Thursday, January 10, 2019

January 10, 2019

Welcome Back

Yes, returning to regular work patterns can be a challenge, especially when the sun is shining (and the road outside is being dug up).

To ease the pain we’re making a rare and very special offer with nearby workers in mind. Those discounts that we offer from Sunday until Wednesday to certain categories of valued customer, such as SOBA members, will be extended until 6pm tomorrow (Friday the 11th).

Full Complement

During the quiet period over Christmas and the New Year, we took the opportunity to let the beer on a couple of our taps run out and perform some overdue repairs. Those repairs were finished earlier today and over the next day or so we're progressively recommissioning those taps. That boost in tap numbers will let us put on several beers from a new supplier – The Theoretical Brewer.

To the best of our knowledge, The Theoretical Brewer’s beers haven’t been on tap in Wellington yet. We were sent samples by founder Doug and were impressed enough to get a keg each of his current core range. 1st Finch Pale Ale is already on tap. Most of TransPorter, Chrysanthemum Lager and Quantum Eraser Pilsner will make it on tap by tomorrow.

Doug has just expanded from a facility built at the back of his house in suburban New Plymouth – a beginning that should sound familiar to anyone following the New Zealand beer scene.

On Tap Now

  • HeyDay Beer Co Agua Fresca Tamarindo
  • Deep Creek Drop Top Chardonnay Brut IPA
  • Deep Creek Dusty Gringo
  • Deep Creek Hoppy McHop Face IIPA
  • Kereru Rojito Extra Pale Lager
  • The Theoretical Brewer The 1st Finch
  • The Theoretical Brewer TransPORTER
  • Kereru Yellowhead IPA

Live Music

Live music returns on Saturday. As we suspected, the programme has been tweaked since last Thursday’s announcement and Saturday’s band is to be The Inclinators.

This blues and R&B band last played in our lounge more than two years ago. They include several musicians, such as Terry Casey and Richard Te One, who played with Darren Watson for years, plus guitarist Chris Armour, who seems to feature in at least one band for every sub-variety of rock ‘n roll in existence. With all that experience we expect a consummate performance of “hot and sweaty R&B”.

And speaking of Darren Watson, the legendary blues performer is returning to gigging after a brief hiatus that followed his album release and nationwide tour last year. And we’ve got him playing an acoustic show on the 19th. (He’ll also be back with his current band, The Dangerous Experts, later in the year.)

Cult Film Basement

The Cult Film Basement’s programmer is a big fan of John Carpenter and Carpenter’s 1980 supernatural thriller The Fog is our cult movie on Sunday. Sadly we’re unlikely to repeat the stunt used when the film was released of firing up fog machines in cinemas. But we will be offering the usual free popcorn.

Our New Neighbour

The beloved and much fêted restaurant – and our fellow tenant at 25 Taranaki St – called Zibibbo is no more. We’ve been told a very small but crucial piece of information about the operation that Zibibbo’s owners are creating in its place. And that is that they're collaborating with DB.

Yes, the brewery that we’ve probably been more critical of than anyone else in the world, and who arguably did more to deny New Zealanders access to good and diverse beer than anyone (except maybe Lion Nathan), is moving in upstairs.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

December 20, 2018

The Alternative Sensory Deprivation Tank

According to Wikipedia, sensory deprivation is “the deliberate reduction or removal of stimuli from one or more of the senses.” In the days after Christmas we know that many of you will be wishing for some sensory deprivation – maybe the removal of daylight, traffic noise or certain family members.

We have an alternative to shelling out hundreds of dollars to lie in warm goo with a blindfold on. We offer a dimly lit, windowless, underground space, with the only stimulus being intoxicating beverages and, perhaps, the mesmeric sights and sounds of televised cricket.

What’s more we offer our Alternative Sensory Deprivation Therapy on the dot of midday on Boxing Day.

Sadly the law prohibits the offering of our therapy on Christmas Day itself. But we look forward to seeing a queue form outside the front door in the minutes leading up to 12pm on Dec 26.

