Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 19, 2010

Immediately below...

It's our bumper pre-BrewNZ edition. We sincerely hope you find time to take in everything below, because there really is a ridiculous amount going on over the next nine days.

  • Foreword
  • Next Week's Events
  • Beervana
  • T Shirts
  • Other BrewNZ Week Treats
  • But Wait There's More
  • And Finally...


In the ensuing paragraphs, you will find many examples of self-promotion and show-boating as we try to draw attention to the special events and drinks that we have over the next week or two. But it's important to remember that BrewNZ and Beervana represent the best opportunity of the year to catch up with regular customers, suppliers and foreign guests and to celebrate the magnificent benefits we get from having high quality and steadily improving beer at our disposal. If a little of this celebrating takes place on Hashigo Zake's premises then all the better.

So we sincerely encourage readers to enter into the spirit of the event and look for opportunities to socialise and participate. We'll even try and take this advice ourselves.

And when the dust settles, remember our boast that Hashigo Zake runs what is essentially a never-ending beer festival.

Next Week's Events

Next week is without doubt the biggest of the year for the New Zealand craft brewing industry. And not just because of the two days of unashamed beer geekery that make up Beervana. All next week there will be a true festival's worth of events, not least of which are the judging and presentation of the BrewNZ Beer Awards.

We are playing our part in making BrewNZ a city-wide, week-long festival by squeezing in a succession of events next week, in addition to turning up at Beervana with the planet's most outrageously festive beers.

It starts on Monday when the Winston Reid of New Zealand Brewing, Søren Erikson, will take a break from judging the beer awards and will be on the premises from 5pm to 7pm. We'll see if we can bring ourselves to give away some samples of Hopwired (in case there's anyone left that hasn't tried it). In fact Søren has said that he'll make available a one-off keg of Hopwired that has been dry-hopped in the keg. We are also hoping that the same delivery will bring brand new batches of Rewired Brown Ale and Big Smoke Smoked Porter.

The next day it's the turn of Søren's bosses at his day job - Renaissance. The latest batch of Marlborough Pale Ale is being released at 5pm and it has already raised a few eyebrows among the lucky few who have tried it. It is moving further from a typical American style Imperial IPA to something darker, maltier and not so far from a Barley Wine. But it's still extremely hoppy and bitter. There will be samples available and Brian Thiel and, we hope, others from the brewery will be on hand to accept bouquets or even brickbats.

Then on Wednesday we're welcoming Ron Trigg of Mike's Brewery to answer any questions you've been saving up regarding our Passport Beer - Mike's Organic Imperial IPA. Not only that, he has promised to bring samples of this year's release of their Whisky Porter. Ron will be in the house from 4:30pm until 6pm.

We're still hoping to line up another big name from the New Zealand craft brewing industry to take the limelight on Thursday evening.


For Beervana itself, we're killing the fatted calf, selling the family silver and slaughtering the goose that lays the golden egg. Onto the taps of our much loved portable bar will be going the jewels in the crown that is our beer cellar. In no particular, guaranteed order:

  • Meantime IPA
  • Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barley Wine
  • Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
  • Rogue XS Imperial Stout
  • Jamieson’s The Beast IPA
  • Liberty Brewing Summit Imperial IPA

T Shirts

People have been asking us for ages when we'd get around to printing some more Hashigo Zake T-shirts. The day has finally come. What's more, we have agreed to be an outlet for Beervana T Shirts. So right now, today even, you can come on down and smarten up your wardrobe enormously while showing your support for the consumption of quality beer.

Here is the full, new season catalogue:

Beervana T-shirts in a variety of colours, sizes and styles.$25
Hashigo Zake T-shirts in basic black or charcoal and in a variety of sizes.$35
Hashigo Zake polo shirts in black and a variety of sizes.$40
Baird Brewery T-shirts - a few left in a variety of sizes and styles, made from wagyu cotton and imported from Japan at enormous expense.$65

Other BrewNZ Week Treats

If the above snippets of news aren't enough to get you salivating, then the news isn't over.

Sprig and Fern's Harvest Pilsner was the hit of this year's Marchfest and was a roaring success when we snaffled some shortly afterwards. The brewery held back a small amount to enter in the Beer Awards and what was then leftover has been shipped to us. The first keg will come on stream over the next couple of days.

And because the rest of the Sprig and Fern's range is too good to ignore, look out for their Dopplebock, Pale Ale and new IPA. The Three Berry Cider is possibly the brewery's most famous beverage. Last time we put it on it proved a handful to pour on our system and caused a lot of angst and one or two breakdowns behind the bar. But the fact is, it's too popular for us not to give it another try.

