Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 31, 2017

Sculpin Daze

A couple of weeks ago we announced that our estrangement with the Ballast Point brewery is over. The reasons were outlined here. So far we’ve seen a grand total of two signs of dissent about this, but they were stated with so little conviction that it’s hard to tell if they were even meant seriously.

If anyone is unhappy that service of Ballast Point is resuming we have great news for you. When it comes to Wellington outlets not serving Ballast Point beer, you are spoiled for choice. It’s almost as if there’s a meticulously planned and spectacularly successful boycott going on.

To compensate for that quasi-boycott, we’re pushing the boat out for this tomorrow’s National Sculpin Day. Not only will we be joining around 14 other outlets around the nation serving all FIVE variants of the most celebrated IPA that’s regularly available in New Zealand, we’ll sneak some other Ballast Point beers on tap at the same time.

The centrepiece of Sculpin Day is the limited release that is Unfiltered Sculpin. Now this beer is embargoed and no-one in New Zealand has tried it yet. However if we - hypothetically - had been slipped an embargoed sample of this beer, our guess would be that the slightly reduced bitterness and increased late-hopping make this a fruitier and easier drinking take on the classic.

The full lineup that will be going on tap on Friday then, is as follows:
  • Sculpin
  • Unfiltered Sculpin
  • Grapefruit Sculpin
  • Habanero Sculpin
  • Pineapple Sculpin
And those bonus beers:
  • Longfin Lager
  • Manta Ray Imperial IPA
  • Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
But wait, there’s more.

All the Sculpins will be available in 200ml pours, so you can try all five without over-indulging. We’re also offering Victory at Sea Ice Cream Floats for $15. We’ll have Ballast Point’s own Three Sheets Silver Rum on offer for $10.

There will also be an inspired food special. But we’ll leave that a mystery until tomorrow.

But Wait, There’s Even More

Friday also happens to be the birthday of the amazing Llew of the dormant Wild & Woolly brewery. Somewhere in amongst all the Ballast Point kegs, we’ll find a way to sneak at least one of the remaining kegs of Wild & Woolly beer, so Llew can hold court all night.

The Election

During the living nightmare that was last year’s American presidential election we actually had quite a lot of fun screening those tremendous, tremendous debates and then the actual election night coverage. Could our own parliamentary election be as gripping? The answer isn’t the emphatic no that it might have been a month or so ago. We’ll test that theory tonight. There’s a debate and we’ll try screening it on at least one telly. Come in and yell at the screen.

New Release Tuesday

Next week we’ve got the recent Red IPA created by Cassels and Sons in Christchurch. In their own words… “highly complex malt grist which produces an attractive amber/red hue with an interesting dried fruit and rich malt character”.

On tap from 5pm.


We don’t have live music this week but on Saturday the 9th our old friend Darren Watson will be with us in a format that we haven’t seen from him before – a duo. His partner in blues will be bass player Steve Moodie, who happens to be the bassist for Darren Watson and the Dangerous Experts. And we’re looking forward to having that particular four piece back in November.

On Tap Now

  • Wild & Woolly Basilisk
  • North End Collective IPL
  • North End Forty South Green Hop Reserve (handpump)
  • Baird Fruitful Life IPA
  • Adroit Theory God Is An American
  • Townshend Hey Blondie Remix
  • North End Iron Sands Oatmeal Stout
  • Kereru Moonless Stout (handpump)
  • Mike's One More Pale Ale
  • North End Pilsner
  • Beer Baroness Prickly Wilson


Rock The Cash Bar II

Remember that the second installment of our music quiz (well, Hadyn's music quiz, but we're delighted to collaborate with him on this) will be on October 2. Save the date.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

July 27, 2017


News bulletin #401

July 27, 2017

Urban Pale & Jealous Plums

Tomorrow night we simultaneously launch two new beers that have quite a bit of significance.

First there’s La Sirène’s Urban Pale Ale.