Christmas Cinema

This Sunday we screen Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. Following last week’s Black Christmas, this is another alternative to the usual saccharin Christmas movie, being a Finnish hybrid of a horror flick and a Christmas movie parody.

At 7pm in the Cult Film Basement

On Tap Now

  • Deep Creek Aloha
  • Invercargill B.Man IPA
  • Kereru Black Ruby Choc Imperial Stout
  • Isthmus No Man's Land XPA
  • Isthmus Peak Haze IPA
  • Laughing Bones The Duke Rye Pale Ale
  • Invercargill B.Man Pilsner
  • Peckham's Moutere Cider
  • Invercargill Pitch Black Stout

Belated Release

It finally happened – a new release was delivered so late by the carrier that we didn’t get it in time to go on tap on Tuesday evening. It was dropped off yesterday, so Isthmus brewing’s No Man’s Land XPA went on tap yesterday.

There won’t be a new release next Tuesday because we won’t be open!

Thunder. All Through The Night.

Experience tells us that from around about today, the Wellington CBD gradually descends into a kind of hibernation (or more correctly aestivation), from which it groggily emerges some time in January. Nevertheless we know that there are those of you who want to defy this urge and keep using the CBD as your workplace and/or playground. So this Saturday we do have a band in our usual Saturday night slot. Chocolate Thunder play at 10pm, bringing not just funk, but “funk groove fusion”.

We are passing on having live music on Saturday week (the 29th), and instead have the Vanguards playing two nights later on New Years Eve.



A few years ago, when providers started rolling out eftpos terminals capable of performing contactless transactions (i.e. “Pay Wave”, “Tap and Go” etc), we were alerted to the fact that performing these transactions imposed a fresh set of charges on merchants and so resisted getting them in.

Since then they have got wide - but definitely not universal - acceptance, and we frequently watch customers wave cards (and occasionally phones) at our eftpos terminals, expecting a payment to happen. And we explain that pay wave won’t work, while trying to resist the instinct to say “sorry”, because, in reality, we aren’t sorry that we don’t offer it.

Saying “paywave doesn’t work here“ fifty times a day gets a little tiring, so one day last week we tried pre-alerting customers to this fact, by announcing it on the sign outside. And because this policy is something we see no shame in and are happy to own, we wrote “proudly paywave free”.

Not long after, we got a review on a certain site that collects crowdsourced reviews saying “Boasting about not having eftpos, not cool. How about it’s 2018 and getting with the times.” Yes, someone really wrote that.

We take this as a sign that the subject of the fairness and expense of contactless payments isn’t as well understood as it needs to be.

From our point of view as a merchant, we have traditionally taken three kinds of payment – cash, eftpos (where money comes from a cheque or savings account) and credit. Cash and eftpos were effectively free (except for the cost of renting an eftpos terminal), while credit card transactions came with charges of between 2.5% and 3%. We have always tolerated those credit card charges for a few reasons:– customers such as travellers rely on being able to pay by credit card and payments by credit card were always a small minority of the total payments we took in. But the overriding concern was that customers simply expect to have the option of paying by credit card.

Then along came contactless, and a new charge. Suddenly those eftpos payments wouldn’t be free, if they were paid by a wave of the card instead of the traditional process. They would come with a charge of around 1.5% - not as much as credit card charges, but a totally new cost where there hadn’t been one before. When times are good a merchant might laugh at a fresh charge of 1.5% of some or all their income. But the rest of the time and for most merchants, this is a cost that has to be paid for by putting up prices. Maybe not immediately, but the day when an operator looks at their books and decides it’s time to put prices up might be brought forward.

So we resisted and have continued to resist. We scoffed when the bank called and offered to waive transaction charges for a month – as if that somehow makes a difference to the charges that would be imposed for the rest of time.

We know that we are far from the only hold-outs. In fact those anti-establishment rebels known as Burger King made the news by ditching pay wave a few months ago.

Now there is a problem with this explanation that is easy to make and difficult to refute, and that is the fact that we continue to tolerate the higher cost of doing credit card transactions. To be brutally honest, if we thought we could pass those ~2.5% credit card charges on to our customers and get away with it, we almost certainly would. Especially since the proportion of payments being made by credit cards is steadily creeping up. But this is the brutal reality – consumers have been persuaded that they (you) can not only switch seamlessly between credit card and eftpos, but loyalty schemes give you an incentive to take the credit option, while merchants silently pick up the tab.

