Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2, 2011

Our Future Neighbours... Liberty Beer in Bottles... Renaissance Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout... 8 Wired Saison Sauvin and Batch 18... Returning Favourites... Bookings... Alumnus News... Holiday Weekend... Further Reading...

Our Future Neighbours

Many of you may have been alarmed to read about the new building that will supposedly be erected soon on what is currently the car park behind us.

There have been plans along the lines of the "Stalla" apartment block (or "cheese grater" as it's also known) in existence for some time. One set of plans had part of the building actually occupying the air space above ours. But those of us potentially affected assumed that the current economic climate, the oversupply of CBD apartments and the construction challenges made it unlikely that this development would ever go ahead.

The building itself may not be a problem to us. In fact if the developers had bothered to get in touch we would have asked if they could create some storage space that we could rent. It's the construction process that concerns us.

The balance of probability must still be that the challenges will be too great for construction to proceed. But if it does both we and Zibibbo have started taking steps to make sure our concerns are heard over the construction process.

Unfortunately Wellington's recent history is littered with examples of businesses coming up with dumb ideas and affected parties not having a say. So if our concerns aren't taken into account we've got other measures up our sleeves.

Liberty Beer in Bottles

Joe Wood's determination to brew small volumes but think big in every other sense has led to a new development - bottled Liberty beer. And we believe that the shipment we just took makes us the first outlet anywhere for these beers.

Brand new stock of the first three bottled Liberty beers just arrived and are on our shelves. They're Never Go Back Imperial Oat Stout, High Carb Ale and MMMoMMftCHv3 Black Barley Wine. And no, that's not a typo - Liberty are taking Yeastie Boys on for name obscurity.

We've also rushed these beers onto the pages of the Cult Beer Store, because we're also the first outlet in New Zealand with these beers available for mail order. So go to to check them out.

One thing setting these beers apart is their use of Zork SPK closures. These resealable cap replacements were developed for use with sparkling wine. They look a little different, but for high strength beers like these they may just be the cleverest thing since sliced bread. For an action demo, go to

Renaissance Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

In the 2009 version of this beer the addition of cocoa nibs had an effect on the beer that was, to many of us, more apparent texturally than in its flavour.

In 2010 the addition of vanilla made the chocolate flavour more apparent. It also seemed to sell a lot faster the 2009 version.

So how will the 2011 version taste? Last year's recipe has been only slightly modified. We know that it won the imagination of the judges at the Australian International Beer Awards recently. Was that for artistic interpretation or degree of difficulty? All will be revealed when our first keg of Craftsman goes on over the next few days.

Meanwhile Renaissance's Brian Thiel insists that the long awaited Renaissance Barley Wine is nearly ready to be released. Watch this space.

8 Wired Saison Sauvin and Batch 18

If the "new" Saison Sauvin sounds slightly familiar it's because we had a preview a few months ago, thanks to Søren's strategy of brewing 80 litre test batches of his new beers.

That single keg made believers of quite a few of us. It's the kind of beer that makes your hair stand on end - Søren takes the wort of Hopwired, his ultra Sauvin-hoppy IPA, and ferments it with a Saison yeast, infusing it with a sharp, dry spiciness.

Like a Belgian IPA or a hopfenweisse (hoppy wheat beer), it's a kitchen sink of flavours, incorporating two components, either of which would define the character of most beers on its own.

We have but one of the grand total of five kegs filled with Saison Sauvin. But we'll be sourcing bottles as soon as they're available.

Meanwhile Batch 18 is the moniker for 8 Wired's Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, which becomes available in bottles today. Expectations are high.

Returning Favourites

There are lots of returning favourites on tap this week. Which is another way of saying that, for a change, there are no new tap beers. For us, the most exciting of the returnees (apart from Saison Sauvin) is Golden Bear Patriot Pale Ale. This is particularly fitting since we've had quite a few patrons in the last few days from the California Maritime Academy's TS Golden Bear.

Look out also for lashings of Three Boys Wheat, Twisted Hop Sauvin Pils, Harrington's Rogue Hop Pils, Rescue Red Ale and Yeastie Boys Fools Gold and a full range of Renaissance beers that came up with the Craftsman.


We're coming into what is our busy time of year and have been fielding a lot of requests for bookings lately. There is a school of thought that says a business such as ours should like nothing better than to book some or all of the bar out to groups, especially if those groups include people who have never visited our premises. We like to think differently and believe that being open to the public, and in particular our regular customers, is our highest priority.

So while we're rapt that people sometimes want to lock in a place in our bar, our overriding objective is to be open to all-comers. So we are carefully considering every booking request, taking into account the night of the week and rationing the number of tables that can be reserved on certain evenings.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch nice and early if you would like to talk about a booking. And if you have an axe to grind over the way we are handling bookings then, again, please get in touch.

Alumnus News

We've learned that the popular Chris Hogg, former Hashigo Zake bartender and beard grower, has fulfilled his ambition of securing employment with Scottish cult brewers Brewdog.

Holiday Weekend Surcharge

Apologies if you've heard it all before, but we really don't believe in applying holiday surcharges here at HZ. In fact being a Monday, our usual SOBA discount will apply on Queen's Birthday.

Further Reading

If you feel you would like to absorb even more of these writings, then may we suggest The Liquor Ladder? It's an occasional blog of material loosely related to Hashigo Zake.

Some recent overseas travel means there has been a sudden increase in postings, including news on some of the breweries that we are particular fans (and customers) of, here at Hashigo Zake.


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