There’s a school of thought that, once consumers have drunk huge volumes of cleanly fermented, highly hopped pale ale, they start to crave variations that are lighter, subtler or that incorporate other flavours. Which may help explain the phenomenon of the citrus-infused IPA. And it probably contributed to a resurgence of interest in beers with more fermentation character, such as saisons. In turn, this has created interested in hybrids that might bridge the gap between beers defined by their hop flavours and beers defined by their fermentation character, with the so-called Belgian IPA an early example.

But Belgian IPAs can taste like a violent battle between strong phenolic flavours left by the yeast and aggressive hop flavours and bitterness from hops, with the drinker’s palate left as rubble.

La Sirène Urban Pale looks for a far more harmonious relationship between hops and fermentation flavours, by bringing out flavour notes they have in common, such as citrus pith and dry, peppery spice. The brewery’s years-long investment in developing and tuning their house yeast strain has no doubt helped make this possible.

For a short time Almanac in San Francisco made a beer called Mandarina that did this beautifully, but that beer is, sadly, retired. It’s likely that others will attempt this brewing trickery in the near future, but we encourage our customers to come in and snap up the opportunity to drink Urban Pale while it’s on tap.

Meanwhile we get to join several other venues around the country launching Jealous Plums. It’s a Berliner Weisse aged on greengage plums. It’s made and sold by Hallertau, but is based on the National Homebrew Champion beer of Dunedin’s Jamie McQuillan.

Now Jamie will be releasing beer under his own Cell Division brand very soon. In fact on August 12, we’re hosting the Cult Beer Barn, in which beers of a Belgian/farmhousie nature, made by La Sirène, Craftwork and Cell Division, will be on tap simultaneously. Which means tomorrow night’s double launch is a kind of a preview (but with different individual beers).


Speaking of Farmhouse styles of beer and Craftwork themselves… we just received a fresh order from Oamaru’s finest brewers of Belgian styles of beer. It means that the supply in our fridge of their bottled beers has been topped up, while we also have two kegs tucked away for Cult Beer Barn on Aug 12. Those fresh supplies of bottles include four that we’ve had before:
  • Red Bonnet
  • Saison Poire
  • Saison Zest
  • Saison Anise
And two that are new to us:
  • Angel – judging by the lengthy description on the bottle, this beer is inspired by Orval - the original brett-condition, Trappist legend. 
  • Riverstone 10 – a saison brewed to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Riverstone Kitchen, the celebrated restaurant on State Highway 1, north of Oamaru. It won a silver medal at this year’s Australian International Beer Awards. (The beer won a medal, not the restaurant.)

New Release Tuesday - Smoke and Arson Edition

On Tuesday we celebrate the arrival of Graphic Brewing's third beer, which curiously coincides with the first anniversary of the time someone tried to burn us down.

Oh how we laughed.

But seriously, My City Is On Fire is a smoked porter, that we get to release on Tuesday before it makes its way around the country in cans and kegs.

We also invite any customers who might be inclined to take it personally that an arsonist tried to burn down a bar that you frequent, to come down and figuratively wave two fingers in their direction by enjoying a glass of My City Is On Fire.

Bottle Pour Saturday

All the new (to New Zealand) products that have arrived from La Sirène give us a chance to dedicate a bottle pour to them. In fact there's every chance that we'll hold more such bottle pours of different La Sirène releases in the weeks to come.

This week we'll be offering small servings by the glass and from the bottle of Cidre and Bière de Provision.

Cidre is La Sirène's first cider and they went to extraordinary lengths to create an authentic French style. Cidre uses a French variety of cider apples grown in North Bendigo. The apples were pressed and exposed to the air at the orchard, to try and capture some local microflora, before being fermented, bottled and aged at the brewery. The final gravity of this is under 1000, yet its fruit flavours more than cancel any perception of dryness.

Here's how they drink it at the brewery. Maybe we'll settle for flutes.

Bière de Provision is a super dry and tart pale ale, fermented with wild yeast and coming out at just 3.9% ABV, making it ideal as a Saturday afternoon post-gardening tonic.