Meanwhile the venerable payment system of eftpos, which has served New Zealand magnificently and economically for 30-odd years, is being undermined and replaced by stealth with a system that lets the world’s most profitable banks take ticket-clipping to another level.

Anyone want to debate this issue or suggest what a retailer like us should be doing? This email gets copied to a blog, where comments will be welcome.


Thursday, December 13, 2018

December 13, 2018

Secret Source

It has been our nine-year long (and continuing) mission to find the best possible beer-friendly snack foods. To that end we have found what might be the best yet. For some portion of the population at least. While no doubt some much smaller portion of the populace will screw their faces up.

We introduce Nam Pla Nuts. These may or may not have been sourced at great trouble and expense from a producer in another part of the world. Either way, we have a limited, experimental supply available for sale right now at a mere $5 for a bowl.

Get Ready To..

The Rumble is one of several musical combos wrangled by local guitarist Chris Armour. Normally the lineup simply consists of Chris and drummer Miles Calder, playing what is officially labelled “raw Proto-Rock'n'Roll, Blues and Rockabilly”.

This week though they’ve enlisted keyboardist Dayle Jellyman, of Darren Watson’s band The Dangerous Experts. Dayle has been known to bring a full, working, upright piano down our stairs for gigs, which is always a bit hair-raising but thoroughly worth it. So we anticipate an even richer and more adventurous musical experience than is typical this Saturday.

As usual, kick-off time is 10pm and the cover charge is a smile.

And speaking of Darren Watson's Dangerous Experts, we're reliably informed that after a spell staying away from regular old gigging, Darren's batteries are recharged and we'll see him and the band back in early 2019.

On Tap Now

  • Deep Creek Aloha
  • Invercargill B.Man APA
  • Invercargill B.Man IPA
  • Kereru Black Ruby Choc Imperial Stout
  • Cassels & Sons Cassels Witbier
  • Choice Bros Disco King IPA
  • Deep Creek Double IPA
  • Te Aro Brewing Dubh
  • Mean Doses Mean Juice IPA
  • Kereru Silverstream Pale Ale (hand pump)
  • Deep Creek Undercurrent Pilsner

The sharp eyed will notice two beers whose names vary from each other by a single letter. It isn't a typo. We rolled back the clock by placing an order with the venerable Invercargill Brewery. (In fact they're apparently in the process of rebranding as the Bloody Good Brew Co - does anyone think that's a good idea?)
For years Invercargill had a famous hoppy lager called Biman, then B.Man, then B.Man Pilsner. That beer still exists but it has spawned no fewer than two other hoppy pale beers - an APA and an IPA. We have both on tap right now, with the original to join them in the near future. Plus as an extra treat we grabbed a keg of the legendary Pitch Black Stout.

Look out too for something from Silverdale's Laughing Bones and some fresh cider on tap courtesy of Peckhams.

But right now, anyone looking for a Christmas treat is encouraged to look no further than Kereru Black Ruby Imperial Stout.

Black Christmas

The place of Die Hard as an action classic and a slightly unlikely/ironic Christmas movie seems to get more and more entrenched every year. But as this article lays out, we can do better in the form of the 1974 Canadian Horror Black Christmas - a highly regarded early example of a slasher film set in a sorority house at Christmas. Does it get any better than that?

As usual our cult movie screens at 7pm on Sunday in our multi-purpose art and performance studio.

Little Rocket Plan

Anyone else still get a kick out of watching rockets take off from the Mahia Peninsula? If nothing goes wrong with the weather or the technology there may be one some time after 5pm today. We’ll keep the projector and screen on standby just in case.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 6, 2018

Rock Dots

Earlier this week Hashigo Zake was delighted to learn that our booker hadn’t actually made a typo on, and this Saturday’s music comes from someone with an umlaut in his name. We don’t care that Baron Oscar Lavën’s music is some distance from rock ‘n roll and that the performer in question was born with said umlaut. All that matters is that our act this Saturday has rock dots.

