The title of this blog certainly sounds like something I would want to write about myself, but it is actually a real song lyric written by three men far more talented than me. [1] It is a line from "Car Thief" on the 1989 album "Paul's Boutique" by Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "MCA" Yauch, and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz – better known as the hip-hop group Beastie Boys. It is also a rare example of a critically acclaimed and generally regarded as cool album in my record collection. [2]

Although the Beastie Boys’ earlier album "Licensed to Ill" was the second record I ever bought – after Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s "Relax" 12-inch remix, naturally – it is not the reason that this particularly immodest lyric headlines the Malthouse Blog #363. It is because the topic of this week’s post is the Yeastie Boys and:

a) Their brewery name sounds quite a lot like Beastie Boys.

b) They really like using song lyrics as beer names.  

After an absence of close to a year, the Yeastie Boys are back on tap at Malthouse with six beers pouring this weekend. Referring to themselves modestly (and accurately) as "post modern craft beer cult heroes", Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie burst onto the scene in 2009 with their flagship beer Pot Kettle Black (known to all as PKB).

Sam, who rocks the best fringe in craft beer, was based in Auckland, Stu McKinlay, five time winner of the "outrageous trousers in brewing" award [3] lived in Wellington, and the beers were brewed in Invercargill by the most huggable man in world brewing history, Steve Nally of Invercargill Brewery.

This complicated arrangement turned out to be far too logical for Creative Director Stu and Director Creative Sam. [4] Consequently, they crowd funded a lot of money in a very short amount of time, Stu moved his family to Scotland so he could brew with fellow lunatics at BrewDog, he established European distribution deals despite the Brexit vote, Steve is still making the New Zealand beer and Sam appears to have been somewhat broken by a trip to Portugal and is now recovering in France. You know, just your absolutely standard run of the mill business model...

In reality, nothing is run of the mill about the Yeasties who have created a range of innovative, "off the grid" and "intergalactic" beers. [5] Now, a disclaimer – because everyone loves endless disclaimers – I have to take some of the credit and/or blame for Yeastie Boys flagship Pot Kettle Black (6%) which is now billed as a South Pacific Porter. Yeastie Boy Stu tells this story about its creation:

"Pot Kettle Black was one of those lightbulb moments that occurred following months of discussion with beer writer, Neil Miller. I love malty beers and often think this hop craze thing has gone too far - pale hoppy beers fill every shelf around town, and everyone, everywhere, is talking about them. Neil is probably New Zealand’s most certifiable hophead.

Anyway, back to the PKB story, Neil and I spent a lot of time discussing the subtle, and not so subtle, intricacies of the debate around hop-fuelled pale ales versus marvellous malty monsters. It got me thinking about straddling the fence between us.

Although it started out in my head as a very robust American Brown Ale, I now think of Pot Kettle Black as an American-style Porter (or, perhaps, a 'new world style’'. Anchor Porter and Epic Porter were partial influences, though I always felt like both beers exhibit more black character than I wanted and that their hop character is too grassy/piney. They were hoppy porters, rather than porterish hoppy ales."


While I feel Stu overstates my influence on the genesis of PKB, I will be forever grateful for him dubbing me "The Minister of Hops", an illustrious title, which now appears on my business cards. PKB is a wonderfully balanced beer with notes of chocolate, stone fruit, liquorice, toffee and cleansing hop bitterness. 

Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta (6.5%) is a critically acclaimed "Tea Leaf IPA" but I personally cannot stand it. I don't put beer in your cornflakes, don't put tea in my beer. However, I am clearly in a minority on this issue because most people love the infusion of Earl Grey Blue Flower tea adding notes of tea and tannin over a fruity fat body and long bitter finish. It is named after a 2004 Paul Kelly song.

Conspiracy Theory – Yeastie Boys sometimes make beers just to enrage me. That is only explanation for taking my despised Gunnamatta and making a lower-alcohol version called Yeastie Boys Minimatta (4%). The weird thing is, I really like it. In Minimatta the tea flavour seems less intrusive and better integrated. This allows the other notes of peach, pine and spice to shine in a very responsible way.  