On Tap Now

  • Te Aro Dragon APA
  • Garage Project Garagista IPA
  • Omnipollo Karluminium
  • Beer Baroness Lady Danger Red Ale (Handpump)
  • Hey Day Moongold (Handpump)
  • Omnipollo Nebuchadnezzar IIPA
  • Te Aro Oatmeal Stout
  • Baylands Party Pils
  • Leipzig Ritterguts Gose
  • Wild & Woolly Sooty Albatross
  • Mike's Vanilla Coffee Porter


Still on tap are the two pretty amazing beers from Sweden’s Omnipollo that we tapped on Friday, as well as Ritterguts Gose, which (apart from a 40-odd year hiatus) has been made since 1824, making it pretty much the most authentic gose any of us will ever taste.

Look Out For

As well as getting Hallertau to send us Jealous Plums, we picked up a keg of their IPA called I Like Your Speakers. This beer celebrates the sound system at Lovebucket Bar in Karangahape Road in Auckland. Hallertau are the majority owners of Lovebucket, which is a must-visit for some of us when in Auckland.


There's no live music this Saturday, but then we make up forthat with three in two weeks:
On Aug 5 it’s Jellyroll Blues and The Pussycat Dues

Then during the week of Beervana we have live music on both the 11th (the Cosmonauts) and 12th (Nick Granville Funk Trio) of August.

You can subscribe to receive this news in your inbox every week here.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20, 2017


News bulletin #400

Event Overload

We’re celebrating the 400th issue of this email by bombarding our readers with a hailstorm of event news. Buckle in!

Fredags mys med omnipollo - Friday with Omnipollo

Tomorrow – July 21!
Our friends at Regional Wines, Beers and Spirits recently acquired a load of beer from the Swedish Nomadic Brewery Omnipollo and we couldn't help but scoop up a few kegs and bottles.

This Friday we are tapping both Nebuchadnezzar and Karluminium plus adding Amun, Nebuchadnezzar and Zodiak to our fridges. Plus our in-house Swede is making Swedish meatballs for the occasion.

Beer descriptions from the brewers:
Nebuchadnezzar IIPA (8.5%) “Neb” is a home brew recipe that has been scaled up with no consideration to economies of scale. Some say idiotic, and as an economist I would have to agree. Get fresh or die trying.

Karluminium Sour Wheat Ale w/ Raspberries and Cherries (6%)
"Karl is a magical human. Karl deserves a beer for his birthday. Here it is – a cherry wheat sour."

Amun Oat milk DIPA Collab w/The Veil (8%)
"Working closely with Virginia’s rising beer star, The Veil, we conceived and brewed this soft yet bright Imperial IPA. Mashed in with several grains and topped of with 100 liters of oat milk and an abundance of hops."

Zodiak IPA (6.2%)
"Our house IPA. A blend of grains, untouched post fermentation and aspiringly hopped with Simcoe, Citra and Centennial."

July 24 New Release Tuesday

A few weeks ago in edition #398 of this email we talked about the arrival in New Zealand of actual gose from an actual Leipzig brewer of gose called Rittergutsbrauerei. We also managed to source a keg of that very beer and are going to pop it on tap next Tuesday as our New Release.

Of course, calling a beer that’s hundreds of years old a new release is a bit of a stretch. But we’re giving ourselves a little licence given the plethora of new beers appearing almost daily.

July 28 Double Bill

On July 28 we’re joining in not one, but two, coordinated, nationwide releases of pretty interesting new beers.

First there’s Jealous Plums. There’s plenty to say about this beer. It’s the traditional commercial rebrew of the most recent champion beer at SOBA’s National Homebrew Champs. Once again it’s Hallertau Brewery that hosts this great tradition. The champion home brewer this time is Dunedin’s Jamie McQuillan. Jamie has a pretty interesting background and we recommend having a look at the profile of him that wrote a few months ago.

Jealous Plums is a Berliner Weisse aged on greengage plums from Central Otago.