This isn’t completely unprecedented. A couple of years ago we hosted a secret gig by rock royalty in the form of Hüsker Dü’s late Grant Hart. Grant explained that Hüsker Dü’s umlauts were inserted to avoid being sued by the makers of the Hūsker Dū board game. Not particularly rock ‘n roll either.

And as if having an authentic umlaut in his name didn’t endear Lavën to us sufficiently, he has promised to play no Christmas tunes. Instead we're looking forward to a "deep-digging, boots-and-all Soul Funk organ trio".

The Oscar Lavën Organ Trio play at 10pm on Saturday in our Lounge. No cover charge.

If there is any reader who considers a lack of Christmas music to be a failing, we have two comments. It would be undiplomatic to actually express the first. The other is: please see the section below on Monday’s Rock The Cash Bar Christmas Edition.

Rock The Cash Bar VIII

Popular culture guru and quizmaster Hadyn Green has done a magnificent job of making Rock The Cash Bar an established and well-attended fixture in our calendar. Take a victory lap, Hadyn.

We thought it would be fitting to sneak in one last instalment of Rock The Cash Bar before the end of the year. And Hadyn isn’t going to pass up the opportunity of adding a Christmassy element, even if it means tolerating it being called Rock The Kitsch Bar.

So Monday night’s quiztravaganza should be an even better form of Monday night entertainment than usual. To be assured that you and your team can walk in on Monday evening and find a table with your team name on it, go to the event’s very own facebook page and leave a message.

On Tap Now

  • Renaissance Black Hole Fusion
  • Golden Bear Body Czech Pils
  • South Cider Boysenberry Cider
  • Te Aro Double Dragon IIPA
  • Deep Creek Double IPA
  • Deep Creek Lagerita
  • Kereru Moonless Stout (Hand pump)
  • Kereru Pohutukawa Golden Ale
  • Sawmill American Brown Ale
  • Sawmill Old English Ale
  • Kereru Yellowhead IPA

I Saw The Devil

You might have noticed that we’re big fans of South Korean cinema. Especially of the Crime & Thriller films of the first decade of this century.

Following screenings of Memories of Murder and The Chaser we’re returning to South Korea with Kim Jee-woon’s (The Good, The Bad, The Weird) shockingly intense Special Agent vs Serial Killer Cat & Mouse thriller from 2010.

Byung-Hun Lee (A BIttersweet Life) stars as a Government special agent who unleashes brutal vengeance on the serial killer (Choi Min-sik - Oldboy) who murdered his pregnant fiancé.

What follows is one of the most incredible pieces of revenge cinema put to screen.

An unflinching gaze into the heart of pure evil and a perverse genre entertainment par excellence.” (Rob Nelson, Variety)

I Saw The Devil screens in our multi-function arts and entertainment complex (i.e. the Lounge) on Sunday at 7pm.

Santa Session Debrief

From our vantage point, Tuesday’s Santa Session looked like a lot of fun for all concerned. As well as generously pouring lots and lots of beer that had outstayed its welcome, we threw in a few beers that definitely did not deserve to be in that category. In other words, these were beers still at or near their peak condition and that are still available for purchase. And there were some definite highlights.
  • Modern Times Funky Universal Friend – with Pinot Noir. Three years ago Modern Times took their Universal Friend saison, added grape must and bottled the result with Brettanomyces. (We’re told that they underestimated just how much carbonation the brett would add, leading to some feisty drinking.) The result is tasting as good as ever – complex, bright and a little, well, winey.
  • Almanac Saison de Brettaville. More evidence – if it was even needed - that brett beers can keep getting better. This barrel-aged and brett-ified saison is riotously pineapply and vibrant, belying its several years of patiently waiting on a shelf.
  • Moon Dog Bock Naked. This one is really causing some head-scratching. We wrote off our leftover supplies of this years ago and designated it cooking beer. (Because a strong chipotle-spiced bock is a great marinade!) But one day one of us sipped a little and it was surprisingly good. So we chucked a few bottles into the Santa Session and got great feedback. We’re still dithering about whether we can legitimately offer them for sale. Feedback welcome.