The tasting notes for Yeastie Boys White Noise (4.4%) stress the "virtually non-existent hops", which would usually be a game breaker for me. Actually, this turned out to be another brew which made me wonder if the Yeastie Boys exist in the same universe as my presumptions because it is awesome and I don’t think it gets the beer geek love it deserves. Cloudy and pale, there are notes of orange, spice, lemon zest, warm bread, vanilla and coconut oil. 

Stu describes Yeastie Boys Digital IPA (5.7%) as the "normal IPA" and he is almost using the term as a pejorative. I would like to retort that I drink more Digital IPA than all the other Yeastie beers combined precisely because it is beautifully made 57 IBU IPA with lashings of grapefruit, lemon zest, pine needles and freshly cut grass. Note to Yeastie Boys – it is not "normal" – it is "exceptional".

The final beer in this post is the only one I have not sampled – which seems odd since it is likely the beer that I would probably adore the most. Yeastie Boys Chica Chica Boom Chic (7.9%) is a powerful IPA named after a Carmen Miranda song. This "I have not tasted it" situation needs to be remedied on an urgent basis.

Finally, here is a reminder that the 9th Annual Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge will be starting 2pm on Friday, 29 July 2016. It features a huge (did someone say 25?) variety of West Coast India Pale Ales created by brewers around the country especially for this event. Each will be hoping to wow the panel of expert judges and win the coveted Golden Gumboots prize. I have seen the boots trophy so you know things are getting real. There will be more details next week.

Next time, we drink to those social media warriors who manage to doggedly remain offended on someone else's behalf, even after the people actually involved have reached a positive resolution. I mean, folk just can't be trusted to know if they are aggrieved unless it is on Twitter.

[1] This is a surprisingly long list. 

[2] Why yes, I do have an extensive record collection even though I am not a DJ.

[3] The coveted Elijah Wood “Rock Lobster” Trophy. This is such an in-joke it is likely to collapse into a black hole.

[4] These are their actual job titles – I am not making this up.

[5] The last two descriptors are actually Beastie Boys song title making this rather clever in a hipster kind of way.



Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine



Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge Facebook Event -  

Malthouse Facebook -

Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter –!/MalthouseTaps  

Neil Miller on Twitter –!/beerlytweeting  


The old saying contends that "it is always darkest just before the dawn". [1] That is certainly true at Malthouse where the Darkest Days Showcase of Stouts, Porters and Dark Ales has finished and we anxiously await the rise of the radiant sun of the Malty beer calendar – the Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge.

Starting 2pm on Friday, 29 July 2016, the discerning drinking public will get the chance to try a huge variety of West Coast India Pale Ales [2] created by brewers around the country especially for this event. Each will be hoping to wow the panel of expert judges and win the coveted Golden Gumboots prize.

The Challenge officially lasts for two days but some of the most popular beers – particularly the medallists and the People's Choice winner – can be all gone well before the dawn on Sunday. [3] Challenge Friday is traditionally the busiest day of the year for Malthouse, closely followed by Challenge Saturday. The important point to note here is that, as a judge, I will have tried the beers before the doors even open. [4]

While the list of entries is still secret, I can tell you it is long – with some returning champions, some experienced challengers and a few brand new entrants. More details will be released in coming blogs. Now in its ninth year, the Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge continues to grow. It is one of my favourite events of the year and always the first date entered into my diary, even before I put in my own birthday. [5]

With the end of a highly successful Darkest Days Showcase, the tap line up is changing rapidly (even by Malthouse standards). Here are some of recent additions with my comments:

Epic Hop Dozer (6.8%) – This "New Zealand India Amber Ale" was created by the Impish Brewer for the GABS (Great Australian Beer Spectacular) festival which, paradoxically, was also held in Auckland this year. It is a limited edition hoppy red beer packed with 100% NZ grown hops (Brooklyn, Riwaka and Styrian Goldings). It is a strictly limited edition brew.

Liberty Alpha Obsidian Black IPA (7.3%) – This is brewer Joseph Wood's GABS special beer in the growingly popular Black IPA style. He describes this inky brew as having "notes of tropical fruit, dark chocolate, and cocoa that create more depth". Alpha Obsidian is also a limited release.