The timing of this release is fortuitous as Jamie is in the process of going commercial in his own right, albeit on a small scale. Read on to learn more about Cell Division, which might just be the best brewery name we’ve heard in years.

Simultaneously on July 28, we're joining in the nationwide launch of the beer that is comfortably La Sirene's biggest commercial success over in Australia - Urban Pale. This hoppy, citrusy reinterpretation of a saison has been winning friends in Australia since it was launched late last year.


August 1 Smoke Bomb

As mentioned last week, we’ve stumbled across what might be the most bittersweet coincidence of beer release and anniversary ever. Graphic Brewing have a new smoked porter called My City Is On Fire and we’re celebrating the first anniversary of the night we added arson to the list of near disasters we’ve had to live through.

So on August 1, we’re delighted to put My City Is On Fire into our New Release Tuesday slot.

Road to Beervana

The Road to Beervana programme is live and our contribution to the official catalogue of events is in there – namely The Blind Leading The Hype. It’s a little innovation we thought up that involves turning off the flow of product information that we usually work hard to maintain. We’ll put a bunch of probably great IPAs on tap but say as little as possible about them and leave it to the voting consumers to decide which deserve to have a fuss made about them. All of which will lead to a big reveal on August the 9th.

Missing from the official programme are the events that could only be put together more recently, such as Cult Beer Barn. This will be a one night celebration of beers and breweries that nail their colours to the Farmhouse mast. We’ll dedicate most of our taps to beers from Jamie McQuillan’s Cell Division, Craftwork and La Sirène.

On Tap Now

  • Beer Baroness Bearded Lady
  • Beer Baroness Betty BamBaLam BIPA
  • Deep Creek Black Tamarillo Gose
  • Craftwork Crikey Dick
  • North End Fieldway APA
  • Beer Baroness First Lady APA (Handpump)
  • Fitzpatricks Imperial Porter
  • Townshend Lioness Pilsner
  • Adroit Theory Love of the Damned
  • Beer Baroness Rye-ot Grrl IPA (Handpump)
  • Baird Suruga Bay IIPA


The last two weeks' new releases are somehow both still available. One is the distinctly Brettanomyces influenced pale ale from Craftwork called Crikey Dick. And the other is Deep Creek's highly quaffable Tamarillo gose.

For many of us the flagship beer from Tauranga's Fitzpatrick's is the Imperial Porter. It was inspired by the celebrated Gonzo Imperial Porter by Flying Dog that we know Craig Fitzpatrick got to try back in 2009. It's rare and comes in a small keg so we recommend taking advantage promptly.


The Vincent Vega Trio return at 9:30pm this Saturday with their brand of surf rock and brandalised artwork.

Two weeks later (Aug 5) it’s Jellyroll Blues and The Pussycat Dues

Then we break out of the pattern of fortnightly gigs for Beervana week, by hosting live music on both the 11th (the Cosmonauts) and 12th (Nick Granville Funk Trio) of August. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 13, 2017


Beervana just announced their brewery lineup for this year and there’s less than a month until New Zealand’s highest profile beer festival. It was around the time of Beervana, way back in 2009, that we started trading here at Hashigo Zake. So every Beervana is a kind of anniversary for us.

From this year it’s also the anniversary of something slightly less joyous – the time someone tried to burn us down, on August the 5th, the Friday before Beervana 2016.

It seems that we’ll never know whether the culprit was attempting a little petty vandalism with the paper towel dispenser in the gents or actually wanted to burn the building down and kill all our customers and staff. And perhaps if the arsonist was under the legal purchase age for alcohol then the case would have been quickly solved and we’d know the truth.

But hey, no-one was injured, we got to know how a gender-neutral bathroom works and most of the gents bathroom repairs were funded by insurance, so… no harm, no foul??

And now by glorious coincidence our friends at Graphic Brewing have a new beer to launch. And it’s called… My City Is On Fire. It’s a smoked porter. So on August the 1st we’re launching My City Is On Fire and simultaneously waving extended digits at our unindicted arsonist.