More on Christmas and New Year Trading

Time for yet another gentle reminder that we are open from midday every day that we’re allowed, which means every day except Christmas Day. Here are our closing times:

Sunday & Monday: No earlier than 9:30pm.

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: No earlier than 11pm.

Friday, Saturday: No earlier than 1am.

Remember that we can, and often do, stay open later than those closing times. It depends just how busy we are around closing time. We know that many of you like to do your socialising later in summer.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

November 29, 2018

December Entertainment

Part 1 - Music

It seems that December is as close as two days away. As in the day after tomorrow. Which is frightening for those of us still getting over 2017. The arrival of December portends much in the way of end of year rituals and seasonal celebrations. But for us a lot of the excitement has to do with the prospect of another month’s worth of bands and cult movies.

Our December schedule of bands has a notable kink in it. We won’t have a live band on Saturday Dec the 29th. The simple fact is that day of the week counts for nought on dates such as the 29th of December. It might as well be a Monday or a Sunday as far as the late night, central Wellington, music scene is concerned.

But New Year’s Eve is different again. To see out 2018 we’ll be having live music and not just any old live music. The Vanguards play horn-driven funk and soul and came up with a superb set here back in June for the Jazz Festival. They feature saxophonist Josh Simon, whom you may recognise from other fine musical combos such as Mozel Tov Cocktail and the Hashigo Zake bar staff. (No, conflicts of interest don’t concern us.) Josh will be flying back from a whistle-stop tour of the UK to be with us on New Year’s Eve. That’s how important this show is. We’re looking forward to it a lot.

Between now and New Year’s Eve we will feature, in reverse order:
  • December 22: Chocolate Thunder
  • December 15: The Rumble – this time playing as a Trio for 50% more proto-rockability.
  • December 8: The Oscar Laven Organ Trio
  • December 1: Carlos Navae – yes, this Saturday the Latin singer/guitarist and all-round funkster brings his polished act back to our lounge. Carlos has a long CV, but here’s a performance by him that’s about as far as you can get from what we expect on Saturday.

Part 2 - Movies

Meanwhile December brings no fewer than five Sundays for our Curator of Moving Images to source cult entertainment for. Here’s what he came up with:
And here are his spoiler-free-to-a-fault notes on the Director’s Cut of Dark City:
20th Anniversary of Alex Proyas' Noir/Sci-fi mindbender that Roger Ebert named the best film of 1998).

We're going to screen the Director's Cut of the film but the less said about this film the better because if you haven't seen either cut of this film then... well.. you are in quite the envious position.

Yay you!

Santa Session!

There are a few places left for Tuesday’s festive session. Get in quick at the Cult Beer Store or simply by buying a place at the bar.

On Tap Now

  • Renaissance Black Hole Fusion
  • South Cider Boysenberry Cider
  • Golden Bear Brut IPA
  • Deep Creek Double IPA
  • Deep Creek Lagerita
  • Deep Creek Lotus Pale Ale
  • Golden Bear Nelson Easy
  • Te Aro Rooster Red IPA
  • Sawmill American Brown Ale
  • Sawmill Old English Ale


Golden Weather Sport

There remains a third and deciding instalment in the titanic struggle that is the series of cricket tests between New Zealand and Pakistan taking place on the desert planet of Arrakis. New Zealand crushed Pakistan by no fewer than four runs in the first test, but Pakistan rebounded and snuck home by just a single innings in the second.

The decider starts on Monday at 7pm. Tell your spouse that you’re working late. Tell your work that if your spouse rings to say you’re in the bathroom. And come and join our vigil of prime-time evening cricket watching. We promise to maybe, possibly, stay open until stumps for anyone that is watching (and buying the odd drink).


Rock The Cash Bar VIII

Wellingtons favourite music quiz will be back for one final 2018 edition on December 10th, be sure to book a table over the bar, It might even be Christmas themed.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

November 22, 2018

How to Crash Nick Granville's Birthday

Nick Granville is one of Wellington’s most respected and in-demand musicians. He doesn’t do a lot of pub gigs, but often tells us that he likes playing in our lounge so much that he not only makes an exception by playing here, he entices high profile guests to come here and play alongside him.

