Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011

Beer is the New Rock 'n Roll... Cock and Bull... Should Auld Acquaintance... Events... This Friday... A Brief Survey...

Beer is the New Rock 'n Roll

It may be a trite slogan but I think we know it's true. Doesn't the release of a new beer by a respected brewer remind you of the excitement felt as a teenager when your favourite band released a new LP? Don't certain brewers with their lurid trousers and their motorcycle-riding, live-fast-and-leave-a-good-looking-corpse, bohemian lifestyles resemble rock stars of the glam era?

Yeastie Boys and Emerson's get it. They show it in their actions - evolving from early demos cooked up in cellars on makeshift equipment to stadium-rousing works developed in massive studios, all the while teasing their fans with limited releases and reprisals or remixes of old favourites while always leaving the mosh-pit wanting more. Not to mention the sex and drugs. They also show it in the beer names they choose.

Bird Dog

The hit-factory that is Emerson's Brewery have been drawing attention to their rock star affinity with the ongoing Flying Nun series of beers. And this time it's legendary Dunedin band The Verlaines to whom tribute is being paid with Bird Dog. Some of us would argue that The Ballad of Harry Noryb is a more worthy song to single out, but it's too long to fit on a tap badge. And the song Bird Dog does finish with the refrain I love this imported German beer, they know how to make it over there.

Strangely though, Bird Dog the beer is not particularly German in style. It's a strongish (5.5% ABV), single-hop pale ale - the single hop being NZ Cascade. Our first keg is trashing our green room right now and might make it on tap tonight.

Rex Attitude

This weekend Yeastie Boys release their third album year round beer - Rex Attitude. 100% of the malt used is peat-smoked, which is about 95% more than is considered safe. Those of us who got to sample a trial batch found it infinitely more drinkable than expected. Beer doesn't come much more rock 'n roll than this, although perversely the name is a reference to a French Techno DJ.

The launch of this cult-beer-in-waiting is at Regional Wines and Spirits on Saturday afternoon. We'll have some in stock that evening.

Cock and Bull

Go right ahead before she tells some cock-and-bull story about some school boy.

- Split Enz, Another Great Divide

We've finally completed a transaction with Steam Brewing in Auckland, the brewing arm of the Cock and Bull chain, and brewers (under contract) of Epic beers, Croucher Pils and any number of other beverages.

This means that for the first time we'll have on tap their witbier (Dirty Blonde), bitter (Fuggles) and the legendary Imperial Red Ale known as Monk's Habit. Look out for them over the next week or two. The Dirty Blonde will go on tonight or tomorrow.

Should Auld Acquaintance

And if you leave here
You leave me broken, shattered, I lie.

- Franz Ferdinand, Take Me Out.

The next time your beverage is served by a certain insouciant, bewhiskered Scot, it may the last. In a rare instance of actual staff turnover at Hashigo Zake, the popular Chris Hogg next week packs his belongings back into whatever luggage he brought with him a year ago and heads back to the Glasgow spring. (Probably a straight swap with Wellington's recent weather.)

The good news is that he may be lost to us but not to the world of craft beer. He's returning to the land of Tennents and McEwans with a new-found passion for home-brewing and cult beer, determined to befriend the lads at Brewdog and continue the struggle.

Chris will be missed. We wish him well.


When you're alone
And life is making you lonely,
You can always go downtown.

- Tony Hatch, Downtown.

As announced last week, our May 10 tasting will be an experiment in matching gourmet Italian antipasti with a variety of beers. The food products will be drawn from the catalogue of The Prodigal Daughter. See for bookings or book at the bar.

And as discussed at length in recent dispatches, we're marking the final chapter of the SOBA v Big Business legal stoush next Tuesday. We would like to serve some actual German Radler, specially freighted over for the event. We would also like to put our own improvised Radler on tap. But DB's trademark makes the serving of authentic products some kind of breach of their rights. So you'll just have to come down and see if we respect their trademark enough to toe the line.

This Friday

(That's tomorrow for the 63% of you who skim-read this email on the day it's sent.)

We have a lunch special tomorrow. Our own Dave has taken Sam's recipe for beer-infused, slow-cooked chilli and adapted it to use ingredients of his own devising. Cooking of this dish will begin late tonight and by lunchtime tomorrow it will be extremely fit for human consumption. We'll be serving it with sour cream, cheese and corn chips. Or you can just order it as a pie filling.

And later tomorrow evening, the deciding match in the Australian NBL will be screened on one or possibly both TVs for those interested.

A Brief Survey

An associate of Hashigo Zake will spend some of next month visiting several European and Scandinavian breweries that we have been or hope to be trading with. Rather than just turn up empty handed we would like this person to come bearing gifts of fine New Zealand beer. So we thought we would ask you what you think that beer or beers should be.

There's no obligation but if you'd like to contribute to the discussion, please pause and think: what beer is not necessarily your personal favourite but would best represent New Zealand and New Zealand craft brewing to discerning European beer-lovers?


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