New Release Tuesday, Cook Strait Crossing Permitting

Once again Oamaru’s Craftwork have given (well, sold) us the rare gift of kegged beer.

Crikey Dick is described as a “bretty, hoppy pale ale” and a small keg of it is on its way. In theory it will make it in plenty of time to be next week’s New Release Tuesday. But the odds of it making it here by Tuesday are diminishing by the hour thanks to those fresh breezes we’re enjoying right now.

Is this a good time to remind everyone that there's no weather underground?

On Tap Now

  • Wheaty Brewing Corps/Hawkers Baklava Brown Ale
  • Deep Creek Black Tamarillo Gose
  • Kowloon Bay / Black Kite / Hong Kong Beer Co. CBAHK Wei(zen) The Dragon
  • Willie Smiths Cerasus Sour
  • Fitzpatrick's Fitzy's Special
  • North End Iron Sands Stout (Handpump)
  • Townshend Lioness Pilsner
  • Baird Rising Sun Pale Ale
  • Beer Baroness Rye-ot Grrrl Rye IPA
  • Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
  • Townshend Sutton Hoo (Handpump)


A few goodies remain from last Friday’s Smash ‘n’ GABS, when we featured a very carefully selected set of GABS leftovers. Amazingly there’s even some of the mouth-tingling, szechuan-infused Wei(zen) The Dragon left.

This week’s new release – Deep Creek’s Black Tamarillo Gose is still there as well.

Bottle Pour Saturday

This Saturday we’re doing a bottle pour made up of two recent, local barrel-aged releases. The first is Garage Project’s Rebel County, their collaboration with the Jameson distillery. GP made a beer inspired by Jameson’s whiskey, with Irish malt, maize, honey, hazelnuts, vanilla and dried apricots (although, curiously, no coconut), then aged it in Jameson whiskey barrels. The result is Rebel County.

Alongside that will be Kereru’s Night Spirit. This is an Imperial Stout aged in New Zealand Whiskey Co barrels.

Bottles of both of these beers constitute substantial investments for the adventurous drinker, but on Saturday we’re offering a taste of each for a very reasonable price.


The Saturday after next sees the Vincent Vega Trio return with their distinctive surf rock (or perhaps that's surf RnB).

Next month we'll again have an extra live gig to help entertain patrons on both evenings of Beervana (August 11 and 12). We'll host the Cosmonauts on the Thursday and the Nick Granville Funk Trio on the Saturday.

Our events calendar can be viewed any time here.


It's a while since we bashed New Zealand's industrial brewers in this newsletter, but an opportunity has appeared that's too good to turn down.

One of DB's sibling subsidiaries of Heineken just got slapped with a nice big fine for doing what DB (and Lion) do here better than anyone - behaving anti-competitively. Sadly this ruling was on the other side of the world.

Those of a like mind to us can savour the news here.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

July 6, 2017

Smashed 'em Bro

As reported right here, seven days ago, we have committed whatever deeds were necessary and have secured a selection of the very best of this year’s GABS festival. Which means that tomorrow we host the second Smash ‘n’ GABS.

Here’s the lowdown on what will be on tap:

Craft Beer Association of Hong Kong Brewers Guild
We’ve had Singaporean and Japanese beer plenty of times before, but this is almost certainly our first Hong Kong beer. This refreshing citrus spiced Weizen starts with subtle sweetness from dried dates, and finishes with a warm and tingly feeling, provided by Sichuan peppercorns.

Colonial Brewing Co Margaret River
Allow us to submit Western Australia’s entry in this year’s Gose pun contest. “A lightly soured Gose with rye malt, Margaret River seawater and a dosing of West Winds Broadside gin. Finished with a few US hops, if Gin Sling was a beer, it'd be this.”

Feral Brewing Company

Choc, vanilla, coffee, lactose.

Hawkers Beer / @Wheaty Brewing Corps

Hawkers Beer is a Melbourne brewery founded by Lebanese combat brewer Mazen Hajjar, who also happens to be one of Australia’s fiercest critics of the anticompetitive practices of the industrial brewers. For that reason alone, we’re fans.