This Saturday Nick and his band are our guests in the lounge. But it also happens to be Nick’s 40th birthday, meaning the odds of him bringing some particularly special guests are high. If truth be told though, Nick’s consummate guitar playing and improvisation skills should really be enticement enough.

The Nick Granville Trio play at 10pm on Saturday evening, with no cover charge.


It has taken quite a while, but the Cult Movie Basement seems to have developed true cult status, with a virtually full house - which isn’t actually that many people - taking in Tremors last Sunday.

(And on that note, we do take table bookings for these evenings. So feel free to reply to this email if you want to bring a group along on Sunday.)

This week it’s one of the best known works of a legendary director of action and western movies. Take it away Cult Film Basement curator, Krispin Dank:

If that’s not one of the greatest film titles in history then my name is Alfredo.

The last and most exceptional film of Peckinpah's truly extraordinary creative run of the late 60’s and early 70's that started with The Wild Bunch (1969) and was followed by The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970), Straw Dogs (1971), Junior Bonner (1972), The Getaway (1972) and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)

Notorious for his manic behaviour and legendary struggles with drugs and alcohol, Peckinpah’s most personal and human film was almost universally dismissed upon release. 40 years later and his story about an American piano player in a Mexican brothel is now considered the work of an artist at the very top of his powers.

The booze ended up killing Peckinpah in '84 at 59 years of age.

"At a film festival, after Pat Garrett had become the latest of his films to be emasculated by a studio, he was asked if he would ever make a 'pure Peckinpah' and he replied, 'I did Alfredo Garcia and I did it exactly the way I wanted to. Good or bad, like it or not, that was my film'"

Screening on Sunday night at 7pm in the lounge on the HASHIGOZCOPE screen,


Santa Session!

Tickets have been on sale for this year’s Santa Session since this time last week, and they are already half gone. Hurry along to the Cult Beer Store to secure your place to this year’s exercise in clearing our supplies of overstaying beer.

The Santa Session happens in its usual slot of the first Tuesday in December, which happens to be the 4th, at 6:30pm. The generous hand-pouring will continue until 9pm.

On Tap Now

Last week we promised fresh beer from Mapua’s Golden Bear. We didn’t mislead anyone BUT the beer took an inexplicable detour through Christchurch, so none of it made it onto our taps until just a couple of days ago. Right now their Brut IPA and Fortress Pale Ale are on. Nelson Easy Lager and Body Czech Pils are still to come.

We’ve found that when Te Aro’s Rooster Red IPA is on tap (or almost any good red IPA for that matter) it goes extremely quickly. Rooster just made it on, so now would be a very good time for lovers of decadent Red IPAs to take advantage.
  • Golden Bear Brut IPA
  • Kereru Feijoa Weisse
  • Kereru For Great Justice Porter
  • Golden Bear Fortress Pale Ale
  • Kereru Imperial Nibs
  • Deep Creek Pontoon in a Monsoon
  • Te Aro Razzle Dazzle Pilsner
  • Te Aro Rooster Red IPA
  • Kereru Velvet Boot
  • Yeastie Boys White Noise
Coming on tap soon, in the "crikey that ought to be interesting" category, is Black Hole Fusion - a barrel-aged milk stout from Renaissance. (Not to be confused with the Black Hole beers that we once had courtesy of Mikkeller.)
For those of you unaware we can now download our custom designed app from the WindowsGoogle Play and  App store

Golden Weather Sport

As predicted, last week’s first cricket test between New Zealand and Pakistan turned out to be gripping entertainment, enjoyed by a select few with the foresight to settle in front of a telly with a beer and an appreciation of the world’s most mesmerising spectator sport.

The second instalment of this series kicks off on Saturday evening, giving another opportunity to savour the magnificent sport and drink match that is cricket and beer.

Rock The Cash Bar VIII

Wellingtons favourite music quiz will be back for one final 2018 edition on December 10th, be sure to book a table over the bar, It might even be Christmas themed.

