Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011

Congratulations... July the First... July the Fourth... July the Fourteenth... July the Twenty First... Upcoming Tastings... Emerson's Week... Beverage News...


We'd like to congratulate SOBA on the apparent success of Saturday's Matariki Winter Ale Festival. But it may not be completely proper as to do so would be a little self-serving. That's because we ended up helping out quite a lot on the day (along with the best set of volunteer help that the organisers could have hoped for).

Now there are several reasons why we willingly mucked in with SOBA to help make Saturday work. Not least is the fact that it's a great event that deserves to succeed. But it also suits us to make a study of an event like this to help us in future ventures, the first of which is not so far off. Is that enough of a hint for now? Or do we need to add (in a whisper)... stay in Wellington this Labour weekend!

Nevertheless Hashigo Zake applauds the determined and visionary work of Rob Owen, Nick Page and the rest of SOBA's Wellington ruling elite.

(And speaking of SOBA, there is still no news on the outcome of the Radler Trademark Hearing.)

July The First

The home countries of some of our favourite customers and brewers are celebrating their birthdays in July. The season starts on Friday the 1st with... Canada! Yes we'll forgive you all for rioting after the Stanley Cup and for that succession of really aggravating pop stars, and yes, even for Jim Carrey, if you just come down for a discounted bière québécoise this Friday.

In our fridges right now are limited stocks of a few dazzling beers. These and a few others will be 10% cheaper from Friday afternoon:

  • Les Trois Mousquetaires G.C. Porter Baltique - 750mls of rich, dark, cherry wood aged goodness.
  • Dieu du Ciel Péché Mortel - a 9.5% Coffee-infused Imperial Stout.
  • Unibroue Terrible - a Strong Ale from Quebec's most famous Belgian-style brewer.

It would be wrong to try and entice a portion of our market with beer but then fail to back that up with an equally compelling food option. So after consulting at least one of our regular Canadian customers, we've hatched a plan to offer bacon and egg pies accompanied by maple syrup, this Friday only.

July The Fourth

Now our next shipment of Californian beer is still on the water, and there's only a handful of kegs from the previous one. But we're scraping together a pretty dazzling set of five to put on tap on Monday:

  • Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  • Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
  • Bear Republic Red Rocket
  • Green Flash Imperial IPA
  • Green Flash Double Stout

Now for a mere $30, you'll be able to get a stemmed glass of all five of these, which represents a pretty handy discount.

We wanted to do some iconic American food, but something "party-friendly" and fitting within the constraints of our kitchen. The solution is Beer Brats - bratwurst braised in beer - and a dessert of Apple Pie.

Now many of us have plenty of reservations about how the world's superpower goes about its business, whether it's foreign policy, trade practices or their inability to legalise home brewing in Alabama, but all differences will be left at the door while we celebrate a few of the many things the US gets right.

July the Fourteenth

We may normally carry a particularly low number of French beers but that does not mean that don't recognise the merits of at least a few French brewers. Not to mention French food. Now we'll wait until next week to finalise plans, but expect to see appearances by one or two pretty special French beers, offered together with our tribute to French cuisine.

July the Twenty First

Would you believe that Belgium celebrates its national day in July as well? Frankly there are too many other events between now and then for us to predict what we'll do on that day yet, but we still advise circling it in your calendar.

Upcoming Tastings

As if multiple national days didn't complicate July enough, we have two pretty special tastings next month, and for one we're deviating from our usual Tuesday scheduling.

Taranaki Beer

Both Ron Trigg of Mike's and Joseph Wood of Liberty will be in attendance on Wednesday the 13th, while we try to pick just eight beers to represent their respective (and sometimes collaborative) output. More details and bookings are at

Waldhaus Tasting and Launch

For the first time the beers of this venerable German brewery will be available in New Zealand, and we're celebrating with a tasting with assistance from their New Zealand importer, David Waugh. It's on July the 19th, and details are at

Emerson's Week

Traditionally in July the Emerson's Brewery send Richard Emerson to Wellington for a week, during which their Wellington distributor, Regional Wines and Spirits, inflict a punishing agenda of tastings, lunches, dinners, in-store appearances and baby-kissing on the far too compliant brewer. This year Richard is popping up in the middle of the month, around the weekend of the 16th/17th. Now we're collaborating with Regional on a trade event, which means that this time the pleasure of having Richard meeting his public will go to different outlets, sadly.

But we're particularly impressed by the thought of the Long Lunch happening at Ambeli Restaurant on July 17. See for more details.

Beverage News

Last week we omitted to mention Three Boys Wild Plum Ale, which has been on tap since earlier this week. It's a pretty special beer - surprisingly high gravity (8% ABV) but pale and with no obvious colouring from the plums, but thoroughly imbued with plum flavour, a little tart, and not overtly sweet. At the current rate tonight will probably be its last night on tap.

Also unmentioned last week, but on tap right now, is an Imperial Stout from Christchurch's Wigram Brewery, called Czar.

The availability of beer from Nelson's Golden Bear Brewpub waxes and wanes, but this week we've picked up a keg each of two of their popular hop bombs - Hop Toad and Seismic IPA.

We continue to receive beers brewed under the Twisted Hop name at the Three Boys brewery. (There's still no news on when we might ever see Challenger, Golding or Twisted Ankle again.) This week expect to see some Twisted Hop IPA and Sauvin Pilsner.

Extensive surveying has revealed that it has been a while since we had anything from Croucher on tap. So expect to see their Pilsner and Pale Ale in the coming days.

Finally Yeastie Boys Her Majesty 2011 is out in bottles. Or will be when we get our delivery. The keg that was dispensed at the festival last Saturday may be the only time this beer is on tap in Wellington. Now the style of this beer this year is loosely a saison. We've seen a few beers lately either in this style or borrowing from it - Invercargill's Saison, 8 Wired's Saison Sauvin, Rescue Red Ale and Nøgne Ø Saison - but surprisingly a number of participants in Saturday's festival were confused by this beer.

In Stu's words, "The idea behind this was to brew a strong yet simple beer where the yeast really got a chance to be the showcase.... Knowing it was going to finish very dry, due to the lack of those specialty malts, we went for some soft, sweetness promoting hops in the form of Sauvin and Pacifica... This beer finished at 1.004 and is probably slightly below that now. For those that are now "brewing geeks" that roughly translates to being about the driest beer in NZ. But despite that, there is still a lot of malt sweetness and weight in the beer... Richer than Carlos Slim, more funk than James Brown, drier than the Christopher Walken and with the kick of a Kaimanawa horse... Farmhouse styles, just as they should be!"


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