Wheaty Brewing Corps is the brewing offshoot of Adelaide’s trailblazing Wheatsheaf Hotel.

The idea of these two outfits collaborating on a beer is utterly compelling from the start. But the beer is pretty attractive in its own right. It’s a “Big Brown Ale with Honey, Pistachio, Rosewater, Orange Blossom Water and Spices.”

Nail Brewing Australia

Perth’s Nail Brewing are masters of dark and black beer but this is an over-the-top IPA. “Born of the planet Hoptom, this is a Super VPA sent to planet earth to make the world a better place. The powers of hops will give strength to all those who imbibe.”

Willie Smith's Organic Cider

Our spies at GABS insist that this cider is in fact uncannily like Rodenbach Ale. “A barrel aged sour cherry wine, paying homage to farmhouse fruit beers of Belgium. Wild fermentation of black Lapin cherry, barrel conditioning in ex-Lark Distillery casks and a heady mix of bacteria and yeast.”

Smash ‘n’ GABS starts tomorrow at midday and continues while stocks last. We’ll be offering a six-beer (well, five beer and one cider) ticket.

Gose The Extra Mile

The style known as Gose has made a storming comeback over the last few years, not unlike the way the Belgian Witbier style came back from oblivion a couple of decades earlier.

Some part of this can be explained by brewers’ desire to come up with beers with puns for names. But at least a little can be credited to the merits of this salty, tart and slightly funky take on a wheat beer.

For many of us though, all we’ve got to try are versions of the style made by brewers in countries such as our own. This is simply because there are so few examples of the style that can honestly show some kind of lineage back to the traditional goses from Liepzig. The style was all but lost, after all.

But now a limited supply of beer from Liepzig’s Rittergutsbrauerei , the oldest brewer of Gose there is,has made it to New Zealand. Some of us were allowed a sample and can vouch for its merits. It was also a pleasant surprise to learn that those “new world” interpretations we’ve been trying over the last few years are pretty close to the mark.

But don’t take our word for it. Come on in and grab a bottle of Ritterguts Gose. Or hold out for the day (in the near future) when we sneak it on tap.

On Tap Now

  • Townshend BlitzGreig IPA (Handpump)
  • Fitzpatrick's Citra IPA
  • Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale
  • Gigantic Hearts & Stars Saison
  • Adroit Theory Love of the Damned
  • Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils
  • Modern Times Mega Fortunate Islands
  • Graphic Origin Story Citrus APA
  • Garage Project Snug (Nitro)
  • Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
  • Townshend American Amber Ale


Our General Manager Rory went to extreme lengths to get our temporary nitro taps pouring Garage Project Snug in time for the Lions game last weekend, so we encourage customers to take advantage of the fruits of that experiment.
And speaking of amazing stouts, don't miss out on a rare keg of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy.

New Release Gose

In keeping with the unintended theme of this broadcast, we can announce that next Tuesday's New Release will be a gose! Brewery of the moment, Deep Creek, have been putting out a series of fruited goses lately, under the Steam Funk name, and they've been goooood.
Coming up next is Black Tamarillo Gose - on tap from 5pm on Tuesday.


This Saturday we welcome Black Spider Stomp back to the lounge, so they can transport us once again to Paris in the mid-20th century and unchain the memory of Django Reinhardt.

If in doubt, have a little listen at bandcamp.

All with no cover charge, naturellement.

Then on the 22nd it will be the turn of the Vincent Vega Trio.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017

Downtown Aley

It’s official. According to the Dominion Post we’re having a “meaty street party” in our “garden bar” on Saturday. We’re not sure how these descriptors came to be used to describe our first ever extension into the daylight, but if the cap fits…

And speaking of official, our actual licence to serve drinks above ground on Saturday has come through.

Plans are humming along then and we’re looking forward to bringing the legendary Hashigo Zake portable bar out of mothballs and setting up alongside Salt and Wood’s food offerings, up in our enchanted archway throughout Saturday.