Baylands Knight Ryder (5.7%) – Because it is currently being served on Nitro (very exciting), this chocolate and rye stout will be even smoother and creamer now. To paraphrase the brewer's notes, this stout has mouthfuls of chocolate and rye. Oh, wait - those are the entire brewer's notes. They are correct.

8 Wired Hippy Berliner (4%) – This sour, Berliner Weisse is in the famous Malthouse Hopinator ("The Modus Hopperandus") again this week. Last week it was infused with cucumber, a tasty combination which certainly surprised me. This week it is flowing over rosemary which will impart a completely different nature – floral, fragrant, and spicy. [6]

8 Wired Palate Trip Sour (6.5%) – Another offering for GABS, brewer Soren Eriksen has made an India Pale Ale with American and New Zealand hops, and then soured it (on purpose it should be noted). The end result is a rare sour IPA. Soren says, "the result is tart acidity, rather than bitterness, to help balance the sweet malts."

ParrotDog Otis (6.3%) – Already brewed with rolled oats for body and mouthfeel, this Oatmeal Stout is currently being served on hand pull. This will serve to accentuate the fat, chocolately flavours in the beer, and also give Malthouse staff a good workout at the same time.

Renaissance MPA (8.5%) – Renaissance Brewing put their own spin on the American Double IPA style. The result is this huge MPA (short for Marlborough Pale Ale) which the brewers note uses not only New Zealand grown hops, but only New Zealand hop varieties. The exact hops vary from year to year depending on what is available.

Garage Project VPA (7.5%) – Here is a rather nice description I wrote about this award-winning "Venusian Pale Ale" which I cannot improve upon:

"Despite the name and Steampunk themed labelling, this is actually not brewed on Venus or even for Venusians living amongst us (as far as I know). However, it is a bit 'out of this world' because of the generous use of real lemongrass, kaffir lime grass and grapefruit zest in this innovative brew. The resulting golden beer has a herb garden nose, then lashings of zesty citrus and spice, before a subtle cleansing finish."

Garage Project Hapi Daze (4.2%) - Designed to be a "really nice sessionable caramel blonde ale", this beer is hoppy but not a hop bomb by any stretch. The emphasis is on balance and drinkability. Look for notes of grapefruit, caramel slice, peaches and pine. There is also a story and/or in-joke behind the name with Hapi being the Maori word for hops.

As mentioned earlier, there will be more details about the entries into the 9th Annual Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge in coming blogs. I think I see a lightening of the sky...

Next time, we drink to Matt LeBlanc who seems to have forced his "shouty" co-host, Chris Evans, off the new Top Gear after just one season. Now, if he can only get rid of himself and then bring back Jeremy "Awkward Trousers" Clarkson, Richard "The Hamster" Hammond and James "Captain Slow" May – the show might have a chance. [7]

[1] To be fair, it is pretty old with the first reference thought to be from 1650 in Thomas Fuller's, A Pisgah Sight of Palestine ("It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth"). The science about whether it is actually darkest just before the dawn is highly disputed.

[2] Just to clarify, because I have had a few queries, the reference is to the West Coast of the United States, not the West Coast of New Zealand. Think San Francisco rather than Blackball – that should make it easier.

[3] Did you see what I did there?

[4] [Insert maniacal laugh here] closely followed by [volley of abuse from beer friends].

[5] Just to confirm all the stereotypes about my technologic prowess, I do in fact have a paper diary. Actually, due to a mix up when ordering office supplies, I actually have two.

[6] In related news, still no sign of actual hops in the Hopinator, though the recent combinations have been pretty darn creative...

[7] Frankly, the show has no show. One more season – tops – and only then because the BBC will not want to admit they were wrong.


Neil Miller


Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine



Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge Facebook Event - HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EVENTS/1762486550698939/

Malthouse Facebook - WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/PAGES/MALTHOUSE/7084276173

Malthouse Twitter – WWW.TWITTER.COM/#!/MALTHOUSE

Malthouse Taps on Twitter – WWW.TWITTER.COM/#!/MALTHOUSETAPS


“Are you made of stone?” – Nomad and Stone tap takeover


The title of this (bonus) Malthouse blog proves once and for all that it is not just those groovy hip cats at Yeastie Boys who can insert seemingly poignant song lyrics into virtually any beer related material.