Auckland's celebrated Hallertau brewpub have forwarded another pallet of their marvellous beer. This time we have a mix of their Luxe Kolsch, Statesman Pale Ale and Copper Tart Red Ale. And because Hallertau is where the amazing Liberty Summ!t Imperial IPA was brewed, we picked up an extra couple of kegs. (See our list of Beervana beers, above.)

Now we've been teasing regular readers with hints about our Australian (specifically Victorian) shipments for weeks. Well they've finally arrived. Bridge Road's beers have been turning up in New Zealand off and on since, well, last year's Beervana. We've got them to send over their unique Chestnut Pilsner, Beechworth Pale Ale and no fewer than three kegs of the great Bling IPA. We've also been tipped off that Bridge Rd will be at the Brewer's Guild stall at Beervana.

And last but not least comes... The Beast. This is a big, American style IPA made by Jamieson's Brewery, also in Victoria. It's an extraordinary beer and we've acquired more kegs of it than you can shake a stick at. Look out for it on tap in the bar and at the portable cult beer bar at Beervana.

But Wait There's More

Could we have any more surprises up our sleeves? Not after you read the following:

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø is one of the craft beer world's most famous brewers, but he doesn't own a brewery and hasn't quit his job as a school teacher. So he's the last person who should be shipping draught beer around the world. But he does, albeit in small and extremely expensive quantities. We have precisely one 30L keg of his Mikkeller Y Pale Ale. And in honour of our equal-favourite Danish brewer Søren Erikson we'll tap this on Monday night. Which means SOBA members can take advantage of their discount to get this beer at an almost normal price!

And Finally...

An unexpected piece of news dropped into our inbox this morning. Beer and Brewer Magazine, which we subscribe to and leave lying around at Hashigo Zake, have announced the opening of voting in their awards to find the best beer venues in Australasia. There are a number of categories, including "Best Beer Venue - Small Bar/Pub (under 150 patrons)". (Yes there really are fewer than 150 people in on Friday evenings.)

Now we don't want to exert any pressure on you, our subscribers, to take any kind of a stand here. It's a conscience vote. But here, for your edification, is a link:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 12, 2010

Immediately below...
  • Beervana Passport
  • Beer and Chefs
  • MPA Launch
  • New and Returning Beers

Beervana Passport

We are now up, running and thoroughly participating in the Beervana Passport promotion. This is where you are invited to roam around Wellington's bars and collect evidence of your travels to earn the right to go into a draw for a trip to Melbourne.

Each participating bar is showcasing one beer, which is the one you need to buy to earn the passport stamp. In our case this is Mike's Organic Imperial IPA - surely the biggest, hoppiest, richest organic beer ever made in New Zealand (and possibly anywhere, for that matter). This beer is usually in short supply but as part of the Beervana Passport promotion the brewery is obliged to keep us stocked.

To join in you need a copy of the passport booklet itself, which we can supply.

Beer and Chefs

Another event organised under the Beervana umbrella is Beer and Chefs. Restaurants and bars are invited to offer a special meal, where the food is matched to a particular beer. Since we keep getting compliments on our pies this seemed like something we should be involved in. At the same time we're not going to make things too hard for ourselves, so we've paired our own favourite, the Venison Vindaloo Pie, with the same Mike's Imperial IPA that we are serving as part of the Beervana Passport. We actually think the match is superb, even if a little less chef school theory went into it than most of the other competitors.

MPA Launch

MPA is the Imperial IPA from Renaissance Brewery. It has been a consistent favourite since we opened last year and the latest batch of it will be launched here, at Hashigo Zake, at 5pm on August 24. The brewers themselves will be here to hold the hands of anyone daunted by an 8.5% IIPA, and explain what needs to be explained. And there will be plenty of complimentary servings to win everyone over.

Even better for some of you - this coincides with the Beervana Volunteers briefing. You'll never feel so appreciated.

New and Returning Beers

It's a week for experimentation. We are giving two smaller breweries a turn on our taps for the first time. Masterton's Peak Brewery specialise in English style beers and have produced Monkey Point IPA, which is on one of our hand pumps right now.

And Christchurch's Wigram Brewery have sent us a keg of their Kortegast Spakling Ale. It uses hops that were found growing wild on the South Island's West Coast. This will come on tap some time over the next few days.

Renaissance Brewery (see MPA, above) have ventured into new territory for them, by making a beer specifically intended for a hand pump. It's Voyager IPA, and it must be arriving here soon because the brewery have been telling people we have it. And on the same shipment from Blenheim will be our last installment of their much loved Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.