We have a useful piece of info for anyone reading this who is attending the test on Saturday. The stadium shuttle buses bringing patrons back from the stadium will be terminating right across the road from us.

Or… don’t even go to the game, and instead stay and spectate from the comfort of our improvised and mostly weather-proof bar, complete with a two metre-wide screen and a high definition image being projected onto it.

But the improvising doesn’t end there. We’ve had Garage Project deliver a couple of kegs of their nitrogenated stout called Snug, and on Saturday we’ll be pouring that through taps using nitrogen.

Also on tap will be a suitably English offering from Wild Beer Co, in the form of their Smoke 'n Barrels Summer - a smoked orange gose. And on the pilsner tap, both upstairs and downstairs, will be the Townshend brewery's homage to the touring team - Lioness.

Meanwhile our friends at Craft Beer College are staging a couple of Beer Bar and Brewery Walking Tours to coincide with the arrival of supporters of the team whose name can’t be uttered without checking MEMA. One of those just got underway with a stop right here, and there’s another tomorrow afternoon. If you know any visitors (or permanent residents for that matter) who would get a kick out of being guided through several of Wellington’s bars and breweries tomorrow, then we recommend giving them this link.

Here once again is Saturday's food menu, courtesy of our friends at Salt & Wood Collective:
12hr smoked shredded beef, bbq and smoked cheese sauce, served on tortilla chips

jalapenos, smoked beans, smoked cheese sauce served on tortilla chips

pork bratwurst braised in north end beer finished on the smoker served with mustard slaw on a soft bun.

4th of July

We pride ourselves on being a broad church with a diverse congregation, so almost as soon as we see off our guests from the UK and Ireland, we’ll be celebrating the country of origin of many of our favourite beers and bar staff – the United States.

[Let it be stated for the record that any celebration of the United States and the things about it that we like should not in any way be considered an endorsement of that country’s sort-of elected president and what pass for his policies.]

This year’s 4th of July beer list is looking as good as ever, including the last kegs of a few lines that we’ve hung on to, plus a couple of one-off beers brewed by our own staff especially for the occasion.

One of those beers is a clone of Ballast Point Grunion, that we’re calling Funion. The other is a clone of Deschutes Freshly Squeezed IPA that is tentatively called Uncle Sam’s Freedom Nectar, but we think we might be able to improve on that.

The kitchen will be serving Nachos and Freedom Dogs.  And there'll probably be decorations. Certain of us are secretly hoping that our stash of US-themed decorations went up in the fire last year, but the balance of probabilities is that our décor will be compromised by the presence of a little too much red, white and blue.

On Tap Now

  • Wild and Woolly Beast of Burden
  • Townshend BlitzGreig IPA (Handpump)
  • Fitzpatricks Fitzpatricks Pale Ale
  • Baird Fruitful IPA
  • Oskar Blues G'knight Imperial RIPA
  • Tiamana Meister
  • Deep Creek Pontoon in a Monsoon
  • Sawmill/Galbraiths Special Bitter
  • Townshend Sutton Hoo (Handpump)
  • Deep Creek Undercurrent Pilsner
  • Mata Wai-iti Waka Pale Ale

Announcing... Smash 'n GABS 2

Once again we've been done what needed to and have procured a selection of some of the biggest hits of this year's GABS festival and we'll be putting a bunch of them on tap at the same time. The date... July 7, a week tomorrow.

The list will include what is probably our first ever beer from Hong Kong, plus a sensational and very sour cider.

We'll give full details seven days from now. 


Live music returns on Saturday week, the 8th, in the form of Black Spider Stomp, bringing a welcome dose of gypsy jazz.

Then on the 22nd it will be the turn of the Vincent Vega Trio.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017


Tomorrow night we get to be the first Wellington bar to serve the beer of West Auckland newbies Colab. We’re expecting a delegation from the brewery featuring some, or maybe even all, of their three founders.