Christmas and New Year Trading

Our Christmas shutdown lasts one day – December 25th. We’re open again at noon on Boxing Day.

We won’t have a band on Saturday December 29. Instead we’ll have The Vanguards coming in to play on New Year’s Eve.

And we have no plans to join those outlets that charge you extra for wanting food or drink on a public holiday!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

November 15, 2018

Start of the Golden Weather

A whole nine years ago, shortly after Hashigo Zake first opened, we purchased a keg of a pale ale by a little known brewery based in Mapua, near Nelson, called Golden Bear. Everyone on our side of the bar thought it was quite tasty and the longer it remained on tap, the faster it seemed to sell.

We didn’t know much about Golden Bear except for whispers that their brew kit was about the nicest anywhere in the country.

One day a customer who spoke with what might be described as a Californian drawl, stayed in our bar for a while and asked quite a few questions about our operation, before finally letting on, as he left, that he was Jim Matranga of Golden Bear.

We went on to regularly buy Golden Bear beer and have got to know Jim better since then, although not always for the best reasons. We’ve publicly debated him over his practice of paying for exclusive rights to sell beer into several bars in the Nelson region. He seems oblivious to the connection between what he does and the practices of the brewing giants doing their best to eliminate competition.

That’s one of the reasons that it’s been quite a long time since we’ve served one of their beers.

One of our favourite beers made by Golden Bear was his Patriot Pale Ale. A few years after we first got to know that beer, Croucher in Rotorua started calling their Black IPA Patriot. No-one got litigious and there was never any danger of confusion. So no-one seemed particularly worried.

Enter DB, the local vassal brewery of Heineken. To the best of our knowledge neither DB nor any of their subsidiaries have ever made a beer called Patriot, but in September they applied for a trademark on Patriot as a beer name. And IPONZ have accepted their application, which probably means that it will go on to be registered unless someone ponies up $300 + GST to oppose it. We spoke to Jim at Golden Bear who says that he doesn’t happen to have made a beer called Patriot for a while, but he definitely expects to be able to revive the recipe and the name in future. And shortly after that, presumably, Jim will hear from DB’s lawyers.

Since the only thing that we hate more than a brewery that buys taps is a brewery that buys taps and trademarks other people’s beer names, this seems an opportune time to reacquaint ourselves with Golden Bear beer.

So over the next few days, look out for an injection of pale, hoppy beers from Mapua’s finest, including a hoppy pale ale called Fortress, a hoppy lager called Nelson Easy and their Czech Pils.

Best of all, their Brut IPA will be in our new release slot on Tuesday.

Dated Beer Scandal!

We’ve talked recently about the Norwegian brewery Kinn and the tasting that we held way back on Tuesday of last week. There were a couple of quite striking things about the Kinn range. The most obvious was their immunity to most of the current fashions in beer styles. That’s not to say they can’t or don’t make a mean IPA, just that the beers that we were tasting were generally traditional and/or malt and fermentation driven, rather than being hop-bombs.

The other was how well the beers have kept. One stand-out was their Brown Stout called Prestesonen. This is a sub-6% beer that the brewery held on to for three years before releasing. It’s now four years old and hasn’t turned into an oxidised/autolysed/solventy mess.

Several beers were officially past their best before dates. The fact that they were tasting so much better than we would expect for "dated" beer from a small, independent brewery probably reveals how modest our expectations are for the shelf life of beer from small breweries. (The reasons for saying this would take up a bit too much space right now.) It’s also a good example of the benefits of bottle conditioning.

It also betrays how unfortunate it is that supermarkets and regulatory bodies insist on arbitrary dates that aren't necessarily fair for the particular product, leading many retailers and consumers to turn their nose up at beer that may not have anything wrong with it.

Another good example was Kinn’s witbier called Jubileum. This is officially dated, but the beer can hold its own as a solid, or even very good, example of the witbier style, that we’re happy to offer to customers. But because of the date problem, the importer has sold it to us at a discount (that we’re naturally passing on).