Note that a number of breweries that supply us, especially those whose products we are serving for the first time, get in touch now and then to ask for feedback. If you've got strong feelings or constructive criticism of the beers we serve, feel free to pass them on.

A couple of old favourites are returning this week. Mata Brown Boy is back, and Jaysen insists that every time they make this they double the volume of hops going in. There's only one way to tell what effect it's having.

And another Canterbury brewery is back - Brew Moon's Hop Head IPA will be on tap this weekend.

And just when you thought it was safe to go back to the bar... Yeastie Boys have a new release. It's Her Majesty - a strong Belgian dark ale. Or to use the name on the press release, it's "Her Majesty 2010". Available now by the bottle.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 5, 2010

Immediately below...
  • Imperial Stouts and Porters
  • Fresh This Week
  • In the Pipeline
  • Beervana
  • Twitter
  • Imperial Stouts and Porters

    Perhaps our most eagerly awaited tasting ever takes place at 6:30pm on Tuesday. This has been fully booked for a while (which is why we haven't been promoting it), but if anyone would like to go on the waiting list or cancel their booking, please get in touch by replying to this email.

    Fresh on Tap

    This week looks like being one of those rare ones when every beer that appears on our taps has appeared before. But that's not to say the offerings are at all lacking:

    • Look out for Batch #3, Keg #2 of Hopwired.
    • Wedding FSA, the beer brewed to celebrate the wedding of Yeastie Boy Stu McKinley, will be back on a handpump.
    • Speaking of the Yeastie Boys, we have hand pumped versions of both Yakima Monster and Motueka Monster.
    • Twisted Hop IPA is on right now.
    • Renaissance's Craftsman - their chocolate infused stout - is on right now.
    • The second batch of Tuatara's fabulous new American Pale Ale is out and we'll be putting it on between now and the weekend. And in case anyone was getting bored with the wheat beers we've been putting on lately, we've called in a keg of Tuatara'a Hefe.
    • In The Pipeline

      Our most recent consignment of kegged beer from Oregon's Rogue Brewery has nearly been consumed. There are a few choice examples still to be tapped (see below under Beervana), but Rogue's place will soon be taken by other extraordinary beers from other corners of the world.

      We've already gone through the first of several kegs of Meantime's IPA, and those willing to pay a little extra for a beer from the Greenwich Meridian weren't disappointed. There's more to come and we also passed one keg on to a certain bar in our vicinity, although we aren't sure if the proprietor is going to share that or just keep it for personal use.

      We are in possession of a single keg of Mikkeller's Y Pale Ale - surely the first keg of Danish craft beer to make it to New Zealand (unless you count the work of Søren at 8 Wired).

      Soon we'll have some long awaited examples of the state of the art of brewing in Victoria, Australia. These could be with us as soon as next week. Look out for an IPA that we ordered a pallet of on the basis of one exceptional sample. There will also be the welcome return of a couple of last year's favourites from the highly regarded Bridge Road Brewery.

      Some time this month we'll take delivery of a number of beers from three Quebec breweries. That's right, Quebec, Canada. We've been looking for the chance to get our hands on these products for a long time and we've been able to get supplies from the Australian importer.

      Somewhere between here and Norway are several kegs of beer from Nøgne Ø. The shipping industry is toying with us again, so we can't predict when these will make it.

      And a pallet-load of kegs are currently being filled for us at Japan's Baird Brewery. Again the ETA keeps being pushed out, but we should be serving Rising Sun Pale Ale on tap by October.


      Beervana is just a few weeks away now, and we're looking forward to playing our part in making it the most interesting and enjoyable event it could possibly be.

      We will be there with what we hope will be two perfectly preserved kegs of some of the most remarkable beer to come out of the United States. We don't want to say too much because keeping kegged beer can be a risky exercise. But neither of these beers will be lacking, shall we say, a built-in preservative.

      Meanwhile our good friend Steph Coutts is still on the lookout for one or two more volunteers to help at Beervana. It should be fun to be involved and there are perks, so we recommend going along to the volunteer registration site here.


      Last Friday was our busiest night ever, in part because we were descended upon by a community of users of everyone's, well, some people's, favourite micro-blogging and social networking tool.

      Maybe it's karma because we called last orders on them, but since then our powers of twittering have been clipped. We can see people address messages to us, but can't respond or even revisit our old gems. And the feed from facebook has stopped too. We're still trying to decide whether to be gutted or simply relieved by this, but if anyone is wondering why we aren't answering your messages - sorry, err.. tweets - that's our excuse. It sounds as though we aren't the only ones affected either. Meanwhile we suggest that anyone with an urgent question comes down and asks us over a beer.