Thursday, 26 May 2016 16:38

It's June-iper at Malthouse!

Let's face it. Gin is awesome! To celebrate this fantastic enlightened white spirit, we at Malthouse have decided to dedicate a whole month to gin! Hooray!

Starting on the 30 May (Monday) and running for the month of June, we'll be having a weekly beer and gin match every Monday. Check out our Facebook page for our first June-iper Beer & Gin pairing and to keep posted of our weekly June-iper pairings!

And to show our appreciation to the noble Malthouse Loyalty card holders and beer-loyal SOBA members we will be giving them both the opportunity to come and try some of our fantastic gin selection at a discount of 10% (SOBA) or a savings of 20% (Malthouse loyalty card).

Wallet feeling a little light without a Malty Loyalty Card? Sign up here to land one of your very own:

Happy June-iper!


June-iper Gin List (with more to come!)

Here is a current list of our gins with more to come

Beefeater 24

Bombay Sapphire Litre

Boodles Gin

Bruichladdich The Botanist Gin

Crown Jewel Gin

Edinburgh Gin

First Cut Gin Batch 1

Gin Mare

Hendricks Gin 700ml

Ketel 1 Jenever Gin 1lt

Lighthouse Gin Original

Rogue Society Gin

Sipsmith Gin

Sipsmith Sloe Gin

Sipsmith VJOP

South Gin 700ml

Tanquery 10

Tanquery Gin

West Winds Sabre Gin

Saturday the 21st of May is World Whisky Day. World Whisky Day? What's this? Is that a thing?

Firstly, yes, it is a thing, and secondly, World Whisky Day is a celebration of Whisky in all its forms. Neat, with water, on the rocks, mixed. Whatever works for you. As long as you're enjoying yourself.

To celebrate, Malthouse is having a week-long showcase of whiskies from our very extensive collection. Starting Monday, 16 May we will be adding a daily whisky platter option to our menu and this will stay on our menu until the following Sunday (22 May).

This Platter option will change daily giving all you whisky fans a chance to try four different whiskies a day. That is a total of 28 whiskies!!

Platters cost $50 and come with in-house tasting notes. So come on down and join us for a few drams of the water of life

Here is a list of the upcoming Drams. You will notice Saturday's drams are yet to be confirmed but stay tuned because, trust me, it will be worth it!

World Whisky Week Platter Line up:

Monday, 16 May:
Talisker 10 - Isle of Sky
Dalmore 12 - Highland
Cardhu 12 - Speyside
Bladnoch 20 - Lowland 

Tuesday, 17 May :
Glengarioch 12 - Highland
Smiths Glenlivet 15 - Speyside 
Scapa 16 - Orkney Mainland
Smokehead - Islay 

Wednesday, 18 May:
Ledaig 10 - Island 
Springbank 10 - Cambletown
Arran Sauterne Finish - Highland 
Glenlossie 16 - Highland

Thursday, 19 May:
Glengoyne 17 - Highland
Smokehead 18 - Islay
Balmanach Ultimate Collection 24 - Speyside
Blair Athol Ultimate Collection 26 - Highland

Friday, 20 May: 
Bruichladdich Waves - Islay 
Chieftains Tomatin 16 - Highland 
Stronachie 18 - Highland 
Tullibardine 500 Sherry Finish - Highland 

Saturday, 21 May - World Whisky Day!!
We'll be featuring whiskies from around the world with whiskys from Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the US! 

Sunday, 22 May: 
Balvenie Single Barrel 12 - Speyside
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruben - Highland 
Jura Prophecy - Island 
Alchemist Tobermory 16 - Island

Wednesday, 30 March 2016 13:47

Biggie Smalls – Lets rap about beer

Biggie Smalls – Lets rap about beer

The Notorious B.I.G returns to Malthouse on Friday 1 April... sort of. Iconic East Coast rapper Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known by his stage names The Notorious B.I.G or Biggie Smalls, was gunned down by a still unknown assailant in Los Angeles in 1997. Regarded by many as the most talented rapper in history, his prodigious musical influence lived on, including works by Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil’ Wayne, Snoop Dogg and even Michael Jackson. [1]