referenced scholar in the love research community.” [6]

Next time we drink to the Netflix show “Resurrection: Ertugrul”. Not only it is a fine series in its own rights – a Turkish Game of Thrones on a lower budget – but there is no English so there are subtitles for every line. This is handy when you are watching it at lunch and there are two burly workmen on your balcony ripping part of your building out... or putting it back in... who knows? Anyway, the subtitles mean you can keep up despite the heaviest power tool noise. Plus the catchy end theme music makes me dance.

 

[1] Hardly seems a fair swap for the legendary Andre the Giant...

[2] Albeit not for very long (around four months).

[3] This is not a Mike Conroy reference as much as he would like it to be.

[4] Soren is so much fun to interview.

[5] Disclaimer: I am not a supporter of Celery Salt: The Beautiful Truth.

[6] Even Wikipedia struggled to find citations supporting these claims. However, it meets the Malthouse Blog Criteria of Proof: “Someone allegedly said it according to the Internet.”

 

Cheers

 

Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

DrinksBiz Magazine

 

Links

 

Project Silver Operation 8 Wired - https://www.facebook.com/events/927875660721861/

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