All of this is a round-about way of announcing that we now have stock of a carefully chosen selection of the Kinn range:
  • Bærtur – a raspberry tripel – not something that we were particularly looking forward to, until it turned out to be delicious and the most popular beer in the tasting.
  • Jubileum – fine example of a Belgian wit.
  • Bresjnev - Imperial Stout
  • Prestesonen – Brown stout brewed in 2014. Big bready malt characters and in great condition.
These are available at the bar (and for takeaway) and are making their way onto the Cult Beer Store.

Santa Session!

It’s mid-November, which means that our traditional Christmas event – the Santa Session – is looming. For those who don’t know, the Santa Session is an opportunity for us to clear some inventory that we have too much of, or that has hung around too long, and at the same time give our regular customers a night drinking some random and often extravagant beer at a bargain price.

Once again we’re holding it on the first Tuesday of December, and once again we’re giving a discount to members of SOBA.

Looking at the candidate beers from our current inventory, this year’s event will probably be heavy on Barley Wines, which is fun and dangerous and also potentially very expensive for us. Consequently we’ll be limiting numbers slightly more than usual.

Tickets are available here.

On Tap Now

  • Deep Creek Aloha
  • Urbanaut Brixton Pale Ale - hand pump
  • Kereru For Great Justice Porter
  • Deep Creek Redwood APA
  • Hallertau Resurgence IPA
  • La Sirene Saison Tropique
  • Hallertau Stuntman IIPA
  • Hallertau Tangelo Witbier
  • Te Aro The Beast
  • Kereru Velvet Boot
For those of you unaware we can now download our custom designed app from the WindowsGoogle Play and  App store

Cult Film Basement


Earl Bassett: I vote for outer space. No way these are local boys.
This Kevin Bacon- and Fred Ward-starring 50s monster movie throwback from 1990 was one of those classic late night TV finds. And while it’s spawned SIX sequels (including one this year), a one season TV series and another recently aborted TV series, the original still remains the absolute best.

The excellently paired Misters Bacon and Ward star as two fed up repair/handymen who have decided to ditch their small Nevada town of Perfection for the big city lights only to be cut off at the pass by some very hungry and very large subterranean worm beasts.

Our heroes are joined by a surprisingly stacked cast of Whatshisfaces and Iknowhers including Michael Gross (Steven Keaton in Family Ties), Reba McEntire (Country Music Queen!) and Victor Wong (VICTOR WONG!! Big Trouble In Little China) all chewing through a wonderfully funny and sharp script .

But a monster film lives and dies by its monsters and Tremors has some beautifully designed and gloriously disgusting multi tongued beasties ready to drag out pour graboid fodder to their sandy doom

And then there’s the pole vaulting!

Earl Bassett: Hey, Rhonda you ever seen anything like this before?
Valentine McKee: Oh, sure Earl. Everyone knows about them we just didn't tell you.

Sunday 7pm. Free, just like the popcorn.



JB3 return to our lounge on Saturday, bringing soul and funk. They've been one of our most popular and reliable acts, having first played in our atmospheric underground music den more than four years ago.

They're made up of:
  • Jake Baxendale - sax
  • Daniel Hayles - organ
  • Shaun Anderson - drums
10pm Saturday. $0 Cover.

Golden Weather Sport

The world’s second most popular spectator sport becomes prime time viewing again tomorrow evening after being absent from our everyday lives for far too long. We’re talking of course about cricket, and, in particular, test cricket. The team formerly known as the New Zealand Cricket Team are in the Middle East, playing Pakistan, because it isn’t safe to play international cricket in Pakistan.

Don’t be fooled by what will probably be sparsely populated stands at these games. This is a contest that will generate huge interest in corners of the world that we barely know about.

Best of all though, play starts every evening for five days at the wonderfully convenient time of 7pm, New Zealand Summer Time.

We will probably throw it onto one of our screens each evening, depending which staff member appropriates the remote, although that could stretch to two if there’s enough interest. If none of our staff remember to put it on one evening, don’t be afraid to come up to the bar and ask.

Rock The Cash Bar VIII

Wellingtons favourite music quiz will be back for one final 2018 edition on December 10th, be sure to book a table over the bar, It might even be Christmas themed.