To honour Colab’s German connection we’ll be augmenting our menu with a German dish or two. And not just any old off-the-shelf pretzels either – Oma Erna's Mautaschen Dumplings, prepared by our own staff using a recipe provided by an actual German citizen that one of our staff is related to, by marriage.

As for the Colab beers, we’ll be serving the following:
  • Garden Ale, 4%. “A refreshing collaboration of German Malt along with a smooth lashing of German and New Zealand Hops create this uniquely sessionable Colab Garden Ale.”
  • The Commissioner, Red IPA, 6.2%. “A new world collaboration of German malt and US aroma hops give a rich, red, malt driven West Coast Styled Red IPA.”
  • APA, 5.5%. “A balanced combination of German Malt and American aroma hops delivering a well-rounded West Coast styled Ale.”
  • Seasonal beer - Night Caller Schwarbier 4.7%.
Please note that the brewery are between batches of their Pilsner, which is a pity because it’s a fascinating alternative to the New Zealand pilsners that we generally pour. We’ll have to get that on tap in the near future.

We’ll also be offering a four-trip ticket to let you try the range.

New Release Tuesday

Next week’s New Release is a fitting beer to launch on the day that the Hurricanes take on the Lions. It’s an ESB, described as a NZ/UK fusion ale. “British Base malts from Thomas Fawcett maltings and Kiwi Specialty malts from Gladfield. British hops in the kettle with a light NZ Chinook dry-hop. Chewy and robust with mouth-filling goodness, the best of both Island nations.”

It also happens to be a collaboration between Auckland breweries Sawmill and Galbraiths.

Entertainment of the Sporting Kind

Next week brings the event that the Wellington hospitality industry has been dreaming of for eleven years and eleven months – the arrival of around 20,000 Irish and British Lions supporters. (More about that immediately below.)

For anyone who cares about the fortunes of the All Blacks but also believes in civil discourse between the adults of different countries, it’s going to mean a week of biting tongues and reining in tempers in the face of goading from selectively informed experts who nevertheless will be manuhiri. Which means that watching the first test on Saturday on the telly might be our last chance for a fortnight to say what we think while watching a Lions match.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that we will, naturally, show the first test from Auckland on our TVs on Saturday night. We can then all visualise half of that match’s spectators heading for the airport or their campervans and migrating to Wellington.

While the match is on, we’ll be offering our now-traditional “stadium pie” special – a piping hot mince pie in a paper bag for just $5.

Downtown Aley

With apologies to those who reject the idea of rugby being the source of national identity and personal self-worth, it’s time to bang on again about what we’re up to next week, particularly on July 1.

We’ve been working things out with our guest caterers for July 1 and Salt & Wood have come up with the following menu:
12hr smoked shredded beef, bbq and smoked cheese sauce, served on tortilla chips

jalapenos, smoked beans, smoked cheese sauce served on tortilla chips

pork bratwurst braised in north end beer finished on the smoker served with mustard slaw on a soft bun.

We’ll be open on the 1st by our usual time of midday, but if all goes to plan we’ll be welcoming customers earlier than that – probably 11am. Please bear with us if the complexities of turning our entranceway and footpath into a welcoming hospitality space take longer than we hope.

On Tap Now

  • Beer Baroness First Lady APA
  • Beg Borrow & Brew Good in the Hood (Handpump)
  • Gigantic Hearts & Stars Saison
  • Tiamana Meister
  • Kereru Moonless Stout (Handpump)
  • Te Aro Oatmeal Stout
  • Townshend Pouri Lane Pils
  • Hallertau Stuntman IIPA
  • Baird Suruga Bay IIPA
  • North End Visitation Belgian Quad

July 4

While Rugby’s big day is July 1, the United States’ big day is just a few days later. We’ll be following our custom and turning taps over to a special lineup of US beers, with a couple of notable exceptions – homages to two iconic American beers brewed specially for the occasion by the US citizens on our staff.


Chocolate Thunder return with their funk/jazz/soul blend to play in our lounge on Saturday night, starting at 9:30.

Still no cover charge. What is wrong with us?