THE THIRSTYBOYS: Home Brew Tasting #1

Text: Mr Horse

September 2012

The vigour of the Wellington beer scene owes much to the large home brewing underground, which lurks beneath the surface of the local craft brewing industry. We thought it was time to have a tasting, appropriately located at home, where home brewers could present their beers to an appreciative audience. One fine September afternoon we gathered at my place in Newtown and sat outside. The following notes capture the limpid flow of scintillating wit.

1.      The Beer Barons: Scribbler – pale ale

The Beer Barons is one of the three beer clubs I am part of. There are three members: The scribbler, the cutter and the suit, names which refer to our occupations. We have been tasting beer for a year or so before we decided, well actually the suit decided that, since I have a garden shed, that we should have a go at brewing beer. Despite being enthusiastic amateurs there is a rather slick-looking label in development with symbols for each of the members who take turns deciding what to brew: a pair of scissors for the cutter (Sheldon), a mortar board for the scribbler (Mr Horse) and a tie for the suit (Rob). This is only the second beer we have brewed, we were starting with something closer to the reality of most home brewers who lets face it fumble around and try to make something drinkable.

The glasses were poured and the conversation flowed:

“Better than DB”

“Closer to an IPA than Tui”

“Much better than that Rex Attitude shit” – Rob’s dad

“Not crazily unbalanced” – Greasylightbulb

“Needs a bit more of everything” Ryan

“Ryan taught us everything we don’t know” Mr Horse

There was also one haiku and one other exchange that came out like a haiku:

Jesuit: “This is a pale ale with bits floating in it” Jesuit

Rob: “The bits in it are deliberate”

Ryan “Like hokey pokey ice cream, in’it”

The haiku was inspired by the fact that the tie logo on the label looked a bit like a dildo:


It’s not a dildo

Scribbler went on holiday

Forgot the sugar

2.      Ryan ‘sleeping samurai’ Schubert-McArthur – ‘The Hook’ Imperial Black IPA

Ryan is a serious home brewer who has been around the Wellington beer world for a while, works part time at Regional and expertly managed this year’s Beervana. This was a big beer brewed with seaweed, pohutukawa honey, Belgian yeast and three hops, one American.

“Slightly iodine, walnutty” Greasylightbulb

“It’s a vegetarian alternative”Braedon

“Medicinal in texture” Malice

“To make an imperial anything, you need more of everything!” Greasylightbulb

“Something fishy (this way comes)”Greasylightbulb


Foaming black sea broth

Wellington harbour flavours

Lazy ass brewer

This the type of beer you drink after a surf or a post prandial libation

Food matches: Dark chocolate orange; Ice cream (vanilla); Paua fritters and chips

3.      Ryan’s milk stout

Next Ryan served up a 4-5 month old milk stout 3.8%, made with black malt, barley and lots of lactose.


“Perfectly pleasant” Jesuit

“Gorgeous colour, like coke” Jesuit (and Ryan)

” A sessionable stout” Shiggy

Food matches: Milk chocolate: Winter beef stew

This is the type of beer you have three months ago, when you can’t be assed going to Regional[wines and spirits].


Five times more lactose

Just to mock all the vegans

Please enter your age

4.      Braedon’s ‘Nine-barn-yard-owls’

Braedon is another keen home brewer who has been making beer since he was at high school (he was supposed to make wine for a science experiment and made beer instead). He started with a kit, then graduated to extract. He brews when he can, but the hops gives his wife a headache. This beer was meant to be an American double (ie. imperial) but turned out as a single. It has 7 types of hops, and 7 varieties of malt.

“Predominantly toffee” Greasylightbulb


“The devil’s strong ale” Mr Horse

This is the type of beer you have when in April, or when you are warming up for touch!

Food matches: American things; Curry; Another beer


Satanic Toffee

From Eliot’s cruellest month

Lacking six yeast strains*

5.      Braedon’s Belgian Wit

This was the first attempt at an all grain beer made with wheat, originally destined for the ‘Wellington in a pint’ competition. It is low cal 3.5%, has coriander and orange peel. Braedon confessed it was probably a bit past it, cos it was brewed back in April…

“Smells like a wit, but lacking in body (a diet wit)” The Jesuit

“Perfect for a sunny Spring day” Mr Horse

“Still reasonably spritzy though!” The Jesuit

“Coriander rather than bananas eh Malice?”Mr Horse

“It was quite good, just weak as water” Ryan

“Missing a bit of body” Greasylightbulb

Food matches: Mussels; Creamy goats cheese: Oysters

This is the kind of beer you drink after mowing the lawn or watching Belgian cricket


Wellington white out

Thinner than a Spring zephyr

Shell fish or goats cheese

6.      Shiggy’s barley wine

Shigeo Takagi (Shiggy) is a well-known beer personality. He works at Hashigo Zake, hosts monthly home brew tastings, and is a member of the team who are the emerging brewery Funk Estate. This beer was made with rice, Jade and Motueka hops, and six different kinds of grain.

“Doesn’t taste like it smells, very smooth tasting” Greasylightbulb

“Banana, clove. Spicey and warm” Braedon

“Raiseny. A little less bitter” Ryan

Food matches: Stilton cheese: Barry’s Bay cheddar: Gorgonzolla picante

This is the type of beer to drink on the equinox, after dinner—it’s a digestive.


Astors in the nose

Shiggy’s skateboard swapped for drugs


L to R: Homebrewers- Ryan, the cutter, Mr Horse, the suit, Shiggy, Braedon

Big thanks to the homebrewers for sharing their brews and disclaimers with the thirstyboys. It was a great session.


Funk Estate



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